fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Pohoda on most “emotional and challenging” edition

The organiser behind Slovakia’s biggest festival has told IQ about “the most emotionally charged and the most logistically difficult year in the festival’s history”.

Pohoda (peace) returned to Trenčín airport last week (6–8 July) for the first time in three years, due to two pandemic-related cancellations.

According to CEO and booker Michal Kascak, more than 10,000 people held onto tickets they bought before the pandemic and ultimately, the 30,000-capacity event sold out.

The 25th-anniversary edition played host to artists from thirty countries including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Confidence Man, Slowthai, Lianne La Havas, Metronomy, Sigrid and Wolf Alice, though it was acts from neighbouring Ukraine that stole the show.

Kascak says the most emotionally powerful concert came from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luhansk, an area which has been a recent focal point during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The war in our neighbouring country, plus returning after three years of the pandemic, along with powerful performances brought a spectre of emotions, from total joy to gratitude, fellowship to sorrow,” says Kascak.

“I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement like this year in the backstage of Pohoda”

“We know how lucky we are to hold a festival in a free democratic society – we could lose it in a second like our Ukrainian friends. I grew up under a communist regime, when a festival like this seemed like an unrealisable dream.

“We’ve been doing this for 25 years now and it is amazing to see people being together in all their diversity, enjoying art, life and creating a community of tolerance and peace. It shows that festivals have an important purpose.”

Throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Pohoda has pitched in to support the citizens of Ukraine with a charity concert and an employment initiative.

As if supporting their neighbours wasn’t enough to occupy Pohoda, the festival also had to deal with the kind of post-Covid issues that are affecting festival across Europe.

“We had a lack of volunteers and temporary workers. There were many problems with flights. We also had some covid-related cancellations,” lists Kascak.

“[Despite that], I was positively surprised how were people dealing with that. All the team did incredible job, I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement like this year in the backstage of Pohoda.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ARTmania spearheads launch of job site for Ukrainians

European festivals ARTmania (Romania) and Pohoda (Slovakia) have teamed up with Music Export Ukraine to launch a pan-European job site that aims to help displaced Ukrainians from the live music industry find work in other countries.

The companies say that ARTery was launched as a reaction to the war in Ukraine but that the platform will also counter the effects of the staff shortage in Europe caused by Covid.

“We want to help [Ukrainians] resume their lives with dignity in other countries and give them a sense of normality by helping them to do what they’re trained to do,” Codruța Vulcu, festival director at ARTMania in Romania, previously told IQ.

“We want to help [Ukrainians] resume their lives with dignity in other countries”

“The aim is that these people don’t end up washing dishes in Berlin, for example, but that they can continue the work they’ve studied and prepared for – and all that added value will not get lost,” she says.

The platform officially launched on Saturday (7 May) and is already advertising jobs for ARTmania festival, Music Export Ukraine and European Music Exporters Exchange in Belgium.

Companies can post a job, while Ukrainian music representatives can register and create a profile in order to browse job offers and apply directly. Visit the ARTery website here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

European live industry stepping up for Ukraine

Live music markets around the world are pitching in to support the citizens of Ukraine, as the Russian military continues its full-scale invasion of the country.

From helping with logistics at borders to finding employment for displaced professionals, the global sector is utilising its unique resources to help those fleeing the conflict.

Codruța Vulcu, festival director at ARTMania in Romania, is spearheading the launch of a pan-European job site that aims to help uprooted Ukrainians from the live music industry find work in other countries.

“We want to help them resume their lives with dignity in other countries and give them a sense of normality by helping them to do what they’re trained to do,” she tells IQ.

“I would call it an ideological solution for what Putin is trying to do. He’s trying to destroy a way of life and whatever these people have built and invested in.

“We want to help them resume their lives with dignity in other countries and give them a sense of normality”

“The aim is that these people don’t end up washing dishes in Berlin, for example, but that they can continue the work they’ve studied and prepared for – and all that added value will not get lost,” she says.

The platform, due to launch within the next week, is called ARTery for that very reason. “An artery keeps life going,” she explains. “It keeps the flow of blood and life – and so to say the activity of art – going.”

Michal Kascak from Pohoda, Slovakia’s biggest festival, is also involved in the project and the pair are attempting to enlist as many festivals, companies and venues within the industry as possible.

