Above Photo : Dolni Vitkovice site
Contents Ostrava 4 Colours of Ostrava Festival 12 Degradace 34 The REC Busking Stage 48 Colours and Commerce 76
Front Cover: REC Busking Stage - Colours of Ostrava
Ostrava City Centre
Itâ€™s a very cold late March day in
from the overbridge, and soon the
2008. Patches of snow still lay on the
ubiquitous Skoda tram is whisking me
ground around the tracks as the train
away to my hotel, a restored castle in
slows. Rows of varied freight wagons
the middle of a housing estate, my first
drift past the window as the rusting
hint that thereâ€™s more to this old steel
industrial infrastructure of Svinov takes
town than one might first expect.
over the landscape. My first visit to Ostrava over ten years ago is shaping
up to be everything I expected from
wilderness around Svinov gives way
the historic heart of the Czech iron and
to an architectural apparition. One
almost surreal block of neo-classical exuberance follows another as the
Ostrava Svinov station is an odd mix of
tram pulls to a stop at Poruba. Looking
classic central European charm, and
more like a film set than a real place,
communist era functional practicality.
Poruba was built as a workers paradise
The convenient tram stop beckons
in the 1950s to attract a workforce to
Poruba Central Square 6
Entrance to the Poruba Estate
the then rapidly expanding steel works.
of technology transfer and facilitating
The apartments are still regarded
a diverse range of start-up companies
as some of the best available in the
through the sponsorship of a university
metropolitan area. Walking deeper
based industrial park.
into the estate there is an unspoilt with
I take the southern route back into
endless interesting variations on the
the main centre. The tram system is
theme. One more crossing and the
extensive, with few parts of the wider
dreamworld immediately ceases as
urban area inaccessible to it. The
the view is taken over by Vysoká Škola
tracks curve away from an urban
Bánská (VSB), the Technical University of
freeway, and we’re surrounded by
Ostrava. The reinvention of the city has
a mass of factories and workshops.
been partly stimulated by this (one of
The tram seems to be navigating
three Universities in the city) institution’s
the internal tracks of a vast industrial
stimulation of a vibrant high tech and
labyrinth, then, surprise, a town square,
a church, a few restaurants, before
This has been through the promotion
being swallowed up by the seemingly
Dolni Vitkovice in 2008
endless labyrinth again. A curve, a
Thereâ€™s still a hint of burning lignite in
bridge, and just when it seems the
the air in the city centre. The neat parks
factory belt has finished, the main blast
and pedestrianised streets suggest a
furnaces of Dolni VItkovice completely
town though with a strong sense of civic
fill the tram windows. It looks derelict,
pride. Another corner and another
the last steel was made there in 1998,
but it hides some remarkable treasures.
Radnice (New Town Hall) was built in
1930 at a time of civic exuberance
As the tram nears the city centre one
pit head after another looms above
Czechoslovakia. Built in the pre-deco
us. Closer inspection, though, reveals
modernist International style, it looks
that these are relics of a once, almost
almost a contemporary of the neo-
entirely industrial city which, since the
classical communist experiments that
velvet revolution, has totally reinvented
followed nearly 30 years later, but
itself. The last coal was mined in 1994.
exuding a forward looking optimism.
Dolni Vitkovice in 2008 9
It remains completely intact and in
another centre appears, a bar, then
much the same condition as the day
a music club, a cafĂŠ, another bar, and
it opened. Remarkably, its 86 metre
a night club signal the famed Stodolni
Street, weekend party capital for lower
hidden from view when walking
Silesia, for Poles and Czechs alike. It was
amongst the surrounding buildings in
here, amongst the numerous music
the town centre, adding to the sense
bars that dominated the area in the
early 2000s, that the Colours of Ostrava
began, an event I was completely A short wander from the main square
unaware of on my first visit in 2008.
Nova Radnice 11
Colours of Ostrava Festival 12
We are driven by a desire to evoke a sense of belonging in everyone who comes here but also allow you to delve into the very heart of the music.
This diverse music festival is the largest
performance stadium, but when the
in the Czech Republic, and one of the
Colours takes over the site is transformed
largest in Europe. It frequently boasts
into the largest industrial complex party in
the same headliners as Glastonbury,
Europe. 16 Stages are scattered around,
as indeed it did this year, with The Cure
and a massive temporary infrastructure is
heading up the main stage on the last
put in place to accommodate the 30 odd
day, with also Years and Years, Rosalia and
thousands visitors that the event attracts
Lewis Capaldi all taking part. Its current
location is the post industrial park of the Vitkovice steelworks site, which has been
submitted to UNESCO as a world heritage site, and remains on the tentative list.
