The Best of the 2014 Fests: Music, Film, Theater

2014 has a lot to offer! You won't get lost with our festival guide

What comes to your mind first when you hear the word “festival”? Is it hot weather, cold drinks and loud music? If so, you are the prototype of a summer festival visitor, but the Czech Republic hosts not only these. If you hate sleeping in a tent, we have good news for you – there are festivals in cities too, many of them devoted to food, movies or theatre! Here, our pick of the year’s best.

Summer festivals
Let’s begin with the traditional, huge open-air music festivals. I guess everyone already knows the major events, such as Rock for People, Colours of Ostrava (who have already announced Robert Plant and MGMT as the first headliners) or Masters of Rock. Why not check out less mainstream happenings?

Mighty Sounds, July 11 – 13, Tábor
Punk is not dead. In fact, it is so alive, that it can fill up a line-up of a 3-day festival. Festival Mighty Sounds has been organized every year since 2005. Some might complain that this festival is becoming too large, but you can still get at that muddy community feeling! Official website

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Trutnov Open Air 2012

Trutnov Open Air Festival, August 14 – 17, Trutnov 
Our former president Václav Havel was very fond of this festival and you could have met him there in his Indian chief’s costume every year. The British band The Subways mentioned once in an interview that they have never experienced anything like Trutnov – a wooden stage in the middle of a forest surrounded by hundreds of completely drunk people. We are still waiting for headliners and dates to be announced, but you will definitely see Winnetou with Nscho-tschi there! Official website

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Rock for Churchill, August 29 – 30, Vroutek
Of course you don’t know where Vroutek is. But look for it on Google Maps because you save the date of this summer event celebrating its 15th birthday this year. As of now, four bands have been announced – Dreadzone and Dub Pistols among them. Shorten your waiting time with the winter edition, which will host The Qemists – last year’s summer headliners! Official website

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Rock for Churchill 2013 by Petr Zátorský

Bohemia Jazz Fest, July 15 – 28, Multiple locations
This unique concept festival that’s open to everyone is the brainchild of  legendary Czech guitar player Rudy Linka. Despite the fact that the festival struggles every year due to lack of funding, its stage still travels from various towns’ squares to another so that anybody can see it and listen to the music. Watch out for this year’s dates! Official website

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Film Festivals
There are so many of these you could spend the whole year just sitting in front of a screen. Let’s have a look at some of them that stand-out from the pack:

One World, March 3 – 12, Multiple Locations 
The International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival takes place in Prague and beyond. It is organized annually by the People in Need foundation. Surprisingly, the main purposes of the festival are not the movies themselves, but mainly the debates they evoke! Official website

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One World 2013, Prague

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, July 4 – 12, Karlovy Vary 
This festival is one of the most prestigious film event not only in the Czech Republic, but worldwide as well. For a few weeks in July, Karlovy Vary becomes the capital of the Republic with more than 200 movies on its program. Some of them (a few dozen) are presented as world premieres, with international celebrities coming to the colonnades. If you are not a movie worshipper, but rather a river maniac, do not go canoeing at Ohře around this time. You won’t find a spot for your tent! Official website

Summer Film School, July 25 – August 2, Uherské Hradiště 
No competition here! You do not have to judge every movie you soak up and then vote for it. Or let the jury vote for it. Or let anyone vote for anything. You can simply enjoy. Besides, the whole program offers you a chance to get some movie industry education, as many lecturers come to share their opinions in various workshops. Official website

International Student Film Festival, October 17 – 19, Písek 
Though organized by students (who get credits for it at the film school in Písek), and showing student movies only, you don’t have to be a student to attend. In fact, you can learn a lot from the short student films screened at the festival. Between each screening, enjoy Písek with the oldest bridge in central Europe and the best Indian restaurant anywhere (IMHO)! Official website

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International Student Film Festival Písek 2013

Other festivals
Music and movies take over a number of festivals’ programs. But there are plenty of others for those who enjoy something else. Many of them take place in Prague, so stayed for  the second part of our Best of the 2014 Fests which will highlight the local in greater detail. For now, our tips for Prague and beyond: 

Grand Restaurant Festival, January 17 – February 28, Multiple Locations
The top Czech gourmet Pavel Maurer publishes a Restaurant Guide every year. No wonder the restaurants which appear there like to join together under his name and participate in the annual Grand Restaurant Festival. This year, you can have a special menu in 83 restaurants in 30 cities around the Czech Republic and taste 259 different meals! Official website

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Grand Restaurant Festival

Mácháč, August 22 – 23, Doksy
Yes, the Czech Republic actually has a beach festival! Thanks to the huge Mácha’s lake in the northern part of Bohemia. Josef Hynek Mácha was a very important Czech poet, but has nothing to do with this event, since Mácháč is a hard partying two-night festival featuring electronic music and litres of alcohol! Official website

International Festival Theater, September 10 – 14, Plzeň
Autumn is a good season to head west, visit inviting west Bohemian castles around Plzeň and then finally hit the city itself and let all the theatre production from the Czech Republic follow you. That is exactly what happens at this international theatre festival with a subtitle “I am a theater fan!” But not only Czech theatres come to perform in Plzeň, you could have also seen Slovak, Polish, Russian, Hungarian or Latvian performances! Official website


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