Festival Pohoda Reviving the Slovakian City

William Law - Mar 29, 2010
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Island of peace. Different Slovakia. Second Christmas. These are just few adjectives used by media to characterize the summer multicultural Festival Bažant Pohoda, which takes place at the city of Trenčín’s airport every year in July. In the valley of the river Váh enveloped by mountains and beautiful scenery of Trenčín’s castle, Pohoda, which means well-being or peace in Slovak, tries to live up to its name.

Famous Singers and Bands

During the thirteen years of its existence, visitors enjoyed concerts of dance masters likeFat Boy Slim, The Prodigy, Moloko, Basement Jaxx, legendary Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Cesaria Evora, hip hopers The Streets, Wu Tang Clan or Dizzee Rascal, but also rock legends like Pixies, Garbage, Hives, Razorlight and pearls of world music such as Värttinä, Bajofondo Tangoclub, Buraka Som Sistema or Omara Portuondo. From Czech-Slovak home scene there were Marta Kubišová, Jaroslav Nohavica, Jana Kirschner, Meky Žbirka or Richard Müller, who considers his concert at Pohoda 2009 to be the best experience of his more than twenty year long carrier. Each year the Festival Bažant Pohoda brings to its visitors gems of different music genres.

Classical Music and Painting Workshops

Although most of the summer festivals are only festivals of music, Pohoda offers its premises for all kinds of arts. Traditionally, the Saturday midday concert of classical music belongs to the highlight of the whole programme. To see thousands of young visitors to applaud the famous opera arias stormily, roaring to the tones of classics or dancing waltzes, is not only great experience for visitors themselves, but also for artists used to chamber atmosphere of opera halls. Each year there are performances of various theatre companies and nobody should miss readings of respected and also talented Slovak authors.

Directly in the area of the airport visitors can take part in painting and many other artistic workshops; very popular is the Dance House where professionals teach people many different dances. Part of the programme is also break dance battle or competition in free style slam poetry recitation.

Visitors Are the Festival’s Soul

When in 1997 a famous Slovak musician and a leader of the legendary alternative band Bez ladu a skladu – Michal Kaščák – organized the first year of the Pohoda Festival, he certainly did not know that he started to write the history of an event which is a cultural phenomenon not only in Slovakia. And not only because of the rich programme, but also because of many other attractions and great services. All this is greatly appreciated also by music lovers and professionals who usually try to avoid mass events. „People pump the life into our Festival. There wouldn’t be any sense in doing it without them,“ explained Kaščák his credo.

This is the reason why visitors have at their disposal lot of amenities which are not common at other festivals – for example: drinking water for free, flushing toilets, showers with hot water, places for keeping and preparing their own food, well supplied hypermarket, but also voluntary alcohol checks, which are appreciated mainly by drivers leaving the Festival. Also, the organizers don’t overlook the young audience either – at the last year’s Festival, there were two stages in children’s park used for theatre performances, performances of children folk ensembles or for fairy tales readings. Parents with kids can use a special protected camping site, necessary equipment for nappy changing or refreshments, young music adepts can try different musical instruments.

Part of the City’s Culture

The Festival became inseparable part of cultural life of Trenčín area. The city once called ‘The City of Fashion’ (because of a famous fashion fair), is now often called ‘The City of Pohoda’. The city mayor, Branislav Celler, knows that the organization of such a huge event is a great asset for his city. “Pohoda belongs to our city. Trenčín is and always wants to be the city of Pohoda,“ he stresses.

Trenčín offers Pohoda’s visitors excellent facilities. Besides the majestic Trenčín Castle, there are also many possibilities for leisure time and sightseeing. First and foremost though Trenčín is the place for true peace – for Pohoda.

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