Rock For Even More People

Many festivals in the old Eastern Bloc are saying their crowd numbers have gone up in 2009, and Rock For People (Czech Republic) has just joined Poland’s Heineken Open’Er in reporting a record year.

The three-day crowd at the old Soviet military airfield at Hradec Králové totaled 76,000, marginally up on the crowds that have been coming to the festival since it move from Chesky Brod in 2007.

The lowest daily crowd of the July 4-6 weekend was the 24,000 who came on the opening night. The second and third nights pulled 25,000 and 27,000 respectively, with the latter – which had Underworld and Placebo heading the bill – breaking the Czech festival’s record for biggest daily crowd.

The following weekend, Serbia’s Exit Festival sold close to 50,000 people per day. Croatia’s T-Mobile INmusic Festival (June 24-25), now in its fourth year, also broke its attendance record by scraping past the 20,000-per day mark.

Hungary’s Sziget Festival, which has a 75,000 capacity per day and is the old Iron Curtain region’s biggest and longest-standing outdoor, is three weeks away (Aug. 12-16).

The 25,000-capacity Balaton Sound (July 9-12), Hungary’s second-biggest festival and also run by Sziget Cultural Management, sold out three of its four days.

Rock For People festival organiser Stepan Suchochleb said the other triumph for this year’s event was the new trash collecting and recycling system, which involved placing 30 large rubbish stations around the site.

Each one had separate bin for plastic, aluminum and paper and they were regularly emptied by an electric vehicle. It takes the sorted garbage to the main recycling station, where it’s put in three larger skips collected by the local authority. The entire system was run by 16 people in two shifts.

The acts playing while Rock For People made a clean sweep of the record books and the runways on the unused airfield at Hradec Králové included Arctic Monkeys, Placebo, Gogol Bordello, The Kooks, Underworld and Bloc Party.