Bands not only attraction at Czech Republic's biggest rock festival


An incredible 130 Czech and foreign bands who will be performing this weekend at Rock for People, the Czech Republic's biggest rock music festival. Rock for People takes place from Thursday to Saturday in its usual venue, Cesky Brod, around 30 kilometres east of Prague. On Tuesday morning, Ian Willoughby spoke to one of the organisers of the festival, Stepan Suchochleb, at a Prague cafe, and began by asking him how the festival had first begun.

"It started seven years ago as a really small local event. It was a one day event and it was meant to be for the local bands from Cesky Brod and the neighbouring area. Then the first year we thought there would be 400, 500 people and it was like 13 or 14 hundred people so we said 'oh, wow, we're going to do it next year'. And then eventually we started to think about ways how to expand it and how to bring other Czech bands and then foreign bands, and it just developed into what it is now. We try to bring not only the bands, but also lots of different attractions, because if you have 130 bands and you're supposed to see them in three days - no person can possibly absorb this amount of music. So we try to give people the opportunity to do other things as well."

What kind of things are you talking about?

"The same as any other big festival. We have outlets with CDs and books and you can get tattoos there and you can have various cuisines. In the Czech Republic it's usually just sausages and beer, but we try to bring different people that sell there oriental food - and it's really good in terms of food. And then we have what we call - this year it's the first time - it's called a leisure park. We organise different activities for people, they can play football, they can play volleyball and they can do bungee-jumping, lots of things. When you get bored by the music you go to the leisure park, which is part of the site, and you can enjoy yourself."

How does your festival compare to, say, other festivals around Europe, like Glastonbury in England or Roskilde in Denmark?

"We're certainly smaller than any other festival that you just named. We just try...last year Michal and Petr, the two other guys that organise the festival, they went to Germany and also to Holland to see how festivals are done in the west. That's how we started to think not only about the music but also about different parts of how to enjoy your day at the festival. Which is probably one thing that can be compared in terms of Cesky Brod and Glastonbury, or Roskilde. And I think that actually differentiates this festival from most of the other events organised in the Czech Republic."

Well, good luck and I hope you have nice weather this weekend.

"It's going to be good! Thanks."