This is 17 years on from the first official
In the meantime much of the park has
event, which had its roots in the music
been turned into a museum, and swathes
scene surrounding Stodolni street. When
of it left as a monument. The gasometer
the event began Stodolni street was more
which powered the blast furnace pumps
than just a street full of bars and clubs,
has been converted to a year round
but was at the centre of the cityâ€™s vibrant music scene. There is a clear reason how this came about. The cityâ€™s three universities results in, a demographic for the conurbation, of younger innovative open minded citizens. The Colours festival rapidly expanded as a city centre based event,
around the Castle district. By the time the festival moved to the Dolni Vitkovice steelworks site in 2012 it was attracting 30 thousand plus visitors, and A list headliners. View of the site from the Bolt Tower
Inside the Bolt Tower Cafe
Over the last 7 years the event has settled
towards the steelworks towers, blast furnace,
down into a unique eclectic musical
pit head and giant gasometer. Arrival brings
experience in the most extraordinary setting
a touch of normality, as arm bands are
imaginable for such a festival. For many
checked at the entrance gates, but then itâ€™s
the highlight is the site, which gradually
back to the surreal, as the site takes over.
improves by the year, creating more and more contrasting experiences at odds with
One of the most obvious of the site treats is
its bizarre setting.
the Bolt Tower (so named because it was opened by Usain Bolt in 2015). This is best
Even first impressions on approaching the site
done on the three week days, which attract
set it apart from other festivals. Crowds of all
more manageable crowds than the final day
kinds of music lovers, variously dressed, flood
on the Saturday.
Approaching the tower, the most dominant
at the top of the lift, a series of walkways
structure on the site, an entrance kiosk
surround the tower gaining height with
beckons. On payment one is handed the
each circumnavigation. On the way,
necessary hard hat, required to negotiate
viewing platforms give way to views of
the tower. Waiting in groups of about 15, a
the industrial landscape, with deck chairs
kind of lift cum funicular railway appears,
allowing sunbathing in hard hats. Further
to take us most of the way to the top, with a
up, around a gantry corner, and there,
commentary in Czech from the controller
most unnexpectedly, is the entrance to a
on the way up. Alighting to the platform
cafĂŠ. Continue following the walkways
Cafe bar under the Blast Furnace 20
The Site near the Bolt Tower
up around the cafĂŠ to the top of the
under croft dereliction, with a sign, Vinaria
tower, or take a break with prosecco
above the entrance. There you will find a
and cake, and watch the climbers wind
long wine bar, with a wide choice of high
class local wines, a Moravian folk band, and a setting reminiscent of a scene from
The bolt tower is an all year round affair.
During the Colours the organisers go out of their way to create the most incongruous
experiences. An essential in the Czech Republic, numerous beer outlets abound
There really is no such animal as a
around the site, including the Radegast
Colours festival-goer. The acts generate
Pub, occupying an old machine hall. So
characteristic audiences that often have
far so weird, but walk around the beach
very little in common, except that they
area, with imported sand around the
are the ones that come. I spoke to some
base of a chimney stack and mine shaft,
around the site, where have they all come
and poke inside a forbidding looking bit of
Vaclav and Lenka I saw a very tired Vaclav and Lenka waiting
atmosphere. Lenkaâ€™s memorable moment
for the last tram at the Dolni Vitkovice site.
was coming across Vaclav by chance in
It was the first visit for both of them, and
a mass of people, after spending a long
theyâ€™ll certainly be back. Both are Czechs.
day attending different shows.
Vaclav, from a small village to the South
West of Prague, has been planning to
In his 40s, Michael and his wife Alena
come for some years. His highlight of
from Prague, have been coming most
the event was the unique place and
years since 2009, this being their 6th visit.
Highlight for them this year, last night headliners The Cure.
Not surprisingly, the event attracts a number of local residents from this very musically aware city. Ostrava couple Daniel, and his wife Sylvia, were here for the first time. They found the whole event really exciting, and definitely plan to return in the future. Highlight for them, again The Cure. Michal and Alena
Sylvia and Daniel 23
Also citing The Cure as this year’s highlight,
Petra, with family in the city, has been
local banker Danca first visited in 2004 and
attending the Colours since 2006, Rag ‘n’
has been 7 more times since.
Bone Man, being her main act.
The event, though, attracts visitors of all kinds from around the world.
and his writer wife Lynn, from Southampton, is here for the second time, bringing his wife along on his second visit. Being a jazz fan the Youn Sun Nah trio left the greatest impression for him. Lynn was completely enthralled by the whole festival, and will definately be back next year. Her act of the event was Florence and The Machine. Petra
Mike and Lynn 25
Manfred, and his nursing wife Coleen,
Rudd, late on the final night on the
living in Munich, brought their camper
ArcelorMittal Stage, theyâ€™ll certainly be
over for the event. Hardcore eventers,
back next year.
Coleen and Manfred (Photo: M Poppleton)
around the rock music clubs of Stodolni Street, also included a strong mix of roots
In the 17 years since The Colours of
and World music, particularly amongst the
Ostrava was first established it has gained
early international headliners, a flavour
a reputation as being one of most eclectic
that still pervades the major international
in the increasingly competitive world
phenomenon that it has become. By the
of music festivals. The first events based
end of the 2000s it was able to attract
the likes of Marianne Faithful, Happy
Itâ€™s hard not compare such a significant
Mondays, Goldfrapp and David Byrne.
international festival with Glastonbury,
The world/roots and indie/rock themes
but itâ€™s the difference that make the
continued but expanded to include
Colours particularly interesting, the same
the most diverse curation of jazz, heavy
final day headliners of the 2019 event
classic rock and folk along with out
notwithstanding. Before moving on from
and out pop performers. The resulting
The Cure, though, it could be said that
audience demonstrates about as varied
this enduring band typifies this particular
a demographic as one could hope to
event more than any other, attracting a 20
find at any single event.
