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Colours of Ostrava celebrates with ‘Non-Festival’

Colours of Ostrava, the biggest international music festival in the Czech Republic, marked its original 2020 dates with a series of small, sold-out ‘non-festivals’ of music and cirus.

Held at the Colours festival site at Lower Vítkovice, an ex-ironworks in the city of Ostrava, NeFestival (‘Non-Festival’) Colours of Ostrava was organised for mid-July, after Colours of Ostrava was forced to pull the 2020 edition of the festival as a result of the growing Covid-19 crisis. Events of up to 1,000 people were allowed in the Czech Republic from the end of May.

“We invite you to celebrate with us that we can once again be together, enjoy live music, theatre and discussions,” said festival director Zlata Holušová. “That we can once again drink beer, or whatever we like to, and that we can once more discuss important issues and everyday things face to face.”

With its NeFestival, Colours of Ostrava (45,000-cap.) becomes one of the only major European festivals to have held a physical event in this year, along with Lollapalooza Paris, Rock Werchter and several Mediterranean beach events.

The first 1,000-capacity NeFestival event took place on 15 July and featured a show by circus company Cirk La Putyka, whose 45 acrobats, performers, dancers and guest artists juggled, walked the tightrope and danced across the industrial steel landscape of Lower Vítkovice. The evening closed with a concert by Czech band Tata Bojs.

Czech authorities reduced the maximum capacity to 100 midway through the festival, forcing the cancellation of days 3–4

The 16 July show saw performances from more Czech bands, DJ sets and a screening of a pre-recorded ‘quarantine concert’ by Dubioza Kolektiv.

While NeFestival Colours of Ostrava was originally planned for 15–18 July – the original Colours of Ostrava dates – Czech authorities once again reduced the maximum capacity for events (to 100) midway through the festival, forcing the cancellation of days three and four. “Under such conditions, the Non-Festival had to be cancelled immediately, putting the organisers, as well as everyone in the supply chain and about 350 associated workers, in an extremely precarious situation,” organisers explain.

The events which did take place were livestreamed to digital audiences, while the atmosphere on site was enhanced by light columns placed where Colours of Ostrava’s stages should have been, and which were  visible from across the city.

Colours of Ostrava 2021 takes place 14–17 July 2020. Its line-up, rolled over from 2020, includes the Killers, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, the Lumineers, LP and Youssou N’Dour and many more. Tickets are priced at 125 for a four-day pass and available from www.colours.cz.


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Rock Werchter’s Covid-safe Summer Bar attracts 15,000

Over the past three weeks, the Rock Werchter team has welcomed over 15,000 guests to its Live2020 Summer Bar, an open-air entertainment space raising money for the Belgian live industry.

The Summer Bar was in place from 2 to 26 July at the Festivalpark in Werchter, Belgium, hosting 36 concerts, two comedy performances and one live TV show.

The Rock Werchter team is wrapping up its Summer Bar as the Belgian government announces it is lowering the maximum capacity limits at events – from 400 to 200 for open-air shows and 200 to 100 for indoor events – instead of doubling them, as was previously planned for August, due to a recent spike in infection rates.

Almost 40 local clubs and associations worked in collaboration with the Rock Werchter team, with approximately 1,300 volunteers overseeing operations at the Summer Bar site over the period.

The initiative also offered respite for performers and crews, production staff, audio, light and video technicians, agents, caterers and event security, with all proceeds from Rock Werchter merchandise sales and the Summer Bar also being donated to the Belgian live music sector’s solidarity fund, Live2020, which supports those who are struggling financially.

“Being able to enjoy live music again was an absolute delight in these strange times”

“We would like to thank everyone who was a part of the Rock Werchter Summer Bar (Zomerbar), these past couple of weeks,” reads a post by the Rock Werchter team. “Our amazing crew, hard-working volunteers, artists, staff and of course some 15,000 fans who attended one or more of the 36 live concerts and 2 comedy nights! Being able to enjoy live music again was an absolute delight in these strange times.”

Although the team states the Summer Bar was “most definitely a success”, they add that is is “not a viable model” for the future and was only possible through the help of sponsors and suppliers, support of the local authority and efforts of volunteers.

Live Nation-owned Rock Werchter, one among many major Belgium festivals to be called off due to a summer-long large event ban, is returning from 1 to 4 July 2021, with already confirmed acts including Pearl Jam, Gorillaz, Twenty One Pilots, the Lumineers, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, the Streets, Cigarettes After Sex and Miles Kane, and more names to be added soon.

Tickets for Rock Werchter 2021 are available here, priced at €243 for a four-day combi ticket and €110 for a day ticket.


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