Iggy Pop one of top acts to play new Prague festival

Iggy Pop, photo: Eddy BERTHIER, CC BY 2.0

In June, Prague will see the arrival of a new music festival called Metronome. The announcement this week made many headlines not least because organisers have confirmed a number of excellent acts including legendary American performer Iggy Pop.

“If you’re visiting Prague in the last week of June you’ll probably see a bit of history, some monuments, Charles Bridge, and you’ll have a chance to see a lot of musical acts.”

I spoke to co-founder David Gaydecka about Metronome and also another well-known project now entering its 13th edition, United Islands.

“If you’re visiting Prague the last week of June you’ll probably see a bit of history, some monuments, Charles Bridge and so on. And next to Charles Bridge there are islands where the 13th edition of United Islands will be underway. Over two days, music fans can see up-and-coming acts, bands that have maybe released their debut album, new talent and this runs in the afternoon to late afternoon and early evening.

“After that, music fans can head for Metronome, our new festival which is 12 minutes away by tram and is being held at part of Stromovka Park and the Výstaviště fairgrounds. There, you have to buy a ticket which I think is still fairly inexpensive and you can see a lot of famous and established bands and musicians. This includes acts with a long history, so that too is something special for music fans. We will have some big names, like Iggy Pop, Fauls, Cooks and many others.”

You outlined some of the differences there: basically, to sum it up, you are creating an even bigger ‘musical weekend’ at the end of June there…

“Yes. When we were thinking about when to hold the Metronome festival we considered other options but finally settled on this: we’d rather have a big weekend packed with music rather than have the festivals at different weekends.”

Were there any difficulties in obtaining the space at Stromovka or in reaching a deal with the city?

“Well, this is something which we worked on for a year-and-a-half, so of course we had to present a solid idea to the city and the people responsible for the area, outlining how it would be organized, how security would be met, how all details would come together. But the agreement, I think, is a good one, looking five years ahead. So Metronome is something we want to keep going.”

Iggy Pop,  photo: Eddy BERTHIER,  CC BY 2.0
The confirmation of Iggy Pop coming made a lot of headlines, he is one of the biggest acts coming so I’d like to talk about him and some of the other acts as well… Iggy Pop has a lot of fans here in the Czech Republic… how difficult was it to get the artist to sign on?

“When you are starting a new festival it is never easy to get a lot of the big bands or performers you’d like, simply because the festival is new and nobody knows about it yet, it is in its first edition. You’re dealing with agents or management in London or in the US or elsewhere and you need to convince them that your festival is a good option. Glastonbury is taking place at the same time, so it is natural some will rather go for that, it’s a sure thing, it’s sold out. But we reach a deal, there are also financial considerations.”

Josh Homme,  photo: Rama,  CC BY-SA 2.0 FR
Of course. In a sense, do you think the artists has a positive relationship with Prague, he has obviously performed here before, there was a very well received concert back in 2008…

“I suppose. I hope that Iggy Pop won’t be too angry with me if I mention that he is thinking about coming to Prague and staying a little longer. So I think he must like it here.”

Iggy Pop has a new album coming out this month, Post Pop Depression, which was a collaboration with Josh Homme… I read somewhere that Metronome will be the kind of even where audiences may see not just greatest hits but longer sets from specific albums… do you think that will be the case with Iggy Pop as well?

“Yes. Iggy of course played with the Stooges but what I think we will see will be material off the new album as well as solo material, stuff from the Berlin period and so on.”

“One thing which should be very interesting will be a performance featuring the Czech-born Ivan Král and Theatre Semafor legend Jiří Suchý.”

Who are some of the other international acts and who are some of the Czech performers?

“One very interesting Czech-born performer who is coming from Detroit is Ivan Král, who was part of the Patti Smith group and also performed with Iggy and other well-known acts. He will be performing original material and interestingly, for the first time, he will perform with the legendary Jiří Suchý of Semafor Theatre fame. Many of his songs are national treasures which many Czechs know. So that promises to be something special, this meeting between this rocker and this older Czech singer.

Mydy Rabycad,  photo: Archives of Mydy Rabycad
“Regarding the Czech scene, I think that we are slowly coming out of the impact of 40 years or so of communism which caused a lot of damage, and we are seeing more and more Czech groups who are also attracting international attention. It’s changing quickly and these are some of the groups we are looking forward to having. So we are going to have Mydy Rabycad who are also playing Glastonbury and perform a kind of electro-swing. And we have Ghost of You, a band maybe few people know about yet, kind of alternative indy music. From the international scene, we have Crystal Fighters and Walk of the Earth. They will also be at Metronome.”

David Gaydečka,  photo: Czech TV
I read that there will be four stages at Metronome and a total of some 30 bands or performers; is two days actually enough? It seems like a lot in just two days.

“The programme will be built so that some stages will be running when others are not, so that much of the time you can see almost all of the acts, and there won’t be as much overlapping. Thirty performances is not that much from our perspective. By comparison United Islands will have 150. But we wanted to keep it focused on quality acts and that is why we opted for four stages and ‘just 30’.”

Tickets, are they already on sale?

"Yes, since the announcement this week."