SLOVAKIA’S biggest open-air summer festival, Bažant Pohoda, traditionally offers a combination of music performances by world-famous artists, support for non-profit organisations and discussions on current political topics. At this year’s edition, which took place at Trenčín Airport between July 10 and 13, visitors also got the chance to speak with newly elected President Andrej Kiska and congratulate Slovak ice hockey player Marián Gáborík, who brought the Stanley Cup to show to the crowd.

The line-up of the festival’s eighteenth edition included German electronic music legends Kraftwerk, Scottish post-rock band Mogwai, British alternative rock band Suede and British electronic music duo Goldfrapp. Fans of classical music enjoyed a gala concert of the Symphonic Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Ukraine, and those who love Slovak pop music got to see the four-time winner of the Zlatý Slávik award, Jana Kirschner.

While in 2013, Pohoda, which has a capacity of 30,000 people, almost sold out, this year organisers estimate that 1,000-2,000 fewer people came. Festival CEO Michal Kaščák said that unpleasant weather forecasts might have discouraged some potential visitors. Nevertheless, he evaluated the event positively, the SITA newswire reported.

“I am happy that we experienced these three days,” Kaščák said, as quoted by SITA.

As in previous years, Pohoda offered an array of side events, including workshops, discussions, theatre and literary programmes. For example, this year, organisers created a so-called Saganfanzone, where people could watch live-streamed performances of famous Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan participating in the Tour de France, or speak with his family members.

Organisers had promised a surprise, which turned out to be an appearance by President Andrej Kiska, who engaged in a debate with Týždeň weekly editor-in-chief Štefan Hríb. Former prime minister Iveta Radičová was in the audience as well, and went for a walk around the premises with the president after the show. Aside from journalists, the duo was accompanied by throngs of young people, according to the TASR newswire.

“One feels trust, support, and that is an enormous commitment to go forward and work hard,” Kiska said, as quoted by TASR. “It’s recharging my batteries [being at the summer festival], but mainly it is responsibility.”

Kiska also congratulated to Marián Gáborík, who is currently playing for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League and came to the main Pohoda stage with the Stanley Cup. He later took the cup atop a fire department truck for a ride around the airport.

“I must admit that this is my first time at Pohoda and I would never have expected this,” Gáborík said to the audience, as quoted by TASR. “But I guarantee you, this is not the last time.”