thousand plus crowd. The post punk Goths
Ukrainian Cabaret from the Dakh Daughters 27
of the late 1970s have morphed into one of
Years (also fresh from Galstonbury) and a
the more accessible bands from the era,
personal favourite Mogwai. On the other
deliberately finding a pop direction in the
stages, catering for the more off-beat
early 1990s, and retaining an audience
acts, we could find Shilpa Ray and Red
of young enthusiasts, discerning middle-
Barrat, both from Brooklyn, The Pierce
aged music fans and die hard fans in
Brothers from Australia, along with a
their 60s. If such a thing exists, they can
range of interesting, hard to get to, acts,
do as much to characterise a Colours
such as the Ukrainian Cabaret act, The
audience as any. Other international
Dakh Daughters, and the undefinable
headliners included Florence and the
Yonatan Gat and the Eastern Medicine
Machine on the first night, Years and
Shiilpa Ray 28
Australian identical twins â€˜The Pierce Brothersâ€™ with an afternoon slot on the main stage 29
rock, they were just one of a number of local and domestic bands gracing the main stages this year, where a rather more than usual determined effort seemed to have been made to present the country’s talent. Ben Cristovao, another Czech pop star, of Angolan origin, whose fan base includes a very high proportion of teenage girls, also played the other main stage this year, as well as taking part in the other side of the event, political and philosophical discussions in ‘The Melting Pot’, presenting a session on Music and Racism.
Ostrava itself punches way above its
Red Barrat on the Drive Stage
weight when it comes to spawning home grown talent, and through the years a provides
number of the town’s bands have played
some unique features and indicates the
the main stages. This year local band Buty
extraordinary pool of talent that exists in
opened the main Ceská Sporitelna stage,
with their eclectic blend of international
Kristof headlining the main stage on
Degradace, long standing veterans also
the second night are not only a home
from the town, and with a loyal following,
grown Czech band with a huge domestic
opened the Drive stage.
following, but from just down the road in Havirov. Very much on the pop side of
I got to talk to Degradace.
Ben Cristovao on the ArcelorMittel Stage
The Diverse Audiences of Coloursâ€™ Bands
Last night headliners The Cure, fill the main stage
Also on the main stage, local band Krystof 32
Atavists followers attending the REC Busking Stage
Ben Cristavaoâ€™s enthusiastic audience of mainly young Czechs 33
To play to new fans is really fantastic, and we maybe made an impact to new people, which is brilliant.
As the Colours programme notes, ‘the
Tommy began his Degradace career as the
legend of Ostrava Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll
drummer, until being diagnosed with MS 15
were here celebrating their first 20 years
years ago. This resulted in him eventually being
by playing at the Colours’.
forced to leave the band, until discovering that the symptoms didn’t prevent him from
learning and playing guitar. Eventually
Adamík) in 1999, the band has been
returning to the band a year later, he’s been
through a number of iterations since
on guitar ever since. Tommy doubles up life
its first line-up, with just Tommy Heroin
with the band as a respected academic
(Tomas Heryan) and Rudee, remaining
economist at the Silesian University (one of
from the original team. Along with
three in the Moravian-Silesian region).
Rudee (vocals and bass) and Tommy
(guitar and vocals), the current line-up
Alec, originally from Scotland, has been a
includes Alec Munro on guitar and Rob
friend of the band for a number of years and
on drums. A prolific touring band, the
joined to fill a vacant guitarist’s spot last year,
members manage to combine a life of
to support British punk legends, U.K. Subs. He
enthusiastic rock ‘n’ rollers with a variety
moved to Ostrava eight years ago as an
of other careers.
Rudee lives a completely musically-
Rob is totally immersed in drumming, learning
infused life. As well as being the driving
at 10, and performing since 13, his only other
force of Degradace, he has a daytime
interest apparently being chocolate. Joining
job working in the Hudebni Svet music
in 2016 to play the CZ Pod Parou festival, his
store in Ostrava, as well as working
wild and slightly unhinged performances are
as a journalist on a number of music
perfectly judged to complete the band’s
Along with touring, the band have
showing at the Colours. From the opening
released five albums over the last 20 years
‘Je Mi To Lito’ (I’m Sorry), to the closing
since their eponymous first CD came out in
‘Image’, the band cranked it up and
2002. The uncompromising fusion of post-
sustained a high octane performance
punk with a mixture of up-beat rock ‘n’ roll
throughout their one hour set. If there were
rhythms and hard rock guitar riffs, the band
worries about the sound set-up, they were
have developed a characteristic sound
soon dispelled, with a perfect balance
over the years, with a now international
from the word go. The experience of
following, especially in central Europe.
playing at a first rate festival being immediately reflected in the band’s spot
Opening the Drive stage this year, there
on precision sustained during the whole 15
was a lot of pressure to shine at their first
song play list.
Rob working out on drums
Rudee in action
Tommy going crazy
I spoke to them about their first time at the
Nick Cave and Grinderman, Swans, and
Colours as performers.
an atmospheric Japanese instrumentalist band called Mono, and you don’t see
INTERVIEW (Tommy and Alec)
those bands around every day. There’s still something unusual here, like the John
On their previous experience of the
Butler Trio, there’s some commercial easy
going stuff, some world music stuff, some great African bands, and you can see
TOMMY: I’ve been coming here since 2003
some nice surprises.
