When Michal Kaščák, Pohoda Festival head, described Slovakia’s biggest music festival as a celebration of freedom in a discussion for the Sme daily towards the end of June, it took only a few hours for Ľuboš Blaha, Smer MP, to compare it to a political song festival from the communist-era.
“We have stopped active politicians speaking in debates at the festival,” Kaščák said during the discussion. However, former president Andrej Kiska, Czech politician Karl Schwarzenberg, and acting President Zuzana Čaputová were exempted from this ban.
The fact is Pohoda-goers did have the opportunity to meet Kiska and a few others of his yet-to-be-registered political party Za ľudí (For the People) as well as former PM Iveta Radičová, but there were hardly any coalition politicians there.
The UK's largest festival, Glastonbury, known for its activism, was undoubtedly political in 2019, making fun of Brexiteer and PM hopeful Boris Johnson. It also opened up its Left Field tent at Worthy Farm for political debates which involved some MPs. British grime artist Stormzy also went political, for which he was praised and no harsh criticism of the festival followed.
This year, Pohoda too, offered several moments which were, or could be seen as, somewhat politically charged. This included political debate with Čaputová and Radičová but also messages from the artists.