Eclectic music festival Colours of Ostrava kicks off, The Cure among headliners

Colours of Ostrava 2018, photo: Libor Kukal

The international multi-genre music festival Colours of Ostrava gets underway on Wednesday on the outskirts of the industrial Moravian city. The annual event has expanded exponentially since it launched in 2002 and now boasts 24 stages, and a wide range of discussions under the Meltingpot banner, plus film screenings and workshops. Radio Prague asked festival spokesman Jiří Sedlák about how it has changed and what visitors can look forward to.

Colours of Ostrava 2018,  photo: Libor Kukal

Colours of Ostrava has been going 17 years now, and in 2012 moved to Dolní Vítkovice, a huge protected former mine and ironworks. What is the atmosphere like? It seems kind of otherworldly, or even post-apocalyptic.

“It’s a really fabulous and unique industrial area, which is now being turned into a cultural and leisure time centre. People coming to Colours of Ostrava – or the city in general – are amazed. It looks like something out of a Mad Max movie set. It’s a really amazing area.”

The Cure,  photo: archive of Colours of Ostrava
And how has the festival itself changed in recent years? I imagine there are more and more artists, more speakers in the Meltingpot sidebar…

“It could be quite a long answer! But it started as rather a world music festival with bands from Africa, Asia and so on. But since the third year, it started to have bands doing pop, rock, jazz and also electronic music.

“In the beginning we had one or two discussions, but five years ago the Meltingpot forum started, and now there are nine categories, with personalities not only from the cultural sphere, but health, science, education and so on.”

Could you highlight a few of the biggest acts that people are excited about – I know there are so many, it’s hard to choose…

“Of course! We have some premiere performance for the Czech Republic, for example ‘Florence + the Machine’ or Rosalía, a Spanish singer who combines hip hop and electro-pop with flamenco. Of course the biggest headliners are The Cure, on Saturday, and they will play a 2 hour, 15 minute set.

“And we have Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Mogwai and quite a lot of jazz acts, for instance Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles, and contemporary classics like the Kronos Quartet, electronic music such as Tokimonsta and Nicholas Cruz.”

So, something for everybody…

“Well, we don’t have metal or really hard rock – but all the other genres are present here at the festival!”

The Colours of Ostrava website features a downloadable ‘playlist’ covering the entire range of bands, as well as playlists broken down by genre – Pop, World/Jazz, Rock, Blues /Folk, and Czech and Slovak music – to help prospective festivalgoers choose which acts to go see.