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Festivals and Cultural Diplomacy

Colours of Ostrava 2013

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By Vladislav Strnad, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

‘Colours of Ostrava is a multi-genre music festival held annually in the city of Ostrava. As of last year, the event is being held in the beautiful surroundings of Dolní Vítkovice – the site of former blast furnaces, mines and ironworks. The first festival took place in 2002.
The festival has brought a number of notable headliners to Ostrava over the years including Grinderman, Robert Plant, ZAZ, Alanis Morissette, Cranberries, Sinéad O´Connor, Bobby McFerrin, Mariza, Salif Keita, Jamie Cullum, Janelle Monáe, The Flaming Lips, Antony and the Johnsons, Jan Garbarek, Gipsy Kings, Kronos Quartet, Michael Nyman as well as Animal Collective; top names in jazz, world music, rock, pop as well as the alternative scene. The festival also offers a diverse accompanying programme including theatre, workshops, discussions, films etc.’(1)

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Colours of Ostrava is an international multi-genre music festival held annually in Ostrava. It is one of the biggest summer festivals in the Czech Republic. Colours of Ostrava, during a twelve-year run in Europe, has built a reputation as a major festival in modern design with wide range of music. Over the years the festival has adapted its lineups to include new undiscovered talent in an effort to ‘move with the times’, much like the Roskilde festival. This provides a platform for upcoming artists showcased at the festival to perform in front of audiences that are interested in their respective styles.

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The biggest stars included: Sigur Rís, Jamie Cullum, The xx, The Knife, Tomahawk with Mike Patton, Damien Rice, and Asaf Avidan. Furthermore, a great impression was made by singers, Sara Tavares, Savina Yannatou, and Amparo Sanchez. Also, Transglobal Underground feat Albanian brass band Fanfara Tirana, Mama Rosin, Berlin band 17 Hippies, and more. For the first time in Czech Republic several African artists were present at the festival: Mali’s singer Roki Traoré, reggae star Tiken Jah Fakoly from Côte d’Ivoire, Acoustic Africa from Ivory Coast and Cameroon, Moroccan singer and lute player guimbri Aziz Sahmaoui, Tunisian lute player Dhafer Youssef, and more. The Czech artists included Tata Boys, Zrní, Radúza, Markéta Irglová, Vojta Dyk, Umakart, Psí Vojáci, Aneta Langerová, The Prostitues, Wanastowi Vjecy, Luno, Pražský výběr, and Xindl X.

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Perhaps no other festival in the world can offer a more unique musical and social environment. As of last year, the festival now takes place in Dolní Vítkovice, an abandoned industrial area; surrounded by old, but renovated, mines and smelters. The area, founded in 1830, is now declared as a national cultural monument. In 2008, Dolní Vítkovice was amongst one of four Czech sites of interest that made its way on to a list of places that are regarded as important in European cultural heritage. Festival goers and Czech natives now hope that Dolní Vítkovice can make its way on to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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The 12th festival took place from 18th – 21st of August, 2013. It was visited by more than 33,000 spectators. Musical performances and complimentary events in the streets of Ostrava were attended by more than 60,000 people. The festival itinerary was made up of 106 bands, coming from an impressive 29 countries; 46 of the artists were from Czech Republic. Besides music, the festival offered a chance for people to taste other types of performances at the theater, as well as different venues for films, discussions, workshops, and DJs. Adding to the already comprehensive list of music offered at the festival, new genres at the Drive stage were added that offered alternative country, folk, blues and rockabilly performances for festival goers to enjoy. Seventeen domestic and international bands participated there. To accommodate all attendants, parents could take their children on rollercoaster rides and/or leave them in a supervised play area whilst they enjoyed the full experience of the festival. External companies also took part; the famous gallery owner, Zdenek Sklenar as well as various other artists, displayed contemporary Czech art.

UNICEF was also present at the festival, offering different merchandise and interesting workshops for children and adults. Proceeds that came from UNICEF’s activites went towards funding various vaccination programs, which annually save the lives of more than 3,000,000 children.


(1)http://www.colours.cz/en/ Colours of Ostrava 2013
(4)http://www.colours.cz/ Colours of Ostrava 2013
(5)http://www.unicef.cz/aktualne/55452-unicef-na-colours-of-ostravabr-18—21-cervence-2013 UNICEF na COLOURS OF OSTRAVA

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy


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We are the Blogsphere Team of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. We are the interactive part of the web resources of ICD. We spread culture and mutual understanding among cultures through blogs.


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