Stuff you’ve never
when it began on Stodolni Street. To me,
heard of, you watch them and they blow
it was much more underground, or punk
really. Then it moved to the Castle, and there I saw Iggy and the Stooges, it was
On the importance of the Colours to
fantastic to see him live. Our singer Rudee,
Degradace, as an Ostrava band
also got to interview with John Lydon when he played there with Public Image
TOMMY: Well, we’ve played over 500
Limited. But seriously, here in Ostrava, it’s
concerts in our existence, and we’ve
really good to have the Colours.
been playing for 20 years. This was our first time playing here, and it was great, but
ALEC: I’ve been coming here for eight
not really crucial in terms of the existence
years now when it used to be in the Castle,
of this band.
a much smaller place. It moved here the year after I came, and it just got bigger
ALEC: There was a lot of new people that
and bigger. It’s a really mixed bill, but I
showed up to see us today though, and
look more for the rock and metal stuff, you
that can be cool, we’ll see what happens
know. There are a lot of other interesting
on that. I think the question can be
things, though. The first time I was here I saw
answered next year.
TOMMY: Yes, as Alec says, to play to new fans is really fantastic, and we maybe made an impact to new people, which is brilliant.
ALEC: I’ve been with the band a year and half, and in Ostrava we have a really good home crowd. There’s a lot of old school punks, with the Mohawks, really hard-core punks. But today, I think we had some fans of punk music and rock music, but some who thought, ‘what the hell’s this’, and this band is authentic in its punk and hard rock roots, and I think a lot of them might be into this after today.
TOMMY: Normally we’re playing late at night, around midnight, and most of our audience, I’d say about 90%, are drunk. They are crazier than these, but it was really nice, and it was just the opening. We are very satisfied, and happy to do as we did.
ALEC: Yes, for the first band of the day, I was happy to see people checking it out, and talking in something new, even if they only smiled, that movement was enough.
Alec adding some vocals 45
On reaching an international audience
TOMMY: Normally in Czechia, playing to
then they returned the favour, so we went
an international audience means that
to play with them as well.
you have to play especially in Prague, and when you’re playing in Prague,
TOMMY: For the US/British audience, they
there’s about 20-30% of an international
see that we’ve supported many legendary
audience. But we played just a few months
bands, such as U.K. Subs, The Damned,
ago across Europe, Germany, Italy, Austria
Chelsea, and Dictators, and we’re friends
and Hungary. But having Alec is important
with many of them. Our dreams have
because he came from Scotland. But
come true supporting these bands, and
seriously, we’re trying to work out English
we see that they’re really like normal
lyrics, because we would like to be closer
people, and this is a huge inspiration after
to an international audience. We were
asked to play in Hastings last year, but finally, we didn’t because we didn’t sing
ALEC: Yes, my first gig with the band was
any songs in English and that was the
supporting U.K. Subs, and Charlie Harper,
main issue. Therefore we’ve concentrated
he’s such a gentleman.
on writing songs in English, just 50-50. We won’t be only an English singing band, no,
TOMMY: Yes, these guys are the best, and
we would like to sing also in our language,
as human beings as well.
and we should be proud that we are Czech, and Scottish.
ALEC: Also, playing with bands from other
countries helps. For example, last year we played with Higgins, from Germany, and
Manager Jana with Alec, after the show
The REC Busking Stage 48
Upcoming bands are playing with such indescribable energy on the REC Busking stage. They see this, this is as a main chance to make their way up. Milan Andel
The REC.Busking stage appeared in 2016
was arranged through a competition, with
for the very first time. It offers a unique
9 being chosen out of 873 bands, to play at
opportunity for new Czech talent to play
three festivals across the country. As well as
at a major international festival, and be
The Colours of Ostrava these include Rock
discovered by a new wide and diverse
for People and Sazavafest. The initiative
audience. The original idea was motivated
has brought an increasingly Czech flavour
as part of the CistĂ˝ festival (Clean Festival)
to the event, along with the mainstream
campaign, to promote waste recycling
Czech bands playing the regular stages,
across festival sites. Some of the time itâ€™s
as well fulfilling the very useful function
open for bands to turn up and play, with
of nurturing local talent with the kind of
the obligation to bring an instrument
experience thatâ€™s impossible to duplicate.
to recycle. For the rest, a schedule of new bands has been selected to play
I managed to see 5 of them, and talk to
scheduled slots. The line-up on the stage
them about their experiences.
Opening the stage on the first day of the festival were Paya May. The band is eponymously named after the frontwoman, whose brainchild it is, and who writes the music and lyrics for all the songs. The first of the current line-up for Paya was guitarist David Jakubec, shortly followed by band members Mirek Horáček on bass and Lukáš Pražák on cajon and drums. Paya’s alto voice is the focus for the original blend of Czech ballads with the folksy pop sound that underpins the majority of the songs.
gig. I managed to squeeze in an interview between times.
The band’s first album “Namaluj” was released last year, and despite giving
Do you have a previous experience of the
birth to her first child nine months ago,
the band have continued touring, and played a number of scheduled gigs
PAYA: Actually I’m here for the first time.
recently, including those associated with
But, sure I’ve been aware of it for a long
the Cistý Festival competition. They had a
time, it has a history that everyone knows.
very tight timetable for this event, played
But, yes, it’s my first, because it’s pretty far
back to back with another earlier in the
for me, and it’s quite a surprise being here
afternoon, and the demands of baby
when I have a little baby, I never expected
feeding immediately after the Colours
that, and to be part of the show.
