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Pohoda called off, uncertainty grows for Czechoslovak fests

Slovakia’s Pohoda festival will not take place this summer, as festival organisers in the neighbouring Czech Republic ask the government for clarification over the fate of the country’s summer season.

Organisers of Pohoda (30,000-cap.), the biggest festival in Slovakia, have taken the “inevitable decision” to call off this year’s edition, which was to take place from 9 to 11 July. A free online event, Pohoda in the Air, will take place over the festival weekend instead.

Pohoda festival director Michal Kaščák will join organisers from Czech festivals Colours of Ostrava, Rock for People, Metronome Prague and Let It Roll in an online discussion at 8 p.m. CET today (16 April).

Artists from the 2020 bill including the Libertines, Wolf Alice and Metronomy are confirmed to play next year’s Pohoda, from 8 to 10 July 2021. “Other names will follow soon,” says Kaščák, adding that, “we cannot guarantee the same programme for 2021, but we will do our best to make it even more powerful.”

All 2020 Pohoda tickets will remain valid for 2021. Ticketholders have until 15 October 2020 to apply for a refund. Fans can either ask for a full refund or opt to support Pohoda by donating a portion of the refunded ticket price.

Fellow Slovakian festivals including Uprising, Hip Hop Žije, Topfest and Grape are going ahead as planned for now. Hip Hop Žije organisers state they give fans more “precise” information on 20 April, whereas Grape organisers say they have until the end of May to make a decision, although “it will probably be the government and crisis team that will make the decision for us in this matter”.

“We cannot guarantee the same programme for 2021, but we will do our best to make it even more powerful”

Pohoda’s decision comes as promoters in the bordering Czech Republic demand a clear decision regarding summer festivals in the country.

On Tuesday (14 April), the Czech government announced it will allow shops and restaurants to reopen in stages over the next two months, with theatres and cultural venues of up to 50 capacity opening on 8 June as part of a gradual exit plan.

However, no clear information has been given as to when festivals and events may be allowed to reopen, unlike in other European countries such as Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium and Germany, where a similarly staggered lifting of restrictions has begun.

Organisers of festivals including Rock for People (18 to 20 June) which has the 1975, Green Day and Fall Out Boy on the line-up, and Colours of Ostrava (15 to 17 July), which is set to feature the Killers, Twenty One Pilots and Martin Garrix, are awaiting an official government decision, whereas Prague’s Metronome festival has rescheduled from the end of June to 17 to 19 September.

“The government is unable to give us a decision and prolongs our suffering by giving us unclear information,” Colours of Ostrava director Zlata Holušová told Czech newspaper Novinky.cz. “For this reason, I take it that hope has not yet died. We have no official ban yet.”

Holušová will join Kaščák, Rock for People’s Michal Thomas, Metronome Prague’s David Gaydečka and Let It Roll’s Zdeněk Souček in a conversation moderated by journalist Petr Vizina to share their thoughts on current events here.


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