Vulcu hopes that, even after the war, the platform will be used by creatives around the world fleeing from conflict areas or dictatorial regimes – including Russians.

Alongside the launch of ARTery, ARTMania and Pohoda are deploying production staff to help organise logistics at their respective borders.

“I think that we as concert promoters, venues, clubs, festivals should offer slots in our events to Ukrainians who can play”

In addition, Pohoda also recently organised a solidarity concert for the people of Ukraine, which became a high-profile event in Slovakia.

“Slovakia’s president Zuzana Čaputová came to the event and made a great speech onstage, which was a surprise for everyone,” Kascak tells IQ.

“I was also positively surprised that public TV called us the evening before and asked to join the concert. Slovenska One, the major channel in Slovakia, broadcast the concert live on TV for three hours nonstop!”

The concert took place last Sunday (27 February) in Bratislava’s Main Square and featured more than 20 acts from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine.

“I think that we as concert promoters, venues, clubs, festivals should offer slots in our events to Ukrainians who can play and bring a message from their country to ours,” says Kascak. “I think it can be a strong gesture and can also help to unite people and to spread the message about what’s going on in Ukraine.”

But it’s not just neighbouring countries that are pitching in to support citizens in Ukraine. In Austria, promoter Barracuda Music has transformed part of Nova Rock‘s festival site into a refugee centre.

Nova Rock Hall, which is typically used as a backstage and hospitality area during the festival, is now equipped to accommodate up to 480 refugees.

“The hall is set up in multiple sections, which are suited for 50 people each and include beds and seating,” Barracuda Music CEO Ewald Tatar explains to IQ. “Electricity, water, heating, light and hygiene and sanitation facilities (toilets, garbage disposal etc.) are all installed to accommodate the refugees.”

“It is important that the international live music industry shows solidarity with Ukraine,” adds Tatar.

Alongside the refugee centre, Nova Rock is also gearing up for a fundraising concert, titled ‘We Stand with Ukraine’.

The charity gig, announced today, is scheduled for 19 March at Ernst Happel-Stadion, Vienna, and donations will benefit people affected by the Ukraine war.

Nova Rock’s event is one of countless fundraisers around the world that have been organised to aid victims of the war.

Romanian promoter ALDA is spearheading two benefit events – We Are One at Bucharest stadium and Dance for Ukraine in Poland. Elsewhere, Brussels-based festivals, nightclubs and events have announced an open-air festival at Atomium.

Poland’s Follow the Step is gearing up to announce “the biggest show in Poland together with television and local artists”. While, across the pond, New York’s City Winery is hosting a benefit featuring Ukrainian-born Eugene Hütz & Gogol Bordello, as well as the likes of Patti Smith.

See a non-exhaustive list of benefit concerts, compiled by Music Export Ukraine, below.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Pohoda plans solidarity concert for Ukraine

Pohoda (Peace), Slovakia’s biggest festival, is organising a concert to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Russian forces this week launched a full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, attacking locations across the country. A number of people have been killed and thousands have fled their homes.

Pohoda’s ‘Concert for Ukraine’ will take place this Sunday (27 February) at 15:00 CST in Bratislava’s Main Square with more than 20 artists.

Ukrainian DJ and resident of Slovakia, Miklei, was the first act announced for the solidarity event. Slovakia and Czech acts including Štefan Štec, Saténové ruky, Michael Kocáb + Martin Wittgruber, Miklei, Muzička, Para and Bez ladu a skladu are also confirmed.

“We have many visitors and great relationships with promoters from Ukraine”

Pohoda is encouraging attendees of the free concert to make donations to charities such as Save Life and Red Cross.

“With this concert, we want to show our solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” says Pohoda’s Michal Kaščák. “The liberal arts are developing best in free countries, and we know that our friends in Ukraine are trying to do the same. Every year, great artists from Ukraine perform at Pohoda, we receive representatives of their media, we have many visitors and great relationships with promoters from Ukraine.

“We want to let them all know also this way that we are with them in these difficult times. By the way, it is clear that if a similar attack concerned Slovakia, one of the first targets would be the Trenčín airport, which is also used for many civilian activities, including our festival.”

Pohoda Festival is scheduled to return to Trenčín airport between 7–9 July with acts including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Flume and The Libertines.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

No infections recorded at Pohoda on the Ground

Slovakia’s Pohoda on the Ground did not record a single positive Covid-19 result throughout the “extraordinary” five days it took place, according to organisers.

