Participants explain appeal of Czechtek as police move against illegal festival

CzechTek, foto: ČTK

There was drama on Monday night, when the police began a large-scale operation to shut down Czechtek, a huge illegal techno music festival which this year has been taking place in the countryside at Bonenov, west Bohemia. Bottles and other missiles were thrown, as the police intervened for the first time in the history of the festival, which every year takes place at a location, which is kept secret till the very last moment. At its peak there were 15,000 people at Czechtek, which has been running since Friday. Just before the police moved in, I spoke to two participants, Scott from Canada and Martina, who is Czech. While local people in Bonenov may not have welcomed thousands of young people and loud techno around the clock, Scott explained the appeal of Czechtek.

Czechtek festival, photo: CTK
Scott: "It's the biggest and best techno experience in the Czech Republic each year."

How does the music actually get there?

Scott: "It's a very independent grass-roots thing, kind of tribal in nature. Individual sound systems come and perform their style of techno for free. It's a free festival."

Is it mainly Czech? Do people come from other places?

Scott: "There are Czech sound systems for sure, some good Czech sound systems. But there's foreign sound systems, British, French Austrian. It's a very popular festival so people come from all over Europe with their sound systems and we hope to see some friends every year and we hope that they make it with their sound system."

Police forces at Czechtek, photo: CTK
I know that the location is kept secret until pretty soon before it starts how do you find out the details of when and where it's going to be?

Martina: "They have a website and I was even searching on Seznam and there was a news article. They put an ad in with the following address. 'People, Czechtek is from this time to that time.' And then maybe three days before it starts there was a note that it's in that village, Bonenovice, close to blah blah blah from there to there. It was easy to find it if you were interested."

So do you think you'll go back in the future?

Scott: "Plan to go ever year."

Martina: "Until we die, we're going to be there!"