By day 3, most of the novelty had worn off. It was tangible in the energy of the masses. Glancing around the expanse of concrete and tents, it was visible how people had settled down – literally – lounging in the grass, chatting with friends, families strolling by the vendors sampling the wares offered. Music pulsing through the air as day three’s line-up began their rotation. I found myself unwilling to leave the little base camp my friends and I had built under the shade of a tree near the main stage, choosing instead to lay back on blankets, content to bask in the warm sun and people-watch. It was then that I understood the allure and power of the festival – the atmosphere.
For four days each year, the inhabitants of Ostrava rouse themselves from their usual routines to come together in a mass celebration. Streets usually deserted after work hours and on weekends fill with residents that otherwise remain invisible throughout the year. The city vibrates with pride and excitement at the prospect of the festival, of what it will bring, and particularly at the opportunity to be together, to share this rare moment of community. Speaking to several festival goers, it was evident that what drew them year after year to Colours was the event itself. Music is for sure a main attraction, but the truth is, no one knows half the bands that come to perform. And they don’t care because they know from past experience that the Colours team is good at rounding up talent that surprises and pleases.
This trust in the organizers, a 12 year track record, major headliners from internationally renowned music community, and the amazing location all add up to success. The attention to detail and the superb organization of such a massive event gives confidence to festival attenders that going will be a treat to be remembered. And for those not musically-oriented, the gathering of local producers and food vendors offer enough to satisfy a wide range of tastes. It didn’t concern anyone that 2 bands originally scheduled to perform were cancelled at the last minute. What counted was that the show went on and people were entertained.
French rock-punk outfit Skip the Use was one of the bands that pulled out, replaced by Swedish hip-hop trio Movits!, who kept things lively with an energetic act. Later at the Česká spořitelna stage, after 20-minutes of crowd-rousing from a Richard Simmons-like instructor, retro electronic group The Knife failed to failed to impress with their downbeat vibes and cult-like stage show. But the disappointment was short-lived: The Balkan Beat Box, who immediately followed, put on a show that rivaled day 2’s Damien Rice as one the the best of the fest.