Handling A Hot Pohoda

As more UK music fans and travel writers look at central eastern European music festivals as holiday destinations, it shouldn’t be long before Pohoda in Slovakia and Rock For People in Czech Republic come to their attention.

On opposite sides of what was Czechoslovakia, both have found good use for old Soviet military airfields and grown to the point that they’ll pull about 30,000 fans per day.

One of the surprises of this year’s Pohoda was a press conference in which Moby – one of the headliners – was asked to give a U.S. perspective on European festivals.

He said Americans can easily understand why young people like to hang out together, listen to music, drink beer and stay out late. But they struggle with the idea of rolling around in mud.

Pohoda festival director Michal Kascak didn’t have any problems with mud. The only rain was an artificial sort provided by the local fire brigade as daytime temperatures soared toward 35C (about 100F).

The firemen switched to a fine nozzle hose and sprayed the hot concrete of the runways and aprons while hundreds of fans followed their fire engines.

Kascak beefed up the bill for this year’s gathering and the 30,000-capacity festival sold out with nearly two weeks to spare.

The acts on the July 7-9 lineup also included Madness, Pulp, Deus, Portishead, Beirut, and Peter Bjorn and John.

Rock For People July 2 -5 began slowly because of rain but when the sun came out the crowd grew. It finished with an average of 28,500 per day, which was on a par with last year.

The acts brightening the Czech fest included My Chemical Romance, Pendulum, White Lies, Jimmy Eat World, Kate Nash and Sum 41.