Ower – Reflections

Following a whiskey-tastic weekend at Mighty Sounds, I’m feeling rather punk-rocked out and in need of something a bit more downtempo to settle myself down for the coming week. As it happens, Soundcloud has just the medicine for me in the form of this beautiful track from Czech producer Ower. He’s been on our radar for some time, usually due to his laid back dnb productions. Reflections is something different, blending a rather mournful melody with ghostly vocal snippets and bass that sounds as though it’s enjoying taking a bit of a breather from it’s regular dnb gig . Instead it’s lazing around on a deck chair shouting out occasional instructions. Stunning stuff. Check out Ower’s Soundcloud page to hear more of this music.


Ower - Reflections

10 Czech Music Festivals to check out in 2012!!

Like several other Central European countries, the Czech Republic has an abundance of great music festivals catering for a wide range of tastes. Compared to somewhere like the UK, Czech festivals are cheap and the atmosphere is usually much more laid back. While good weather can never be guaranteed, muddy disasters are less common and long days of glorious sunshine are relatively frequent. On top of all that, beer costs the same as it does in Prague, the food is often good and any post-festival riots are extremely good-natured. Most importantly, the music on show is often of the highest quality, offering a combination of world famous and local groups and artists. Here are a few festivals that we think are worth a visit:

1) Mighty Sounds

Mighty Sounds Festival

What is it?

Mighty Sounds is quite probably my favourite festival in this country. It describes itself as ‘Ska/Punk’ although, in reality, there is a wide range of music on show from laid-back reggae in the afternoons to full-on dubstep and drum n bass through the night. For me, the music is secondary to the amazing atmosphere (which is admittedly helped by a yearly group of ten or so friends from the UK coming over). Last year I didn’t even bother checking the lineup before I went, so to discover that the legendary Skatalites were on the bill was probably the most pleasant surprise of the year. The more hardened punks among our group were equally enthusiastic about grunge heavyweights Pennywise’s appearance. By the way, if anybody out there knows who ‘Pedrooooooooo!!!’ is, please get in touch!

Where is it? Čápův Dvůr airport, Tábor

When is it? 13th – 15th July

Which artists are playing (note, for the sake of simplicity I’ll just be naming the headline acts and/or selected interesting acts, to view the rest check the festival websites)? Frank Turner (UK), Irie Révoltés (DE) Revolts Prague Conspiracy (CZ) Fast Food Orchestra (CZ)

Where can you buy tickets? Mightyshop

Cost: 890CZK until the end of June, 950CZK after that.

Links: http://www.mightysounds.cz/

2) Shotgun Festival

What is it?

I only heard about this festival for the first time a few weeks ago and I was struck immediately by the incredible lineup. The artists listed on the festival’s website are legendary within the various genres and subgenres in which they float around and between. Described as providing a ‘cross-section of the dance music spectrum’, on the whole this appears to be a drum n bass festival, veering towards techno occasionally. Definitely one I want to be at.

Where is it? Areál Kristýna, Hrádku nad Nisou

When is it? 31st August – 2nd September

Which artists are playing? Instra:mental (UK), Surgeon (UK), dBridge (UK) , Boddika (UK), Objekt (DE) , Rido (CZ), Elektrabel (CZ)

Where can you buy tickets? Ticketpro

Cost: 1 day ticket: 275CZK in advance, 400CZK on the gate, 2 day ticket: 375CZK in advance, 500CZK on the gate

Links: http://www.shotgunfestival.com

3) Sázavafest

What is it?

Sázavafest is a festival that I’ve always meant to get to at some point but things invariably end up getting in the way (blame weddings). I’ve mainly been attracted by the eclectic lineups boasting acts that induce vivid day dreams of lounging around in the sun clutching a cocktail whilst great trippy music blasts from a stage in the distance. As this has generally actually been my experience of Czech festivals (except when it has rained…Rock for People 2011, I’m looking at you), I have no reason to doubt that this is exactly how Sázavafest must be. However, considering that previous years have seen the likes of Kosheen, Roni Size and Moby on the bill, I’m very slightly underwhelmed by this year’s offering of the Kaiser Chiefs and some more artists that I’m less familiar with (which I’m sure is my own fault). I reckon Paul Oakenfold would be well worth seeing, though…

Where is it? Benešov

When is it? 2nd – 5th August

Which artists are playing? Kaiser Chiefs (UK), Paul Oakenfold (UK), Fun Lovin’ Criminals (USA), Skindred (UK), Molotov (MEX)

Where can you buy tickets? Ticketportal.cz

Cost: 1190 CZK in advance, 1600CZK on the gate

Links: http://www.sazavafest.cz/letni

4) Colours of Ostrava

Crowd enjoying the sunshine at Colours of Ostrava

What is it?

