Ostrava is one of the biggest cities of the Czech Republic and has one of the countries most important festivals – the Colours of Ostrava. With about 30.000 people a day and an amazing line-up with acts like SIGUR RÓS, ASAF AVIDAN, BONOBO, WOODKID, THE KNIFE, THE XX, INSPIRAL CARPETS, DAMIEN RICE, TOMAHAWK, JAMIE CULLUM, DEVENDRA BANHART and many more the festival literally is made to blow people away. Not to speak about the festival area, Dolni Vitkovice – a former coal and steel power plant. However, the festival visitors are to about 90% from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. So NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION checked out the festival at the special place to learn some things.
1. Colours: the festival with the most amazing festival area of all time
A lot of festivals take place on stunning grounds. May it be small ones as Haldern Pop or Immergut, or bigger ones as Flow, Melt or Splash. But the Colours definitely has the most impressive area. The former coal and steel power plant Dolni Vitkovice is a huge area that still is very industrial. Some people say that parts of the area still look too much like a ruin – which some of the parts really do – but on the other hand this gives the festival a very special charm. Also the area is still under (re-)construction, so that within the next years a lot of things will happen. If we want to find a negative point here, then we could mention that with a bit more light-design Dolni Vitkovice would look even more attractive and impressive. But as it is, it is the most stunning area we’ve seen in a long time.
2. Ostrava: a city that changes
Speaking about things that are changing: the city of Ostrava itself obviously changes a lot these days. When the plant was closed in the early 1990s a lot of people got unemployed. You can see a certain poverty in the streets. Houses look old and there is not much life on the streets. Even the “party street” feels pretty dead. It felt like the lights would go out quite early in the evening and the city turns to a ghost city then. But at the same time there are huge shopping mall and nice hidden places (which can’t be found that easily) that show that a lot of things are happening in Ostrava. Also people we talked to told so. We are really looking forward to returning to the city next year to see what happened. The plan of what Dolni Vitkovice will become within the next years is an impressive one and definitely shows the high potential of Ostrava.
3. Czech people seem to like extremely heavy food
No doubt, when being at a festival you have to eat something. Colours definitely offers a huge variety of different food. Cheese, meat, sausage, pigling and lot more. But almost no light food which is pretty hard when temperatures are above 30 degrees. Not to speak of salad or vegan food (besides fries) which was simply not available. Maybe Czech people love heavy food, we would have wished for some lighter food at some points.
4. Colours: the festival of fair prices
No matter if the festival tickets, food or drinks, everything is extremely fair-priced. A beer for 35 Czech Crown (appr. 1,35€), food for about 2-3€ – simply amazing. On the one hand because it’s really cheap (at least fo the standards we are used to from our perspective), on the other hand we were amazed that the prices at the festival have been almost exactly the same as if buying a beer at a bar or food at a usual fast-food-restaurant. Often the food and beverage prices at festival are way higher than outside the festival area, but not at Colours! Definitely the festival of fair price policy!
5. Colours: festival of calmness & timelessness
With about 30.000 visitors per day, you might expect a certain chaos at a festival. Drunk people, loud people and maybe even people who bring an unfamiliar feeling to the festival. Not at Colours! We experienced an extremely calm atmosphere with 100% relaxed people of all ages, we saw no shit-faced festival visitors and no people who were freaking out. Colours means peace in all of its forms and felt amazingly beautiful at every time.
There even was a complete timelessness going on which could especially felt when waiting for the tram at night. Even when the tram-plan told that the next tram would arrive in ten minutes, but people had to wait way longer, obviously no one felt peeved, stressed or troubled. Completely packed trams with a peaceful atmosphere. A very nice experience.
6. Colours: the festival of high quality & perfect organization
Maybe the calmness and timelessness came up because of the high quality and perfect organization of the festival. No matter when and where, literally everything was perfect. A stunning performance by the Colours team at every point. If we really want to find something that could be “improved” (if this is the right word to say), then it would be that some things (for example food menus) could also be provided in English to make it easier for visitors from other countries.
