The Festival trail is a pretty well trodden path these days, however thereâ€™s a whole wealth (and world) of celebrations of summer and music out there and searching them out is part of the magic. An event that has been building over the last 12 years in Slovakia and now making waves in the UK and across Europe â€“ The Pohoda festival takes place over 2 days every July. So, like any self respecting festival goer – off we go in search of some new festival highsâ€¦
Flying into Bratislava, the Slovakian capital then heading south for an hour by road, we cut through beautiful scenery including the biggest field of sun flowers known to man, before arriving arrive in Trencin, where Pohoda (pronounced PO-Hoda) is held. Trencin is in the central VÃ¡h River valley near the Czech border, it has a population of more than 56,000 and an impressive medieval castle, that holds court perched high up over-looking the festival site.
The line ups are awesome of course, but what made this different to the other great festivals world wide? Where are the â€œquirksâ€ going on that the locals said we â€œhave to check outâ€? Looking up and then to the side, there were little pockets of stuff going on everywhere, stuff we wanted to get involved in – 165 feet in the air there was a bar, with a giant board room table and swivel chairs, all sounds pretty average â€“ that is apart from the fact it was just that, just the bar, tables and chairs, its not actually a building and its suspended by a crane, rotating 360 degrees giving its brave sitters a birds eye view of the impressive site, historic castle and surrounding mountains. Strapped in roller coaster seat style sitting around a boardroom table suspended in the air, simply taking in the view and drinking a beer was surreal to say the least.
In honour to the Fat Boy Slim appearance, there was a â€˜Praise youâ€™ dance off, inspired by the genius Spike Jonze music video. The dance off consisted of a giant marquee and the â€˜Praise youâ€™ video repeating on giant screens, dance instructors went through the dance moves and everyone got involved following the instructions. Watching so many people do that dance is as hilarious as it is infectious, you could see people standing around the edges not sure if they wanted to get involved, but after a couple of minutes seeing how much fun people were having the temptation proved too much and everyone joined in (yes us included, so I hope there arenâ€™t any photos!)
Check out what Virtual festivals called “the most surreal moment in festival history” here.
Itâ€™s almost a festival ritual that you donâ€™t actually see that much music, you walk around trying to find lost friends or get stuck in a muddy traffic jam of people. But well thought out programming and a site that isnâ€™t as vast as a small county, gorgeous weather and absolutely no mud meant this wasnâ€™t a problem.
Beth Dittoâ€™s Gossip were their usual impressive selves, punk rock attire and even more punk rock attitude as Beth stormed her way through crowd pleasers â€˜Yr Mangled Heartâ€™ and â€˜Standing in the way of Controlâ€™. Bravely the band also did previewed 4 brand new songs from material they are currently working on, Beth commented â€œsome of them arenâ€™t even fully finished yet but we wanted to try out something freshâ€; half way through the set she stops to check on a member of the audience after noticing something out front, calling out to him â€œplease just let us know you are ok sirâ€ ahhh
Travelling internationally for a festival fix is surely the next step for the well versed festival goer, combining exploring new destinations with a great music event. At Pohoda you can see the type of acts youâ€™d hope to see in England, plus open your ears to something new. From the sunrise choir, to crowd surfing with the bands, taking part in a 5,000 strong dance off and much more Pohoda really provided some special moments.