How important do you think playing the
here. We normally do music clubs around
Colours will be for the promotion of your
the country, and we’re getting quite a
PAYA: Well, we’ll see, but definitely it’s
How does the Colours Audience compare
an honour. If you can say that you‘ve
with what you’re used to?
been a part of the show of the Colours of Ostrava, it means something. I think
PAYA: The audience at the Colours
this is one of the main reasons why we’re
was a little bit different from our usual
happy to be here, because we can say
audience. The main reason is, all the
we were here, we played the Colours.
people came to the festival to listen to
But as to what impact it will have on our
music, so they really payed attention to
real audience, we will see.
us, focused on the lyrics and reacted actively. Nevertheless, people at our
How do you normally go about promoting
concerts are also mostly very interactive
yourselves in the Czech Republic?
and great, which are the best moments on the stage. In any case, the show at
PAYA: The Colours is an opportunity that
the Colours was a wonderful experience
you don’t normally get, unless you’re
we will always be very grateful for! Sort of
very famous, we’re very happy to be
a “dreamcomestrue” moment.
first night. Their brand of up-beat, slightly jazz infused pop producing a set of catchy
Taking the evening slot on the first day, Pro
memorable tunes. The tight-knit line-up
Tebe are one of the newest bands in the
from the word go has been:
whole event, having been established less
On guitar and frontman Adam Caha, a
than a year ago in September 2018. With
classically trained violinist from the Brno
an impressive repertoire of original songs
Music academy but as a Blink 182 fan,
already after just 10 months they held the
prefers electric guitar, which heâ€™s been
stage with an enthusiastic performance,
playing since his teens. For a daytime job
to conclude the scheduled acts on the
he teaches kids violin at a music school
near Brno as well as guitar and drums
together through their live act at this, for
at the Yamaha music school. His main
them, a major event.
ambition, though, is with the band in his role as frontman.
I caught up with them before their set, just having completed what seemed to be a
JiĹ™i Vedral on piano, synths and vocals
remarkably straightforward sound check.
has been playing piano and synths since childhood. Among his many pop idols are Herbie Hancock and Michael Jackson. Currently making his living in a small software company as business manager, he sees Pro Tebe as a chance to give up work and become a full time musician.
Petr Mikulka on bass and vocals has also played electric guitar and bass guitar since his teenage years. He loves classic pop and rock music, especially The Beatles. His daytime job is working for an insurance company in Brno.
At only 19 David PaĹĄa on drums and percussion is the youngest member of the band. Still a percussion student at the Brno Music Conservatory, he nevertheless shows a great maturity and talent on his instrument, crucially keeping the band
How did you manage to get a slot to
on YouTube, and we had to play our
play at the Colours?
songs in different styles. People then had to send in votes on-line during
PRO TEBE: It was as a result of winning
May, and finally we got on this stage. It
a band contest, we were chosen from
was quite complicated. So weâ€™re very
over 800 bands from around the Czech
proud that we can share our music. We
Republic. Then we had to do some
hope people will come when we start
tasks with Mirai, there was an interview
What are your normal performance arrangements?
clubs, so we’re trying to gain a larger audience.
What are your ambitions as a band?
PRO TEBE: We work and we play, and at the moment we’re working on our first single, which will be released very soon, because it’s being mixed and Have any of you been to the Colours
mastered now. We hope that we’ll get
before as audience members?
some radio play time. This is our first step to becoming full-time musicians,
PRO TEBE: In fact, actually no, even
to release the song, get it to the radio,
though we’re only from Brno.
and continue playing. This event is a good opportunity to test our songs for
promotional opportunity for you?
which would be candidates for future singles, depending on the audience reaction this evening. Our style is pop/
PRO TEBE: Yes, because we are quite
rock music, so it’s a very wide audience,
a new band, playing only for one year
so the Colours is perfect for us, you
altogether, and it’s quite hard to get
have young, middle-aged, old, families
to big festivals if you are not a very
and kids, everybody. We think our main
well-known band, so this is a great
audience is more girls between 15 and
I spoke to Tereza after their set.
Electric Lady opened the stage on the
Have you been to the Colours before?
second day. Formed and fronted by Fender guitar ace Tereza Rays, who writes the lyrics,
TEREZA: No, this is my first time here. I am
as well as the music with some collaboration
playing for the first time, and it was always
from bassist Marek Caba.
my dream to be here. I come from Pilsen, which is a long way, and I have no reason
The style is good old heavy rock and guitar
to travel over here. One time I wanted to
riffs, with a funk underpinning. They have
see Jamiroquai, but I had no opportunity
an extensive set list producing a stimulating
to get here.
variation in melody and mood. The striking audience grabbing performance, which sees
What was your process for getting here
Terezaâ€™s musical dexterity complemented
by a raunchy stage act, is held together with a neatly fused rhythm partnership between
TEREZA: We entered a competition for the
Marek and drummer Lucas Tricler. Despite
REC stage, it was a competition between
being a Czech band, from Pilsen, the blues
Czech bands, with Mirai as the moderator.
