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Czech Ghettofest attracts almost 3 000 this year

Brno, 9.6.2014 19:34, (ROMEA)
Last year's Ghettofest took place on 6 - 8 June in the quarter of Brno nicknamed the
Last year's Ghettofest took place on 6 - 8 June in the quarter of Brno nicknamed the "Bronx", where many socially vulnerable people live. Originally a one-day music festival, it has become a weekend event with dozens of features on the program, including dance performances, discussions, film screenings, public gatherings and theater. This year the festival will take place on 5 -6 June. (PHOTO: Facebook page of Ghettofest)

The streets of Brno's "Bronx" were alive with the arts, culture and entertainment brought there by Ghettofest during the weekend of 6 - 8 June. The number of visitors exceeded previous years, approaching 3 000 people over the course of all three days.  

Organizer Alica Heráková said more people who do not reside in the locality visited the so-called socially excluded part of town, which was one aim of the event. Friday had more of a community character, which was also the aim of the program as a whole. 

The greatest success was enjoyed by a performance of a choir of non-Romani and Romani women from the Association of Parents for Fair Schools, which performed in front of such a large audience for the first time ever. As expected, the most visitors came on Saturday, the main day of the festival with offerings between 13:00 and 22:00.

Very hot weather also afflicted those attending Ghettofest on Saturday. People sought the shade of various buildings and trees.

The organizers brought in a large amount of furniture to create a more convenient environment. An improvised café came into being near the Museum of Romani Culture in Bratislavská Street.  

"We were very glad we succeeded in bringing thousands of people to the 'Bronx', especially those who don't ordinarily come here and are the so-called outsiders," festival spokesperson Heráková said. "Local people are our regular visitors, they make the festival what it is, but our aim was to create a meeting space for many people from various groups, and that also succeeded. A large part of the visitors were attending Ghettofest for the first time this year." 

"We also appreciate that people are returning to Ghettofest, both the artists from previous years and the visitors," Heráková said. Author Kateřina Tučková and Petr Váša of the band Ty Syčáci were among those attending.  

Once again, the top-level European street dance group High Edition shone among the performers. Prague rappers Cincinaty and MC Gey, the punk singer Mucha, and the band  100° C were also successful.   

"We received very positive feedback about the screening of a silent film, the cult horror film 'The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari', with musical accompaniment by DJ Tom Holič and a spontaneous contribution by the singer Erika Stárková, who also performed at Ghettofest. They performed a brilliant improvisation together, it was a truly profound artistic experience," Heráková said.  

The Sunday program was in the spirit of discussion and sports, with the entire festival ending with a common prayer for better coexistence led by Romani priest Vojtěch Vágai. This was Ghettofest's third year.

"The weekend format has proven itself," Heráková said, noting this was the first time the festival took place all weekend long. "A large number of those interested in performaing and those who want to make a creative contribution to the festival called for it to be extended."

"We are glad, even though the entire festival was organized voluntarily, which made its production and security very demanding. We were glad that local people spontaneously helped us with this event, some of them late into the night. Locals actively contributed to the program as well. For example, there was a mothers' choir that sang and Romani children exhibited their photographs and performed in a theater piece. The budget for this three-day show is CZK 200 000, most of the artists are not paid. We are also glad the festival once again took place without police intervening," Heráková said.    


ČTK, Zdeněk Ryšavý, Ghettofest press release, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Brno, Festival, Hudba, Culture



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