LAST YEAR'S Pohoda festival was a Woodstock rerun.
This month, no fewer that three such Slovak Lollapalooza's will take place at natural venues around the country, giving domestic fans the chance to listen to tunes under their native sun rather than travel to foreign meets such as the Danish Roskilde or the Hungarian Sziget.
Festival stages this year will host many music 'genres' - rock and pop to hip-hop, techno and metal - played by local and foreign acts. While few are on the level of stars Slovakia has attracted over the past several years, such as Fun Lovin' Criminals, Peter Gabriel, Faith No More and Erasure, organisers promise a rich line-up.
Each festival also offers additional attractions such as 'adrenaline' sports, body painting, and 'best bum' competitions.
On the first July weekend, rock fans massed in south Slovakia's Rimavská Sobota district at the Rock Pop festival. If they got too hot listening to live acts headlined by the Finnish group Him, they were able to cool off in the nearby Zelená voda (Green Water) reservoir.
The following weekend sees the largest multicultural festival in Slovakia, Klikkfest. Also called Little Sziget after the Hungarian festival, it runs from July 10 to 13 near the Hungarian border in the south Slovak town of Nové Zámky. Apart from the British Chumbawamba band, which plays on the last day of the festival, the Slovak ska group Polemic and the electric blues band Bluesweiser will team up with dozens of DJs from as far as Britain and the US to enliven the dance floor. Climbing walls, a rodeo, body painting, tattoos and piercing booths during the day will give way to the prettiest bum, wet T-shirt and mud-wrestling matches in the evening.
By mid-month, crowds of people with sleeping bags in their rucksacks will be heading to the north-west town of Trenčín for the sixth annual of the largest music festival in Slovakia, Pohoda (meaning 'well-being'). The festival will host 110 bands and DJs from 20 countries in a two-day non-stop marathon featuring the Irish Shane Macgowans and The Popes, the British Stereo Mc's, Sneaker Pimps, Luke Slater and Nathan Coles, and the American John Tejada.
Organisers say that the most exotic band on offer will be the South African Moodphase 5ive. The mix of funk, jazz, hip-hop, soul, drum'n'bass beats and electric groove is performed by female and male singers accompanied by drums, keyboard, trumpet, guitar, percussion and bass.
All three festivals have seen an increase in the number of annual visitors. Their popularity has not been threatened even by bad weather, as was the case at last year's Pohoda when 18,000 people found themselves 'relaxing' to the music in a mud slick reminiscent of Woodstock.
SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS
Past: Rock Pop Festival, July 4-6, Rimavská Sobota.
Now: Klikkfest, July 10-13, Nové Zámky.
Coming: Pohoda, July 19-20, Trenčín.
For more information on the Pohoda festival see the next issue of The Slovak Spectator or check www.pohodafestival.sk. To purchase tickets (Sk690) in advance visit Dr. Horák, Medená 19, Bratislava, Tel: 02/5443-5667.