The festival mini-series took place between 7–11 July 2021 at Trenčín Airport in western Slovakia instead of the flagship event, which was cancelled for a second consecutive year.

A maximum of 1,000 people were permitted on each of the five days, including campers who had their own designated space.

According to the organisers, nearly three-quarters of the visitors were vaccinated (twice as much as the national average), for whom pre-testing was not mandatory.

All non-vaccinated people (including crew) were tested at one of the festival’s seven test sites and not a single positive Covid-19 result was recorded in more than 2,200 tests, prompting the organisers to declare that “well-established cultural events can be even safer from the epidemiological point of view than the streets of our cities”.

“The Pohoda on the Ground Festival started as a concept full of uncertainty but all obstacles are negligible in terms of its outcome. The measures were worth it; I feel that we have managed to create a space full of freedom, a celebration of art, tolerance, and the joy of meeting,” says Pohoda’s Michal Kaščák.

“[The festival] started as a concept full of uncertainty but all obstacles are negligible in terms of its outcome”

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to its implementation—the commitment of many was huge and admirable, and visitors made sense of all our efforts. Also, this Pohoda has shown the importance of live art. We keep our fingers crossed for the other organisers of live culture events; we wish them to experience similar feelings of joy as we are experiencing now, so that they can realise their events in the freest possible format.”

Among the artists that performed at Pohoda on the Ground were Jewish DJ Ramzy Al Spinoza, Palestinian rapper MC Safaa Hathot, Korean-British duo Wooze, British band Dry Cleaning and Kinshasa-hailing collective Fulu Miziki.

Performances could be watched virtually on the festival’s 16-hour live stream which was viewed more than 3,000 times on the festival’s website, watched on YouTube more than 2,000 times, and Facebook videos were watched more than 18,000 times.

Marquee event Pohoda (cap. 30,000), which is the biggest festival in Slovakia, is due to return to Trenčín Airport between 7–9 July 2022.

Confirmed names for Pohoda 2022 include Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Libertines, Richie Hawtin, Black Pumas, Metronomy, Wolf Alice, slowthai.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Pohoda on the Ground 2021 unveils international bill

Pohoda, Slovakia’s biggest festival, has revealed details of the festival mini-series which is replacing the 2021 flagship event.

The series, dubbed ‘Pohoda on the Ground’, is set to take place between 7–11 July 2021 at Trenčín Airport in western Slovakia.

A maximum of 1,000 people will be permitted on each of the five days, including campers who will have their own designated space.

British bands Black Midi, Black Country, New Road, Pengshui and Dry Cleaning are touted to play, alongside Georgian band Murman Tsuladze and Congolese band Fulu Miziki – all of whom will perform on the main stage, curated by Pohoda.

The other two stages will be curated by ten clubs across Slovakia – Hangár, Bombura, Fuga, Diera do sveta, Stromoradie, 69, Collosseum, WAX, Záhrada, and Hájovňa – as a show of support for the country’s nightlife scene.

“With a capacity that is comparable to its beginnings and an emphasis on the club scene, Pohoda is returning to the ground,” says Michal Kaščák from the Pohoda team.

“We enjoy creating a different form of Pohoda and playing with space and programme”

“Clubs are essential for music, creating a year-round background for musicians and local communities. We enjoy creating a different form of Pohoda and playing with space and programme; especially we are very much looking forward to meeting visitors soon at the Trenčín Airport.”

Pohoda on the Ground’s non-musical programme will also be jointly curated along with cultural centres including Platform 1-12 Topoľčany, New Synagogue Žilina, Peripheral Centres Dúbravica, Kunsthalle Bratislava and Homeland Studies Museum Galanta.

The first 1,000 tickets for Pohoda on the Ground will be available for exclusive pre-sale via individual clubs on 12 May. The online pre-sale in the Pohoda shop will then start on 17 May.

Pohoda on the Ground will take place instead of the 24th edition of Pohoda (‘Peace’), which was cancelled for a second consecutive year after epidemiologists confirmed that a 30,000-cap event in Slovakia this summer “seemed unrealistic”.

The flagship festival will return between 7 –9 July, 2022.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Slovakia’s biggest festival called off again

The 24th edition of Pohoda (‘Peace’), Slovakia’s biggest festival, has been cancelled for a second consecutive year – a decision which organisers say was “the right and inevitable one”.

