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Metronome Prague announces 2021 ‘warm-up’ festival

Ahead of its full-scale return in 2022, Czech festival Metronome Prague has announced Metronome Prague Warm Up, a limited-capacity three-day event featuring several foreign artists, for September.

Taking place at Prague’s Výstaviště exhibition ground, the site of the previous four Metronome festivals, Metronome Prague Warm Up will mark the return of international live music to the Czech Republic before the “real comeback” for music festivals next year, says festival producer David Gaydečka. “We’re overjoyed that despite postponing Metronome Prague, we can invite fans to an exceptional musical event taking place this year,” he comments. “It may seem like a small miracle, but we continue to be optimistic and we’re working on a range of improvised musical events, the most important of which for us is September’s Metronome Prague Warm Up. It will be a huge party where we are able to secure to great acts from abroad.”

Among the acts confirmed for Metronome Prague Warm Up, which will have a capacity of up to 2,500 people a day, are the UK’s Morcheeba (pictured), German house producer Hosh and Berlin-based British DJ Bec, who will perform in the Czech Republic for the first time, as well as a host of local talent.

“We were able to put together a unique programme including confirmed acts from abroad that will bring the atmosphere we’ve become accustomed to at Metronome Prague,” says the festival’s booker, Barbora Šubrtová, who also put together the line-ups for previous Metronome Pragues.

“We’re overjoyed that despite postponing Metronome Prague, we can invite fans to an exceptional musical event”

Commenting on the line-up, Šubrtová says: “Morcheeba probably needs no introduction, but I would recall their amazing concert at Metronome Prague 2019, which was among the highlights of that year’s edition.”

She adds: “Fans of electronic music can look forward to producer Hosh, known from Solomun’s label Dyinamic, as well as formerly UK- and Berlin-based DJ Bec, who has experienced a meteoric rise recently. I think if you really want to dance or just enjoy some music, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Metronome Prague Warm Up.”

Metronome last took place in 2019, with a planned fifth edition replaced by a one-off socially distanced event produced in partnership with other Prague festivals, Praha září (Prague September), at the end of last summer.

Tickets for Metronome Prague Warm Up are priced at 1,200 Kč (€47) for a three-day pass. Organisers emphasise that they will be refunded if the festival is cancelled, though they are confident it will go ahead.

 


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SoundCzech reveals panellists for IQ Focus

IQ and SoundCzech are launching the next phase of the partnership with an hour-long IQ Focus session, shining a spotlight on the best of the Czech market.

The partnership with the Czech music export office launched in September with a Spotify playlist featuring a myriad of promising domestic acts, including Cult of Fire, Amelie Siba, The Ghost of You, Chief Bromden, Kalle and more, and was followed by a feature on the Czech market in IQ93.

The panel will be broadcast live this Thursday (10 December) at 4 pm GMT, featuring an all-star lineup from Czech’s music industry.

SoundCzech’s Naray Marton will be joined by Barbora Šubrtová (pictured), Metronome Festival Prague and United Islands of Prague; David Urban, founder of D Smack U Promotion; and Floex, clarinettist, composer and multimedia artist.

Barbora Šubrtová is head of programme at Metronome Festival Prague, an open-air event which takes place annually in Prague at the end of June. Since the first edition in 2016, Šubrtová has booked artists including Iggy Pop, Sting, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers, David Byrne, Foals, Kasabian, Tom Odell, John Cale, Faithless and DJ Solomun.

Šubrtová has booked artists including Iggy Pop, Sting, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers, David Byrne and Foals

She’s also worked for United Islands of Prague festival since 2008, booking artists including Ella Eyre, Aloe Black, Audiobullys, East India Youth and Garden City Movement. Between festivals, she works continuously in production, cultural events services and on promoted Exit Music concert series.

Šubrtová is joined by David Urban, founder of D Smack U Promotion, an agency which has become an integral part of the Czech music scene over the past two decades. D Smack U is responsible for bringing major artists to Czech Republic including Queens of the Stone Age, Editors, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pixies; organising the legendary Jelení příkop festival; and helping with Rock for People, Rock for Churchill, and Grape festival in Slovakia.

Urban is also behind the Planet Festival project and represents bands such as Skyline and The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, as well as The Subways and Parov Stelar Band in the Czech market. He was awarded Personality of The Year at the Nouvelle Prague Awards three consecutive years.

The panel will be completed by Floex, also known as Tomáš Dvořák, a clarinettist, composer and multimedia artist from Prague. Dvořák’s moniker is a combination of the different worlds ‘float’, ‘flex’ and ‘experiment’ – reflecting his uniquely atmospheric tracks, in which he explores the possibilities of coexistence between electronic and acoustic sound worlds. Floex released his last album under Mercury KX in collaboration with Tom Hodge.

The stream is set to go live this Thursday (10 December) at 4 pm GMT on IQ’s Facebook and Youtube channels. Set a reminder on Facebook or YouTube.

 


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Prague festivals combine for big open-air event

Praha září (Prague September) in the Czech Republic is combining some of the capital’s leading cultural festivals for a large scale event that’s expected to be the last of its kind before a lockdown.

The open-air event is taking place between 8–28 September at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds in Prague-Holešovice and includes programming from music, theatre and film festivals.

The 17th annual multi-genre festival United Islands of Prague took over programming last weekend, presenting Czech, Slovak and Austrian artists.