Colours of Ostrava has been taking place every summer since 2002 and is said to be the biggest festival in the Czech Republic. Looking back through previous lineups I’m already cursing myself that I missed out on the Dandy Warhols, Goldfrapp, Morcheeba, Coldcut… the list goes on. The festival has a very healthy variety of genres represented and this year’s line up looks extremely promising as well, mainly (but not only) because it includes Parov Stelar, whose music I fell in love with a few years back. Why oh why is this festival on the same weekend as Mighty Sounds?!

Where is it? Ostrava

When is it? 12th – 15th July

Which artists are playing? Alanis Morissette (CA), The Flaming Lips (USA), Antony and the Johnsons (USA), Rufus Wainwright and his Band (USA), Mogwai (UK) (Adam’s going to freak out when he realises…), Parov Stelar Band (AT), A Banquet (CZ) and lots more.

Where can you buy tickets? Ticketpro

Cost: 1890CZK (note: this is for a four-day ticket)

Links: http://www.colours.cz/

5) Prague city festival

What is it?

Prague City Festival is “the first major international live music festival in Prague” and boasts some world famous names such Blink-182 and New Order. I can’t help but notice that the ticket prices appear to be very steep in comparison with the festivals mentioned above, but still peanuts when compared with what you would pay in the UK. I can see a lot of people that are based in Prague choosing just one of the days depending on the artists/bands they’re most keen to see. On that basis, the second day is the one I would go for as that is when the amazing Amon Tobin will be performing his album ISAM and I think New Order would be well worth taking a look at.

Where is it? Prague

When is it? 29th – 30th June

Which artists are playing? Amon Tobin (UK), New Order (UK), Blink-182 (USA)

Where can you buy tickets? http://www.cityfestival.cz/en/tickets 

Cost: 2 days, Zone 1 (not exactly sure what this entails): 1590CZK, 2 days, Zone 2: 1295CZK, 1 day, Zone 1: 1299CZK, 1 day, Zone 2: 990CZK

Links: http://www.cityfestival.cz/

6) Rock for people

Crowd at Rock for People

What is it?

Rock for People is one of the most popular open air summer music festivals in the Czech Republic. The festival features rock, indie, punk, hardcore punk, metalcore, electronic, ska, metal, pop, hip hop, world music, drum and bass, dubstep, reggae amongst a few other things. There is also Theatre and other activities. Having been there for the last few years we can really recommend it. Lots to do, lots to see, lots to drink. There is a wide variety of stages and I also recommend to splash out a bit and pay for a pre-built tent. It guarantees you a great space and you don’t have to worry about turning up early to get a spot and then fumble around trying to remember how a tent should really look. God I sound old!! J Great atmosphere, usually great weather and an added bonus of a lake nearby for when things get a bit too hot!! Go go go!

Where is it? Hradec Králové

When is it? 3rd July – 6th July

Which artists are playing? Many!!! Most notably Prodigy (UK), Faith No More (US) Skrillex (US) Čechomor & Proměny (CZ), Enter Shikari (GB), Example (GB), Flogging Molly (US), Horkýže Slíže (SK), Mandrage (CZ), Mig 21 (CZ), Monkey Business (CZ), Orbital (GB), Refused (SE), Support Lesbiens (CZ), Tata Bojs (CZ), The Kooks (GB), The Subways (GB), Two Door Cinema Club (GB)

Where can you buy tickets? Tickets for People

Cost: 1 600CZK (T-Mobile clients – 1 360CZK)

Links: http://www.rockforpeople.com/ 

7) Open air festival

The Open Air Festival is exactly what it says on the TIN! It’s an Open Air Festival!! It is a relatively new festival and is attended by around 20,000 fans. It plays a wide range of music both international and domestic. Other than musical performances, the festival also offers many other activities – sporting events, workshops, theatre performances and games for the wee ones.