rooted songs are all performed in English,
We were 5th in the competition.
the US influence is apparent in much of the set, with a wealth of cultural influence,
Do you think playing here will enhance
some clearly having been picked up during
your profile generally?
a period spent in the States. A break in the prevailing style of the gig is provided with a
bravado virtuoso performance from Lucas,
because so many people were seeing
proving that drum solos still have a place in
us for the first time. This guy (Mirai) really
the 21st century rock repertoire.
helped us to be better known, and some
radio stations played us more, because this
TEREZA: Yes, we’ve been playing for 15
guy spoke a lot about us, and this really
years. The repertoire is a little bit mixed,
helped us. Especially this competition, which
with songs from 2009, 2010, and 2014
were the first steps to get us on the stage.
when I was recording in Texas. In fact I’ve had three bands over the 15 years, and
You’ve got a very tight act, and a lot of
I’ve written the songs from the beginning.
material, you must have been for quite a
I was also playing in a cover band, with
You had a big audience tonight, how
What kind of events do you normally
do they compare with what you’re used
TEREZA: This year we’re playing a lot TEREZA: When we play festivals we get
of festivals around central Czechia,
a lot of people coming to see us. We
Prague, and Bohemia, but last year we
normally play clubs, and usually have
played at a lot of events in Germany.
about 2-300 hundred people visiting
We hope to get more international
us. Sometimes we have huge numbers,
for example recently in Poland I was
producer and agency,
playing in front of 11000 people, I was
the only Czech guitar player there, so it
Is music your only source of income?
was amazing. TEREZA: I’ve been working for 7 years in
How does this audience compare with
music full time. I am also teaching, I have
what you’re used to?
several pupils, I teach some singing, as well as guitar, and stage performance.
TEREZA: It’s hard to say because we play
They really have to work at it, and I try
at different kinds of event. For instance,
to teach them to be smart, it’s all about
we played at the Harley Davidson
the brain and the heart.
festival in Prague, there some of them were coming for the music, some of them were coming for the motor bikes. At a music festival like this, people are going around and coming to the stage and listen a bit to us, so for us it’s a really great chance to get to a new audience.
You got a huge following here tonight, do you think that’s because you’ve
The Atavists are old hands at the Colours,
played here before?
having previously played both the Drive and Fresh stages. Hailing from Hradec
ADAM: I was a bit surprised honestly, I
Kralove, they describe their style as a
wasn’t expecting this much turnout. So
mix of Surf/Stoner Rock and Blues. The
I’m really glad we got this audience.
line-up is Adam Krofian on vocals, guitar, synth and percussion, Adam Janosik on
How important is the Colours for you as
drums and percussion, Martin Krizek on
promotional vehicle for the band?
bass and Jan Hnatek on keyboards. They attracted a distinct crowd of old
ADAM: It’s really important, the Colours
fans, as well some faces coming along
is one of the two key festivals we have in
to see what they were about.
the summer. Maybe one of the 5 biggest in the whole of Europe.
I managed to get to talk to Adam Krofian after the show. The backstage
Do you manage to play any of the
tent was immediately filled by the real
busking band that came on straight after their set. We took the conversion
ADAM: Yes, but the Colours is really
outside, which wasn’t much better, but
special, and I really love the area.
Usually a festival is held in something like
an airport, and it’s super boring, There’s
You’ve played here before, did it have
just the tent, the beer, and then the stage
and nothing else. But here it’s different, it’s
my fifth time here, and have had the time
to explore the whole area, so hopefully
ADAM: Yes, we’re trying to get as many
this year I’ll get the time to explore the
tower. There used to be a stage there in
We’ve been playing now for 4 years, so
fact, it would be really awesome to play
we’ve played this country through. It’s a
there. I’m afraid of heights, but I really love
very small country with not many clubs,
this site. I can’t think of any other festival
so we’ve been everywhere. So right
this big anywhere in the world that takes
now we’re trying to reach out to other
place in this kind of environment.
countries as much as we can and get
some international bookings. Hopefully
ADAM: Well, it’s more diverse, the people that
next year we’ll be able to do a tour of
see us at festivals are quite a bit different from
European festivals. We have a Swiss tour
the crowd that see us in the clubs, but that
booked later this year in October, and
has enabled us to get all kinds of audiences
last year we played some shows in The
that wouldn’t normally go to our gigs. I really
Netherlands. It was awesome, just small
like to have a more diverse audience.
clubs with a few people, but we’ve never seen so much life in an audience.
You seemed to have some really hard core fans at the front just now?
How does the Colours audience compare with the usual crowd that you get at your
ADAM: Yeah there were some, we know
them by name, we’re good friends.
winning a Canadian band competition in 2018, and getting a tour there as a result,
The band are Filip Prochazka on guitar
they settled down to business with the
and vocals, Viktor Gregus on guitar, Filip
established band, and this year won a
Vlasak on Bass, Honza Ziegler on Drums
place on the REC stage at the Colours.
and Nikolas Havel, lead vocals, frontman. Viktor (Vick) and Nikolas knew each other
Their music is an original blend of pop/
some years ago at university, and started a
rock-punk interplayed with some very
short lived band ‘Things We Know’, before
strong hip-hop/rap style vocals, with the
taking a break for a year. They found the
underlying musical sound being very much
lack of a band made a hole in their lives,
in the realm of pop/rock, and vocals riding
and by chance met Filip Prochazka in early
on top, resulting in a very distinctive and
2017, who was looking to join a second
easily identifiable sound. I spoke with Vick
band. They started making music together
about their performance after the show.
after just a few hours of knowing each other, and decided to form a permanent
Have you any previous experience of the
arrangement. In September 2017 they
started recording their first EP, Overcome, engineered by a friend Frantisek, and
VICK: No, it’s my first time here, and I’m
with drums being provided by their old
pretty sure I’ve never been to Ostrava
drummer from ‘Things We Know’, Erik.
