Interview with Ráca (Agressive Music Fest, Hard Fest)
1. Tell us, please, how were the festivals Agressive Music Fest and Hard Fest born and how arose their philosophy?
The roots of the AGRESSIVE MUSIC FEST stretch back into 2011, when I worked for the Czech metal band INPAIN. Everybody knows that the less well-known bands don’t have the possibility to participate in big open-air festivals. Therefore appeared the idea to create a festival for small, but quality bands. The festival has gradually acquired a group of loyal fans and success. In 2013 it was extended up to two days and we also invited bands from abroad. This expansion was cordially received by fans, and basing on such responses we opened a second summer event HARD FEST, which takes place at the end of August in the same area. Fans of both festivals may take advantage of our loyalty programme: reduced price entrance. This also is applicable to the winter version of our smaller festival, WINTER AGRESSIVE FEST, which takes place in November in the hall of the restaurant in the same location.
I continue to invite to our events (headliners exclusive) metal-bands from the club scene, focusing on the quality.
2. Is heavy music popular in Czech Republic?
I think that metal music in our county is so popular as in other countries. The popularity of metal in the Czech Republic declined after the fall of socialism, when it ceased to be a suppressed and underground music style. Now it’s experiencing a renaissance, but there still is a high proportion of fans over the age of 30. I believe that the rising generation of young metal music will ensure further growth of popularity.
3. On which criteria do You settle while choosing the participants, headliners inclusive? And what about young bands? What they need to do to play on Your festivals?
The criteria for playing at our events are very simple. The band must have a good quality of its production, because this is what we guarantee to our fans. After that the bands are required to cooperate to promote the festival. Of course, an important aspect are the acceptable conditions for performance. The band should also have a good promo: video, audio, etc… All of our bands are trying to promote year-round in the Czech Republic.
We strive to maintain a genre scope of the festival so that every fan can choose his favorite musical genre within the metal. The festival is highly demanded, so unfortunately some bands wait for their placement in our line-up waiting list.
4. Why did You choose this location – Pohorí? And what the locals think about Your initiative?
Pohori is the perfect place for our festival. It is a facility built for cultural events. This space provides a stable big stage, a big sitting capacity for fans, sufficient space for camping. The giant space covered by a roofing sheet to protect our visitors against rain or sunlight is a big bonus.
Till now we have not had any complaints from the citizens. Last year the entire village declared it had zero pollution. Our visitors must commend perfect discipline and respect for the environment in the vicinity of the festival.
5. We know that there are many festivals in Europe. Are You dealing with other organizers? Which festival can You call The Best?
We cooperate with some of the festivals in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We are situated in a location where a large amount of metal events is held, so cooperation is inevitable, and there is no scope for any competitive war. For example, we work closely with the festival MetalGate CZECH DEATH FEST in the Czech Republic or the Slovak Festival Gothoom. Cooperation takes place mainly in the field of promotion. In other fields, we strive for maximum independence. Brutal Assault or other generically similar festivals could be called my favourites.
6. Can You tell us what surprises You prepared for us this year?
It will be a surprise. If I tell you it will not be a surprise any more… :)
Those who visit us regularly know that our approach to the festival is very hearty, and that we dedicate a lot of effort to the environment, stage design and the festival atmosphere. I will tell you that we are preparing some news, but I will not talk about them specifically.
7. What can You tell us about Your plans for the development of festivals in the future?
I would be glad if the festival will be highly ranked among the most popular events in the European metal scene. Yet we care about preserving the family and home atmosphere. I dream with big bands on the festival scene, and we work for it, but we still want to give opportunities to small bands and also to present them to our audience.
Many thanks for the interview and greetings to the readers of Festivallica.com and your entire team.