According to a statement from the festival, the decision to reschedule the event was made after a team of epidemiologists confirmed that an event for 30,000 visitors in Slovakia this summer “seemed unrealistic”.

The decision was also based on a number of artists cancelling summer tours and festivals that “fit in the schedule with Pohoda”. Major festival cancellations in neighbouring countries include CTS Eventim-backed Nova Festival in Austria and Czech festivals Colours of Ostrava and Metronome Prague.

The Libertines, Metronomy, Wolf Alice, Floating Points and FKA twigs were among the international artists slated for Pohoda 2021. The organisers say they hope to replicate the line-up for next year’s edition, which will take place between 7 –9 July, 2022.

Pohoda 2020 was also replaced by a one-off event, a free online event dubbed Pohoda in the Air.

In lieu of the flagship event, Pohoda is working on a series of smaller festival events under the banner ‘Pohoda on the Ground’

All festival passes purchased for the 24th edition of Pohoda Festival remain valid and organisers have encouraged buyers to keep their tickets: “It’s only thanks to our festival-goers’ support that we have been able to continue as a team. This support makes it possible for Pohoda to continue in the future and we are so grateful for it.”

In lieu of the flagship event, Pohoda has announced it is working on a series of smaller festival events under the banner ‘Pohoda on the Ground’ which is billed to take place between 7–11 July 2021 at Trenčín Airport in western Slovakia.

“We hope the situation will get better soon and this year’s Pohoda on the Ground will be an exceptional get-together with the club scene to restart and follow in the fall and we also hope that 2022 will be the year when we will meet at Pohoda at full strength. We can’t wait to celebrate art, freedom and togetherness,” says Pohoda’s Michal Kaščák.

The Pohoda organisers will talk with epidemiologists and other experts both about the decision to reschedule Pohoda and about Pohoda on the Ground in more detail during a livestream debate on the festival’s Facebook profile today (7 April) at 6pm CET.

Fellow Slovakian festivals including Uprising, Hip Hop Žije, Topfest and Grape are going ahead as planned for now.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Slovakia offers to assist vaccination programme

Slovakia is the latest market to offer assistance towards its government’s vaccination programme, following in the footsteps of the UK, the US and other European nations.

The country’s biggest festival, Pohoda (cap. 30,000), and numerous Slovakian organisations have come together under the banner ‘We wish Slovakia good health‘, to pledge assistance with the logistics, provision of human resources, coordination, communication, and promotion of the country’s vaccination programme.

“We have called on the government for help several times since March 2020, and now we are offering help,” the statement reads.

“We want to express our support for the vaccination plan in Slovakia and at the same time, we want to offer our experience and skills to ensure that vaccination takes place as quickly and smoothly as possible.

“We are well aware that some of the activities must be carried out by experts in the field of healthcare and epidemiology.

“With many years of experience with often logistically demanding events, we can help with the preparation and execution”

“However, thanks to our many years of experience with often logistically demanding events, we can help with the preparation and execution of the processes that vaccination requires, such as assistance with logistics, provision of human resources and coordination, communication, and promotion of vaccination.”

The statement is co-signed by over 50 organisations from across the cultural sector – including Klub Lúč, Grape Festival and Sunny Agency – with an open call for more signatories.

Last week, American promoters, venue operators and industry associations formally offered their venues, staff and expertise towards the United States’ national Covid-19 vaccination effort, while German ticketing and promotion giant CTS Eventim was commissioned by federal state Schleswig-Holstein to organise local Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

Live venues are already playing a key role in the immunisation process internationally, with concert halls, arena and stadia, and convention and conference centres offering their services as mass-vaccination sites.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

European festivals unite to create greener future

A collective of festivals and non-governmental organisations have launched Green Europe Experience (GEX), an initiative working to create a more eco-friendly future for music and arts festivals.

Portugal’s Boom Festival, Dour Festival in Belgium, Pohoda Festival in Slovakia and French event We Love Green have teamed up with sustainability groups A Greener Festival (AGF) in the UK and Germany’s Go Group in Germany as the co-initiators of GEX.

“In the middle of these demanding times, we feel an even stronger urge to use this special moment in history to take a deep breath and work towards healing our connection with this planet,” reads a statement from GEX initiators. “We understand that the big challenges ahead can only be addressed in a co-creation process.”