During the production process, which took almost 6 months, they were joined
So where are you from?
by bassist, a second Filip, and drummer
Honza. Overcome was made into a music
VICK: I’m from Most on the opposite side
video, which was very successful and
of the Czech Republic. It’s about 7 hours
resulted in a lot of local support. After
What attracted you to play at the Colours?
Do you think this is going to make much of an impact on your career?
VICK: We actually won a contest, and the REC stage management asked us to play
VICK: Yes, if you can say to people that
here. We’ve also played on the REC stage
you’re playing a festival like this one, then
at other festivals, like Rock for People, and
people treat you better. You become at
we’re playing Sázavafestu next week, so
least semi-professional if you play festivals
that’s how we got here.
Do you have intentions to make this a
and we got a lot of experience. That did
actually make our name I think.
VICK: Oh yes, for sure. We’d like to play
How did that come about?
some festivals in the UK too. We would be really glad if we could take it there.
VICK: We won the Planet Rock contest, which got us to play a festival in Quebec,
Do you think playing here will give you
and we took that opportunity to play all
around the country.
VICK: I’m not quite sure, but it’s important
to make some impact with the local
stage craft and sheer professionalism of
people to get an opportunity to get other
all the bands playing in this programme of
bookings, like the UK or Germany. Playing
emerging talent really makes one wonder
at a festival like this helps you to develop
where the fine line between aspiring
the skills you need to get higher, into more
international festivals elsewhere.
actually lies. In many cases it simply comes
down to exposure and fame, and the REC Have you played outside the country
Stage in this major festival goes a long
way to facilitating this, for those talented and lucky enough to get selected.
VICK: Yes, we’ve been on tour in Canada. We spent almost 3 weeks in Canada, travelling around the country and playing shows with local bands. It wasn’t like playing festivals here, it was more like the club circuit. It was a really good opportunity,
We’re very pleased that thousands Marco Dal Maso of people come to Ostrava, which they wouldn’t have done if the festival wasn’t here.
Colours and Commerce 77
300 000, every year for 4 days the
How significant is the colours week to your annual turnover?
Colours swells the city’s population by around 10%, taking up all available
KAMILA: The Colours of Ostrava festival
accommodation, and providing a
is an important part of a summer for our
useful boost to many of the businesses
hotel. However, it´s only one of many
around the town.
big events that we are involved in every year. The hotel is full during Colours
The Harmony Club Hotel is well placed
but it´s often full during corporate
for the industrial sector to the south
events. February to June is the main
east of the city. Most of the year it
season for conferences, and then
caters for a mainly business clientele.
again September to November, and in
Just a 20 minute walk, 10 minute tram
December we have a lot of company
ride or 5 minute car journey from the
parties, so it’s great that it’s happening
festival site, it is one of the most Colours
in the summer. Also it’s a different kind of
focussed hotels in the city and as well
client, so it gives a different atmosphere
as being convenient for festivals goers,
to the hotel.
also serves as a popular location for many of the artists. Most days you’ll
Has the impact of Colours week
be wandering around the buffet
changed much since the event moved
breakfast rubbing shoulders with one
to the Vítkovice site?
of yesterday’s acts.
KAMILA: Above all, the festival has
I asked manager Kamila Pokorna
grown significantly since then. Our hotel
about what they did to plan for their
is located a 20-minute walk from the
rather different clients during the
Dolní oblast Vítkovice. Therefore, we are
ideally located for both the production
Kamila Pokorna in the restaurant
teams and regular festival goers. But not
is just perfect, not only for our regular
just for the Colours, at the Dolni Oblast
clients, but also the production teams
Museum, they have unique exhibitions,
that come for the Colours. We can
and people come with their families to
organise press trips, also for some of the
spend the whole day. So we can put
bands that stay here. Iâ€™m not saying that
together packages for our clients, so
any guests are more important than
that they can work during the day and
others, but the fact that the production
incorporate visiting this unique heritage
teams trust us enough to get big stars in
site as part of their stay. So the location
here, thatâ€™s a very good sign for us.
Front view of the Harmony Club Hotel (Photo Harmony Club)
Do you do any special operational
opportunity, so we’re very pleased that
provision during Colours week?
thousands of people come to Ostrava, which they wouldn’t have done if the
KAMILA: We highly value our regular
festival wasn’t here. This region is really
guests who come back each year and
really lovely, and people just don’t
for whom we prepare special offers. We
expect it. So when they come here they
continually work on delivering a high
see the place is nice, and there’s much
standard of service for our clients, and
more to see than just the festival. What
every year we’re trying to bring them
we hope for is people who come here
something extra. We also see the festival
for the festival will come again, and tell
as a rather easy and nice marketing
So you say you have a different clientele
open mike stage just outside the main
during the Colours, do you do anything
gates. The organisation’s Petr Adamik
special for them?
