Ghettofest: The Sounds and Colours of the “Brno Bronx”

Having been postponed due to the coronavirus, Ghettofest returns this weekend for its ninth year, capturing the vibrant atmosphere of Zábrdovice, the neighborhood to the east of the city centre known as the “Brno Bronx”. Photo: Courtesy of Ghettofest.

Ghettofest is finally happening. Despite the unusual circumstances of this year, this festival for everyone is going ahead, and will feature workshops for kids, exhibitions, theatre, lectures, and music gigs in different locations on and around Cejl in Brno-Zábrdovice.

Once again, if the weather allows, it is an occasion to discover the artistic dynamism of the neighborhood, between its Jewish and German-speaking past, its ethnically-diverse present as an important centre for the Roma community, and the fear of a future caught between gentrification and long-term building investment…

Ghettofest 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Ghettofest.

So what can you expect from the festival’s musical programme? Here is a short selection of the highlights from the main day of the festival, Saturday, June 27, from 2pm to 10pm…

Hvězdička stage (in Hvězdička Park)

DJ Rubenz will warm up the stage with an eclectic mix, before an afternoon of mainly hip-hop. The current Brno scene will be represented by Michajlov (BRNO REPREZENT) and Maniak (Biggboss label). 

Michajlov played at Ghettofest in 2018 and is probably one of the most interesting newcomers on the scene. Maniak will appear twice, once with his classic set and once for a special collaboration, an imaginative interview with a special guest from Radio wave. Both artists rap over standard samples and a live DJ. Expect lyrics taken direct from street life and plenty of audience interaction…

Ghettofest 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Ghettofest.

Tafrob, who appeared last year, will once again take the microphone in front of a crowd who will probably turn up at the festival knowing his lyrics by heart. As one of the most respected MCs in Brno, who has never sold his soul to any big music corporation, Tafrob has developed a melodic sensibility with pimped trap beats and no autotune. From the street to the street…

Prago union have released six albums, from the success of their initial album HDP to the most recent in 2019, mostly to great acclaim from the public and the Czech and Slovak hip-hop media. The crew of MCs and DJs also made their name through regular festivals appearances and elaborate stage-shows.

Ghettofest 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Ghettofest.

The real and the raw, with a switch to musical discovery of another kind, something to check out on stage to break the loop of hip-hop jams: Piroš Rouža, a kids’ dance company, will perform an intermission show between artists, presenting typical dances from the Roma culture, and mixing many of the multiple influences found around Brno and the Czech Republic.

Finally, the headliner of that day will be David Kraus & Gipsy Brothers, a musical encounter between the well-known actor and singer and the Roma musical ensemble. A modern approach to Roma music, with witty and cynical lyrics, under the banner of the artistic melting pot to deliver the performance of the day. 


The cult pub on Stará will host three concerts during the afternoon.

At 4pm, let yourself get drawn into the abyss of meditative beats and relaxing melodies from DJ Ana Miltz. It should be an interesting experience, and probably the calmest warm-up you could have before the other two bands completing the schedule; Hello Marcel and Pitcha will go harder with their respective sets mixing dance beats, electronics, and added instruments.

They will surely get the crowd dancing, even on the washing machines…

Ghettofest 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Ghettofest.

And there’s more!

Bratislavská 71, Kaznice and Drom Terasa

In these three venues, numerous bands will perform from a range of genres, including experimental music, typical Roma music, jazz, blues and fusion. The line-up is rich, and the treasures are too many to list here, so better to just go and taste it yourself…

You can find the whole program at the official Ghettofest website.

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