Thousands throng Ostrava post-industrial site for 2018 Colours

NERD, photo: ČTK/Ožana Jaroslav

This year’s edition of the Colours of Ostrava music festival is now underway. The four-day extravaganza is bringing pop stars as well as noteworthy names from countless other genres to a spectacular post-industrial venue in the capital of the Moravian-Silesian Region.

NERD, photo: ČTK/Ožana Jaroslav
Pharell Williams and his band NERD performed to many thousands as headliners on Wednesday, the opening day of the 2018 Colours of Ostrava.

Other notable names on the event’s broad lineup this year include George Ezra, Calexico, Jon Hopkins and Jessie J.

Founder Zlata Holušová explains the thinking behind Colours.

“This festival is for those who like to make discoveries, who like to experiment, whose taste isn’t closed, who enjoy being surprised, who get excited about new things. The lineup is completely international.

"This year there are 80 foreign bands and 60 foreign speakers in our Melting Pot discussion forum. It’s really a multicultural event – there are people here from around the world.”

Some festivalgoers among Colours’ enormous throng shared their impressions of the event.

Colours of Ostrava 2018, photo: ČTK/Ožana Jaroslav
Woman: “I totally adore it – the combination of the industrial location and the people, who are smiling even if it rains. It’s totally great. And by the way the gastronomy is great. There are so many wonderful trends here.”

Other woman: “Obviously it’s bigger than other festivals. Also the choice is bigger. And I really love the environment here. It’s a very unique place to be.”

Though there is much to enjoy about the bill, what really sets Colours apart is the venue.

After a decade in the centre of Ostrava, the festival moved in 2012 to a stunning post-industrial complex in the Vítkovice district.

Towering over the thousands who flood the festival are rusting disused mine structures and blast furnace facilities at what was once a major ironworks.

Zlata Holušová recalls the move to Vítkovice, which made Colours what it is today.

Former Vítkovice steelworks, photo: Agnés Joyaut
“There were challenges mainly in the beginning, because this space was being created. The main challenge was to fill the space, to make use of the new opportunities that came along and to always be prepared for what came next.

"Our international guests find the venue really exciting. Of course many festivals take place at airfields or other places where they can’t make use of the natural infrastructure. So they’re totally enthusiastic about this place.”

The 17th edition of the Colours of Ostrava festival is set to reach a climax on Saturday, when Grace Jones, Seasick Steve and Ziggy Marley will be among the performers.