(Rudee from Degradace) told me something about the history of the shop,
KAMILA: We give special offers for
and how it engages with the festival.
those who come for the festival for the following year. We are very happy
Hudebni Svet is an iconic music shop in
about their positive feedback about
Ostrava, to what extent do you think it
our helpful approach, comfort and
provides a community hub for the local
a very good and nutritious breakfast,
though this is normal, there’s just more of it for the festival. Naturally, when the
PETR: I think that Hudebni Svet is
hotel is fully booked, the number of staff
supporting the local music scene from
its beginning and was always sort of a community hub. It´s the only music
Not surprisingly for a city with such a
shop in Ostrava where you can come
history of musical activity of all kinds,
and talk, discuss musical things, where
music shops catering for all your
you are not just a customer but a friend
or ‘member of a family’ if we can say.
city. Hubedni Svet (Music World) is
And it´s not only the shop. In Hudebni
one of these, offering more than just
Svet you can also find a recording studio
equipment and expertise, but provides
and rehearsal rooms, and in the same
a community hub for the local scene,
building you can find a great music
regularly staging impromptu roof-top
club called Barrák and a nice chill out
gigs. During the Colours, they also work
bar ‘Dock’. The idea of Hudebni Svet is
with Sigma Guitars and the festival
simple: To get all musical activities into
organisers to provide a free busking/
the one place.
How long has Hudebni Svet been
PETR: No, they don´t charge us. They
proving an ‘open mike’ stage just
provide us the space and we have
before the entrance to the Colours
to find the artists, borrow the PA,
amps, guitars etc. They also give us free accreditation for the festival. It´s
PETR: We did a few ‘open mic’ stages
a nice collaboration.
before the Colours so we have a long history with this type of events. Before
How many performances did the
Colours asked us to care about this
stage host during the event?
stage on the festival we cooperated with their people on another festival
PETR: This year they gave us two days.
called Festival v ulicích which is held
We got Wednesday and Thursday. Ten
in the streets of the city and is for
bands performed during these days,
free. It´s something like a warm-up for
five bands each day. Our stage was
Colours Of Ostrava. So I think we have
called Sigma Guitars Busking Stage
a lot of experience with this kind of
thing. We helped with a lot of events
every visitor had an opportunity to
during the years, not only ‘open mic’
sit and try guitars from Sigma Guitars
stuff. We help with the sound, lights,
rent the instruments, amplifiers and
Furch Guitars who support this event
all equipment. Always trying to do
as well. We are also supported by
D´addarío. They supply us with strings
and other guitar accessories. There
Do the Colours charge for this space,
was also our guitar tech Džetro who
or does it welcome its existence as
will change your strings or tune your
an additional facility?
guitar for free.
Copy Cats covering Iggy and the Stooges â€˜I want to be Your Dogâ€™ on the Hudebni Svet sponsored busking stage outside the main gate
After the event I stayed another day to soak up more of the place in its normal existence. Monday morning breakfast in the Harmony was back to normal, with a scattering of business minded individuals prepared for their days work. I checked out and took the tram down to the nearest Cesky Drahy station, rather fittingly Stodolni, right at the end of the street where it all started. The mid-morning train pulled on to the sparely populated platform, and I took my seat for Prague, saying good-bye to Ostrava until next year...
Acknowledgements Contributing: Bands: Degradace Paya May Pro Tebe Electric Lady Atavists Stifled Writer:
Photographers: Richard Gatward (unless otherwise credited) Associations: Colours of Ostrava Harmony Club Hotel Hudebni Svet Producing Editors:
Project Assistance: Terry Allen James Chantry
First published in October 2019 Copyright: Charnwood Arts and Individual Authors All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Charnwood Arts.
Charnwood Artslink International Charnwood Artslink International was born in the early 1990s through
links with the Indian state of Gujarat and European twinning links between Charnwood in the UK and towns in Belgium, France, Germany and Poland. Since then we have worked with or promoted the works of artists from over 100 countries. We began this work even earlier, as since 1977, Charnwood Arts, an arts and educational charity based in the UK East Mildands, has worked with artists and organisations around the world to create scores of exhibitions, events, workshops, festivals, publications and projects. This current magazine project, initiated in the summer of 2013 was originally designed to involve people between 16 and 35 years of age in producing magazines about arts and culture in, or from, their home countries. However, with this latest publication we mark an opening of Artslink International to people of all ages from Charnwood (or with connections to Charnwood) to produce a magazine of their own. Most people involved in this project have no direct experience of producing a publication before undertaking the project and with support they are thrown into the deep end of undertaking ALL aspects of originating and producing the magazine for on-line distribution. All of the young people and young adults, and now even older adults, involved in this project to date have been involved in face to face work with Charnwood Arts.
Colours of Ostrava 2019
Charnwood Arts acknowledges core support from Arts Council England and Charnwood Borough Council.
This issue of Artslink International was produced by Richard Gatward (UK) and focuses on the largest music festival in Czech Republic, and o...
Published on Oct 9, 2019
This issue of Artslink International was produced by Richard Gatward (UK) and focuses on the largest music festival in Czech Republic, and o...