Live Nation Still High On Prague

Serge Grimaux and Robert Porkert’s latest effort to put a Czech open-air on the European touring circuit suffered from headline acts canceling and some dull Prague weather, but they were encouraged that it still pulled about 10,000 per day.

It was their second attempt launching Love Planet, which began last year at Tabor airfield about 80 kilometers south of Prague. But their plans to launch a Czech fest have been simmering for nearly five years.

In 2002, they formed a company with Jaroslav Stanko and Milena Paleckova from 10:15 Agency to resurrect the old Jam Festival, which sat dormant for three years, but pulled out when it became obvious they couldn’t attract sufficient sponsorship to finance a decent bill.

Paleckova ran Jam from ’96 and had headliners including Iggy Pop, Ministry, Sinead O’Connor, Bjork, Alanis Morissette, and Bryan Adams, but had to let it go after ’99 because it came to the end of a three-year sponsorship agreement with mobile phone company Eurotel and couldn’t find a replacement.

However, with much determination, the Live Nation-Interkoncerts chiefs continue with high hopes that Love Planet will prove the answer.

They look to be more than pie-in-the-sky hopes, as Live Nation chief Michael Rapino seems fully behind the creation of a Prague outdoor.

“Festivals take time. We are committed and we will make it work,” Rapino told Pollstar.

Maybe continuing to build Love Planet makes more sense for the company than buying into the city’s United Islands Festival.

United Islands Festival entertainment booker David Gaydeèka told daily Hospodarske Noviny that it’s in desperate need of either industry capital or sponsorship to survive.

He said he’d be happy to receive some financial input from the U.S. company, but acknowledged there’s little chance of that happening.

After moving Love Planet about 80 kilometers from Tabor to Prague and having Audioslave and HIM pull out, Grimaux and Porkert realised this year’s event wouldn’t make the progress they hoped for.

Both acts had legitimate reasons for canceling – recording commitments – and although the bad news came long before the 11th hour and Interkoncerts has no complaint, it came a little too late in the day to find replacements that would pull as well.

Porkert said he’s even more encouraged the event still has Rapino’s determination and confidence behind it and hopes for a trouble-free build-up to next year’s bash.

Among the acts keeping Love Planet in orbit this year August 11-12 were Franz Ferdinand, Pet Shop Boys, Ministry, and Art Brut.

– John Gammon