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Pussy Riot. Wikimedia Commons
NEWS ROUNDUP 26 Jan 2018

Pussy Riot booked at a major Slovak summer festival

Ria Gehrerová recommended by Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia

The answer is: politics. Although Pohoda, one of the most notorious festivals in Europe, is mainly a music event, it is famous for fostering political expression this year, the organizers are outdoing themselves by inviting the Russian group. 

Slovakia Aha moments

Why this story matters:

Conservatives and populists often pick on Festival Pohoda for being overtly political. True, it is unusual for an institution that aims at a commercial success to be so dedicated to providing space for a political debate. The goal of Pohoda's organizers is to bring together tens of thousands people in the spirit of tolerance and freedom rather than fear and anger.

"As for Pussy Riot, we are looking forward not only to the concert but to what will follow -- a debate about the freedom of artistic expression and the relationship between art and politics "

claims the director of Pohoda, Michal Kaščák, who is sure that Pussy Riot will fit in perfectly at the festival.

Pussy Riot reminds many Czechs and Slovaks of their own underground group Plastic People of the Universe. They also were ostracized for their vulgar expression and antisocial attitude during the Soviet era. Is it time to start making stronger political statements with music again?

Details from the story:

  • Last summer, the Slovak president attended the festival accompanied by his bodyguards, shook many hands and took even more selfies.
  • Two years earlier, during the peak of the migration crisis, a mosque tower was build in the center of the festival area as a symbol of an open society.

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