Blues in the Wood festival invites blues fans to Revnice

A festival of blues music will be held on the last weekend of May in Revnice near Prague. The festival is being held for the third time this year, and it's becoming more and more popular, especially among those who do not like to go to concerts in large venues. Alena Skodova has more:

The blues festival in Revnice - which, by the way, is the birthplace of the great tennis player Martina Navratilova - is called 'Blues in the Wood'. Visitors have to follow a path through the woods to reach the venue, where the main stage is a beautiful open air theatre in a clearing in the woods. There are two more stages, and people can choose from among three concerts taking place at the same time. The organizers from the Joe's Garage agency say the idea behind the 'Blues in the Wood' festival was to provide an alternative to events where attracting a large audience is considered more important than the quality of the programme.

There will be some 50 bands playing in Revnice. Jakub Juda from Joe's Garage listed some of them:

"The main starts will be - from the Czech ones - Vladimir Misik , the Big Heads which is the band of a famous Czech guitar player Michal Pavlicek, -123 minutes, one of the most famous funky bands in the Czech Republic nowadays, which will prepare a special blues programme for our festival. The No.1 star Mr. Smoking Joe Kubek, an American blues guitarist played with such people like B.B.King, Albert King, Freddie King, for our festival he is bringing Mr. Noah King, who is an Afro-American jazz guitarist. Then Chuck Prophet and the Bible Dusters, also from the U.S., who are playing rock mixed with folk and Bob Dylan's reminiscence, but mainly rock. Then each day there will be a jam-session - it will take place from 11 till nobody knows, and this will feature three funky bands on Friday alone."

Jakub told me that for them blues is above all a way of thinking, that's why blues music will be mixed with other genres, mostly rock, but Sunday, for instance will mostly feature folk, including a famous traditional Moravian folk band called Hradistan.

Jakub's colleague David Gayduska told me that it had taken three months to put together the festival. But who is the festival's audience? Given the current popularity of dance music is there still an audience for blues music?

"It's much more harder than to bring them to a house party, because mainstream house parties go when there are lots of people together, and people go to one place because they like being together with lots of people. This festival and also the club music- the blues and jazz scene - is the best when you are in a small club with 50 other people and not like in the Paegas Arena with 5,000 viewers. It's more difficult to think about how to pay all the musicians their money because they live on it, and how to bring so many people so that the festival is still comfortable."

The organizers expect around 4 to 5 thousand people to come to the Blues festival in Revnice, which takes place on the weekend of May 31st.