While Metronome, which was scheduled to take place in June featuring artists such as Beck, Underworld and Skepta but was cancelled, presented a mini version of its flagship event during the week.

“In light of the expected development of the pandemic, it is likely that Praha září will be the last large event not just in the Czech Republic, but also in surrounding countries,” says Metronome Prague and Praha září head of programme Barbora Šubrtová.

“That’s why we’d like to invite all music fans to come and enjoy the final live shows of this year in a safe open-air environment where we can ensure greater social distancing and a reduced risk of infection than on your morning commute to work.”

“In light of the expected development of the pandemic, it is likely that Praha září will be the last large event”

In compliance with the government regulations, Praha září divided the grounds of Prague-Holešovice into four sectors with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people each so visitors can maintain social distancing.

Visitors are required to register with the festival organisers, read the Ten Commandments of a Responsible Guest before entering the event and wear a mask at all times.

Last Tuesday, the BBC noted a new record for Czech Republic after the country recorded 1,677 Covid cases.

Hospitalisation, intensive care and deaths are also on a sharp upward trajectory, and heading towards the numbers seen in March and April.

IQ recently announced a partnership with the Czech Music Office to showcase the best of the Czech Republic’s thriving live music sector to the world.

Listen to the SoundCzech x IQ playlist, which features artists including FVTVRE, I Love You Honey Bunny, MYDY, the Atavists, Ba:zel, Tea Sofia and Hellwana, here.

 


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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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Czech live industry joins forces for United Live Radio

Live music industry professionals from across the Czech Republic have teamed up to launch United Live Radio, a non-commercial radio station broadcasting live music, talk shows and podcasts.

Since going live on 10 April, the online radio station, which can be accessed here, has broadcast archived live concerts from Talking Heads, the Rolling Stones and Sting, as well as featuring talk shows by venue owner Jakub Horak and music selections from Michael Kyselka of radio Vltava and artists including Michal Kořán and Michal Prokop,

Upcoming radio hosts include Metronome Festival’s Barbora Šubrtová, veteran promoter and Fórum Karlín CEO Serge Grimaux and singer Moimir Papalescu.

“The impact of restrictions on live culture is enormous and this project, which is being developed in collaboration with festivals, concert promoters, venues and artists, aims to help everyone going through these difficult times,” says David Gaydečka, founder of Prague’s 20,000-capacity Metronome Festival, which has been postponed to September this year.

“The impact of restrictions on live culture is enormous and this project aims to help everyone going through these difficult times”

“Our common goal is to stay in touch with the musicians and the fans by offering them unique musical experiences, while also having a look inside festivals, concerts and venues.”

In addition to Metronome, festivals currently taking part in the United Live Radio initiative include dance music festival Beats for Love, Benátská noc, BluesAlive, metal festival Brutal Assault, JazzFestBrno, drum and bass events Festival Svojšice and Let It Roll, Folk Holidays, Open Air MusicFest Prestige, Prague Spring Festival, Respect Festival, Strings of Autumn Festival, Štěrkovna Open Music, United Islands of Prague and sports event Slovácké léto.

Venues including Forum Karlín, Joe’s Garage are also taking part, as well as promoters Fource Entertainment, Live Nation, Obscure Promotion and agency 10:15 Entertainment.

Listen to United Live Radio here.

 


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Grimaux and Fórum Karlín team buy into Metronome Prague

Ahead of its fifth edition next summer, Serge Grimaux and Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík have acquired a stake in Prague’s Metronome Festival.

The trio, which recently took over and refurbished the 4,000-cap. Fórum Karlín in Prague, aim to turn the festival – to be renamed Metronome Prague –  into “the largest city festival in the Czech Republic”, Grimaux tells IQ, adding that the new investors will “provide the existing team with the resources and the guidance they need” to achieve that goal.

Metronome founders David Gaydečka, Martin Voňka and Libor Winkler, as well as the rest of the festival team, will continue their involvement with the event.

“Joining forces with these people will help us materialising the vision Martin and I had when we created Metronome Festival,” says Gaydečka. “In fact, it is so much the beginning of a new era that, to underline the importance of this, we will soon rename the event Metronome Prague. The event will definitively be much more than just a festival.”

Liam Gallagher and Kraftwerk headlined Metronome 2019, which was attended by 18,000 people, following Massive Attack, the Chemical Brothers and David Byrne in 2018 and Sting and Kasabian the year previous.

“Metronome Prague will soon reach … the level of top events of the same type presented in many capital cities around the world”

“Early in my career I was lucky enough to be part of the group of people that created the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which later became, and to this day remains, the largest jazz festival in the world,” says Grimaux.

“Organised in the heart of the city, I can see a lot of similarities between that event, which started in 1979, and Metronome Prague. With such a great event site; the magic of the city of Prague; the perfect time of the year; and the amazing potential offered by what Martin, David and their team, the programme director Barbora Šubrtová, executive producer Martin Mára and new marketing director Jakub Horák, have created so far, there is no doubt in my mind that Metronome Prague will soon reach, if not exceed, the level of top events of the same type presented in many capital cities around the world.”

Metronome Prague 2020 will take place on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 June, returning to the open-air Výstaviště exhibition grounds in central Prague.

“The new partners will help us present top international artists to the audience,” says Voňka, “as well as an even more comfortable environment for attendees, as we are aiming to increase ​​the event area in the Výstaviště, hence accelerating and strengthening the development of our common vision.”

 


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