PonavaFest: A Different Kind of Festival For Different Times

In its 5th year, Brno city center’s largest open-air festival is responding to the unpredictable circumstances of the pandemic by reimagining itself as a series of smaller concerts. Photo: Courtesy of PonavaFest.

Brno, Jul 3 (BD) – The coronavirus crisis has disrupted most cultural events this year, with many being cancelled altogether. However, PonavaFest, Brno city center’s largest open-air festival, which enters its 5th year this year, has found a way to adapt itself for the new normal, with a series of concerts throughout the summer, using just one of the originally-planned five stages. As usual, the concerts will have no fences and no entrance fee.

The multi-genre festival builds on the success of last year, when it attracted almost 4,000 visitors, offering performances from a variety of genres, including jazz, alternative, avant-garde, funk, free-jazz, punk-jazz and contemporary music.

The first event, titled “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, took place in the last weekend of May, in spite of the unpleasant weather, with a night of experimental performances broadcast “silently” to audience members via headphones. You can watch a recording of Tomáš Vtípil’s unique site-specific field-recording project “Tomorrow” here.

PonavaFest 2019. Photo: Courtesy of PonavaFest.

The next concert, to take place on Friday, July 3rd, at 7pm, will feature the band Vertigo performing together with Futur Swing. This musical fusion will please jazz enthusiasts, but also fans of playful improvisation and instrumentation. Vertigo have twice won the Golden Angel Award in the Jazz & Blues category. The following day, July 4th, Czech music legend Iva Bittová will take to the stage. Her main instruments are violin and voice, but her musical range covers her own interpretations of folk songs, through to experimental jazz, rock, and opera singing. On Saturday evening she will perform with musician Vladimír Václavek and her son, composer and pianist Antonín Fajt.

Other highlights of the program include the Berlin free-jazz-punk-underground group Z-Country Paradise, the Hungarian Borbéla Mihály Polygon Trio, the Norwegian-Czech quartet NOCZ with a choir, the quartet of the Spanish rising star Mar Vilasecy, Miroslav Tóth, the Odyssey of Marian Friedl, the Janoušek-Wróblewski Quartet and the Hannover-Brno Trio.

For further updates on the PonavaFest programme, see the event website. Throughout the festival, the recommended safety and hygiene measures corresponding to the current epidemiological situation will apply.

The festival is going ahead with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Brno, under the auspices of the Deputy Mayor of Brno Tomáš Koláčný (Piráti).

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