Using the two main focal points of scenography – festival decor, artwork, installations, design and signage – and food, GEX will work on developing ways to allow festivals to become fully circular through a process of implementation and review.

“We understand that the big challenges ahead can only be addressed in a co-creation process”

The project will take place over a period of three years, with the first year dedicated to minimising the ecological impact of scenography and the second focusing on food.

All findings will be shared with the teams of the festivals involved, local suppliers and stakeholders. A manual will be drawn up and distributed for the use of the wider festival and events industry.

“The GEX project brings together some of the most visionary organisations in this space to act as a catalyst to collectively accelerate the positive changes we need to make,” comments AGF co-founder and director Claire O’Neill.

“We look forward to exploring, learning and sharing ways for creative expression and precious social interaction that puts people and the planet at the forefront.”

GEX is co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Unsung Hero: Paula Poštolková, Pohoda

IQ: You never planned to be in this job – didn’t you study for a career in the movies?

PP: Yes, I went to the Slovak National Film Academy and did my final year at Aalto University in Helsinki. I graduated with a master of the arts in film producing.

So how did you end up in music?

During a student film festival, I organised parties with DJs and bands in local clubs. Then I got a call from my cousin’s boyfriend, who was looking for a stage-managing partner. I didn’t have a clue what the job was, but I said ‘yes’ and two weeks later I was working on the second stage at Pohoda. It was 2011 and I was 21.

Peter Hrabě, who gave me the chance, taught me all about riders, risers and stages, and I looked after Lamb and Imogen Heap, who had a huge set up the night before her performance, which meant I missed the Portishead show on the main stage.

Peter must be an excellent teacher, because you were instantly promoted, right?

My colleagues from the main stage moved to higher positions in the festival structure and [festival boss] Michal [Kaščák] told us the news – it was pretty stressful, to be honest.

“My first year there were lightning storms and we had to evacuate the audience”

What was the learning curve like that first year on the main stage?

It wasn’t easy because there were lightning storms and we had to evacuate the audience. But there were unforgettable moments: the storm meant we had to jump on stage to stop Aloe Blacc the very second he started singing ‘I need a Dollar’, Emilíana Torrini played table football for hours, until the storm passed, and I had the honour of meeting Lou Reed.

Wow! What other acts have impressed during your eight years in charge of the main stage?

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Björk, Róisín Murphy, PJ Harvey, Atoms for Peace, Charlotte Gainsbourg… And from a production point of view, the highlight was definitely the Chemical Brothers’ show last year.

Atoms for Peace was also a big challenge. They had a special green rider, focused on the ecological impact of their production. In 2013, we were just starting with eco-policies at Pohoda, but Atoms for Peace insisted nothing backstage could be made from plastic. They even brought their own kitchen and this lady was cooking for them and doing laundry in the dressing rooms.

What do you do for work before the rest of the year?

I’m head of programming at cultural venue Nová Cvernovka and I work for some other events and festivals as stage manager or production manager.

“When people spend a few minutes on site, they quickly learn Pohoda is one of the best-organised events”

Is there anything visiting acts or crews do that annoys you?

Most crews and artists I meet are very professional and we have a good collaboration. But sometimes I meet with prejudice and low expectations, because it’s ‘eastern Europe’ and I feel a lack of trust. However, when people spend a few minutes on site, they quickly learn Pohoda is one of the best-organised events, with a super friendly atmosphere.

Pohoda’s main stage operates around the clock. How do you cope with the workload?

It’s all down to teamwork, starting with people from HQ who prepare and advance everything properly, and ending with my crew on the main stage – stagehands, security staff, crowd assistance, sound techs, catering… we are like a family.

You also need to survive long working hours, because the main stage runs almost 24 hours a day due to the big overnight and morning set-ups for headliners, and because of Pohoda’s traditional ‘Welcoming of the Sun’ gig at 5am each morning. Luckily, we now work as a team of three stage managers instead of two, so at least one can get some sleep while the others take over.

How do you relax?

Since I started working in live music, I really haven’t had much time to relax, and when I do, I travel to other festivals around Europe.

But this year, I made a change to save myself from burn-out and went to Cuba, where I spent nearly three weeks without internet or phone reception. I’m already planning a repeat trip next year.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.