Rock Solid Growth

The Czech Republic’s Rock For People festival continued its steady growth by breaking both of its crowd records and appears it could be the next old Eastern Bloc fest to attract the interest of western European visitors.

About 85 percent of the people attending the 16-year-old event on a military airport at Hradec Králové are from the Czech Republic.

Most of the rest are from Slovakia, Poland, Austria, and Germany, but festival chief Stepan Suchochleb believes it may soon follow Hungary’s Sziget Festival, Serbia’s Exit Festival and Poland’s Heineken Open’er in coming to the attention of UK festivalgoers.

“We’ve focused on growing the event here and not marketed abroad so much,” Suchochleb explained. “We do have English people at the festival, although they haven’t visited from England. If I hear an English voice it’s more likely to be someone living over here and working as a school teacher in Prague.”

This year Rock For People broke its three-day attendance record of 76,000, which it set last year, by attracting 81,500. On the second night headlined by Muse it pulled 28,500, breaking the 27,500 record that co-headliners Placebo and Underworld also set in 2009.

There’s plenty of room to expand the event as the old airport, which housed Soviet MIG jets, is vast.

Another record to get trashed concerned the festival’s recycling. All of the waste was sorted by 150 volunteers working in the site’s new recycling plant, who picked their way through 37 tons of garbage.

“It meant we produced a lot of recyclable plastic which would have otherwise been thrown away,” Suchochleb explained.

The other acts helping Rock For People clean up in Hradec Králové July 3-6 included The Prodigy, NOFX, Billy Talent, Morcheeba, Coheed And Cambria, Skunk Anansie, Tricky, and Dreadzone.