Where is it? Letiště Panenský Týnec – 50 Kilometres from Prague.

When is it? 9th August – 11th August

Which artists are playing? Fat Boy Slim (UK), Gorillaz Sound System (UK), Amy MacDonald (UK), Mando Diao (SE), Nightwork (CZ), Monkey Business (CZ), Wohnout (CZ), Support Lesbiens (CZ), Xindl X (CZ), Mandrage (CZ), Anna K (CZ), Prago Union (CZ).

Where can you buy tickets? http://www.openairfestival.cz/#/vstupenky

Cost: 990CZK (buy 1 get 1 free if O2 client), VIP – 1760CZK (Not sure what this actually gets you??)

Links: http://www.openairfestival.cz/

8) Okor festival

Stunning backdrop at Okor Festival

What is it?

Okor Festival is an open air festival which is set under the overlooking ruins of the Okor Castle. It provides a beautiful backdrop to this classic 1 day festival. It is predominately Czech Artists playing this festival. There is one main stage but plenty of things to do around. I attended this last year and the visual of watching the sun set against the ruined castle accompanied by the folky rock of Čechomor was a great spectacle. Real relaxed atmosphere also with families there and everyone just enjoying the great weather and surprisingly good food!

Where is it? Okor

When is it? 18th August

Which artists are playing? Tomáš Klus (CZ), Horkýže Slíže (SK), David Koller (CZ), Mandrage (CZ), Anna K CZ), Marta Kubišová (CZ), Michal Hrůza (CZ), Airfare (CZ), Nightwork (CZ), Mig 21 (CZ)

Where can you buy tickets? Ticketportal CZ (from the 1st June 2012)


Links http://www.festivalokor.cz/

9) Trutnov Open Air Music Festival

Crowd at the Trutnov Festival

What is it?

Trutnov Open Air Music Festival is one of the most diverse music festivals in the Czech Republic. Its origins go back to 1987 when it was founded on the tradition of Underground culture in the city of Trutnov. It is sometimes referred to the Woodstock of the Czech Republic. It is known for its wide range of musical offerings and extra alternatives particularly in the fields of ecology, politics and religion. Vaclav Havel even graced it with his presence so if it’s good enough for him its good enough for any man!

Where is it? Trutnov

When is it? 16th – 19th August

Which artists are playing? Korn (USA), Deus(BE), The plastic people of the universe (CZ), Sto Zvířat (CZ), Jiří Schmitzer (CZ), The Fireballs (CZ), Goodfellas (CZ), Čankišou (CZ), Plastic Swan (CZ), Zuby Nehty (CZ), Hally Belly (CZ)

Where can you buy tickets? http://www.festivaltrutnov.cz/vstupenky/

Cost:980CZK, 1080CZK or 1200CZK depending on when you buy them

Links: http://www.festivaltrutnov.cz/cs/english

10) AMEBIO 2012

What is it?

AMEBIO is a psytrance festival held in May. It features a wide range of psytrance artists/DJs and looks like a relaxed festival where one can really feel at home!! J This one is definitely on the list of festivals to goto next year (Damn I can’t believe I missed it this year!! Arghhhhh!). There are chill-out tents, creative projects, visuals on display and lots of delving into the deeper meaning of it all and trying to answer the ultimate questions whilst being accompanied by ambient music from all over the world. There are tea-rooms, Dragon cocktail bars and apothecaries all providing the much needed sustenance for the weekend’s events. All in all it sounds like a relatively untouched festival in regards to advertising and corporate whores trying to exploit and suck every last penny out of the festival-goe and this is how I like them! These type of festivals usually become a victim to corporate $$$ eventually so enjoy whilst it is still relatively untouched!

Where is it? Lesní tábořiště Tišina, Kožlany u Rakovnika

When is it? 18th May 2012 – 21st May. Damn!!! Missed it!!!

Which artists played? Gem Reflection (Cz), Mythematica (CZ), Cell (CZ), Cybernetic Quartet (CZ…we think), IANUARIA (AT), (CZ), Petrix (CZ), Gyrro (CZ)

Where can you buy tickets? Too late!!

Cost: We’ll let you know next year…

Links: http://www.psytrance.cz/cs/party/amebio-2012