7. Colours: the festival that brings people together
If young, old, disabled, hippie, hipster… Colours brings together all the people. Of course – due to the industrial grounds – people in wheelchairs don’t ever have it easy, but we’ve been told that this improved a lot since last year. So we expect another improvement at this point until the next year. All in all we were stunned about how people were brought together, got together and last but not least had a great time together. An atmosphere that is of pure beauty and will remain in the back of our heads until 2014.
8. Colours: the festival of pure beauty
Pure beauty not only in terms of the atmosphere among the visitors, but also visually. Of course a bigger light concept would have been even more impressive at night-time, but at day time the festival area was simply overwhelming. Eleven stages, tons of small places, old industry and fabrication grounds converted to bars and chill-out areas. If the music isn’t an argument to visit Colours then Dolni Vitkovice definitely is one for itself.
9. Colours: the festival of amazing music
With eleven stages and 30.000 visitors the Colours of Ostrava is a huge festival. With SIGUR RÓS, ASAF AVIDAN, BONOBO, WOODKID, THE KNIFE, THE XX, INSPIRAL CARPETS, DAMIEN RICE, TOMAHAWK, JAMIE CULLUM, DEVENDRA BANHART huge artists were announced. Besides checking out a lot of worldmusic, raggae, alternative rock acts, NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION of course checked out these big players and wants to let you know about them.
SIGUR RÓS were headlining the first festival day and kicked off Colours with pure beauty and perfection. It’s hard to put the experience of seeing this band live in words, but there were people with tears in their eyes because they have been so overwhelmed by emotions. Does it need any more words?
A fun fact: SIGUR RÓS are quite well-known as a band with very high expectations towards event organization, but the Colours team got the “SIGUR RÓS Medal of Honor” for perfect organization. Don’t need to say that the team is very proud of this medal, right?
The concert of Colours! ASAF AVIDAN proved to be not only an amazing musician with an exceptional voice, but also he proved to be one of the nicest guys ever to be seen on a stage. Of course he also played his number one hit song One Day / Reckoning Song, luckily in its original version and not in the WANKELMUT remix as some people expected.
BONOBO surprised people with a set that was less electronic but more trip-hop and won the people’s heart with this. Although he and his band played at the stage which usually had the best sound, the sound at the concert wasn’t perfect. Besides that the concert was a beautiful one and made the crowd wanting to see them again soon.
The disappointment of Colours! No concerns musically, just the behavior of Yoann Lemoine (WOODKID) didn’t feel very likable. Someone said “oh a hipster plays Wagner” and somehow this was what it felt like. Musically he performed his album The Golden Age and did what people expected: perfection. But on stage Lemoine was pretty busy with acting like the biggest rock star of all time. In terms of authenticity: the entire show didn’t feel authentic at all, it felt way more like a perfectly learned performance that does not come out of himself, but out of the motivation to be a superstar. Let’s hope that he will not be flying that high for too long, but will act more out of his heart than out of lust for fame.
INSPIRAL CARPETS from Manchester are one of the band from the post-punk and pre-brit-pop era. In the early 1990 OASIS frontman Noel Gallagher has been the bands roadie. Although he somehow managed to get more successful that INSPIRAL CARPETS, the band showed that after more than twenty years they still keep pave with the times. Their new album is scheduled for late 2013 and the first songs that could be heard at Colours made us looking forward to the release of the new album!
Imagine you stand alone in front of about 30.000 people. Just you and your guitar. Tons of singer-songwriters dream about this, but only very few get to this point. DAMIEN RICE got there and proved to be one of the best of his genre. With a lot emotion he won the hearts of the crowd. At one point he randomly took a girl from the crowd, took her on stage, sat down at a table, drank red wine while he was telling her that he is in love with her, although she is already taken. During the whole song the girl’s boyfriend was shown on the screen. A wonderful heartbreaking performance.
“Artistic and a bit arty” might describe THE KNIFE‘s performance best. Definitely worth a watch, although the entire show feels a bit dazing now and then. WIth a lot of dancers on stage who somehow had a choreography (and somehow not), THE KNIFE impressed and left a certain confusion. Seems to be exactly what they want and what they did.
When you will start planning your festival summer 2014, you should definitely have Colours of Ostrava on your list!