By Nicole Brewer
Greetings globetrotters! I hope everyone has been having a fabulous summer. I recently returned from an epic Eurotrip, which included two weeks in the Czech Republic. I started off my time exploring the Colours of Ostrava music festival, in the same town where I was set to speak the following week at the TBEX Europe travel bloggers conference.
The Colours of Ostrava is an international music festival that has been in existence since 2002. Within the past few years, it has been annually hosted in the rustic Dolni Vitkovice area, which was home to ironworks and mining. I absolutely loved the vintage feel of having the festival in an old mining field. It actually reminds me of my hometown of Detroit, Michigan…the Motor City. Both Ostrava and Detroit were home to industries that have moved mostly elsewhere, but still, have the blue-collar spirit in both cities. The festival plays hosts to hundreds of concerts, theater performances, workshops, art installations, art activities and talks.
The line-up for this year included headliners like N.E.R.D, Grace Jones, Jessie J, Kygo, Slaves and Joss Stone. Some of the smaller acts that still packed a big punch included Jacob Banks, Jeremy Loops, Future Islands and Alfa Mist. The four-day festival has a little bit of R&B, hip-hop, reggae, rock, basically whatever style of music or the arts that interest you are available at the Colours of Ostrava festival.
First things first, you must know that the festival goes on rain or shine. The first day did include on and off rain showers, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of the attendees nor artist. People that attend the Colours of Ostrava know how to weather the storm. For me, Day 1 was All about N.E.R.D., which is made up of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Hayley (I know my Neptunes fans are aware of this lol). However, I arrived earlier in the afternoon to check out the festival grounds. The first act I saw during the day was Future Islands, who has an interesting sound of synthpop.
Now Grammy award-winning group N.E.R.D. (No One Ever Really Dies), they did not come to play when their set came on later in the evening. They took the crowd through old school and new school hits including She Wants to Move, Kites and the standout hit on their latest album Lemonade and yes, the Lemonade feature dancer displayed her phenomenal dance moves during the show as well.
On the second day of the festival, I decided to take in some of the talks and check out some of the vendors stands (hey Jack Daniels pop-up shop lol) but the main focus for me was to see U.K. artist Jacob Banks. I’ve recently become a huge fan of his sultry voice after finding him on the Colors Youtube channel and hearing him featured in episodes of the hit Starz series Power. Banks did not disappoint At All. His voice and stature of 6’5″ is so commanding that I was totally mesmerized the entire time. However, not so much to forget to take a footage for you all GTs :-).
On the third day, I was able to hang out a bit with some other bloggers who were in attendance at the festival from TBEX, which is always a good time. The main acts for the day were Joss Stone and Jessie J. I’ve been a fan of Joss Stone for years and it’s awesome to see that she’s still hitting the festival scene. Her hypnotic vocals are still commanding and her energy radiated through the crowd. I’m also still here for her hipster vibe of wearing no shoes on the stage still too lol. Jessie J. brought the funk later in the evening and kept the crowd excited as well.
There are many acts to choose from each day, but I personally spent most of my time at the main stage since these were the acts I wanted to see most. Others on the program for the day included Cigarettes After Sex, Cheikh Lo of Senegal and Lenny of the Czech Republic. Colours truly is a global affair with artists from around the world represented.
On the final day of the Colours Festival, it was all about the Queen Mother herself Grace Jones for me! Being able to see a legend such as herself in the flesh was pure magic. She is captivating live and to see her giving it to the audience in her 70s rocking 6-inch stilettos, changing outfits after every other song just goes to show why there are none other than Grace Jones. I managed to run to the next soundstage shortly after Grace wrapped up her set to take in the smooth melodic vibes of Ziggy Marley afterward. The Colours Festival is surely one of the coolest, off the wall festivals I have ever attended. I hope you too will consider it for future visits globetrotters.
Until next time, as always happy globetrotting. Do you have any other music festivals you recommend abroad? If so, feel free to comment below.