United Islands of Prague in review
United Islands of Prague is on the rise as crowds of enthusiastic fans filled the streets of Karlín The 16th year of the United Islands of Prague multi-genre festival filled the streets and parks of Prague’s Karlín on the weekend, with an impressive 45,000 people in attendance.
It was not just a festival that featured several stars on the main stage – this time, all the musicians who performed did so with tremendous success and to great applause. Musicians came together from many different countries, among them several contemporary British bands. The festival, whose main goal is to discover new talents, brought a very interesting and balanced dramaturgy and supported it with a truly varied and entertaining accompanying program on Křížík Street. It then became a kind of artery between Karlín Square and the Kaizl Gardens and effectively connected all the stages as imaginary “islands of music”. “I am happy to see all around me satisfied faces not only of music fans but also of people who have just come to have fun. In my opinion, in addition to the music itself, there are two other factors – beautiful weather and the fact that the event takes place for the first time at a different date than our sister festival Metronome, which will take place on 21 and 22 June at the Prague Exhibition Grounds.
Photo by Littera
It turned out to be a strategically good and important decision,” summarizes Moimir Papalescu, festival director for the entire team. He continued, “It is certainly worth mentioning that this year’s new release, the British Edition in cooperation with the British Embassy, was very important for the festival and the audience. We are pleased that we were able to concentrate on a strong musical theme and we are planning another unique cooperation for the next years.
I would also like to thank all the partners, who helped to ensure that the 16th edition of the festival was free for all, the whole organizational team, and especially the great audience.” Friday full of expectations On Friday 31 April, the organizers had a simple idea. The festival was opened by a group that already has a name and established itself on United Islands. And they did it perfectly. The Zrní group, which was still not very well-known on the Islands a few years ago, is now a respected name thanks to the festival. At about three o’clock it was half empty under the stage at Karlínské náměstí. Thousands of fans were on the spot at half past three and they prepared a wonderful atmosphere for the boys from Kladno.
Photo by Littera
This was followed by a performance by Irish songwriter David Keenan. He became famous after a taxi driver who used to regularly drive him recorded his song in the car and put the video on YouTube. The reputation of the petrels has also been confirmed by the Czech noise-guitarist Povodí Ohře, highly appreciated by professional critics. The evening concluded with the British melodic indie-rock band, The Sherlocks who brought resonant riffs and melodic refrains that tore the audience to a tumultuous applause and forced the band into an encore. Friday was more than a promising prelude to the next festival day.
Saturday ride Another musical stage was erected in Karlín the following day which brought life to Křižík Street. The street was lined with stalls offering a variety of gastronomic delights throughout the day. Many islands with diverse activities, workshops, and exhibitions were added along the whole route. The Karlín cafés and bistros also expanded their gardens to welcome the festival guests. In the places where the buskers usually used to drive cars, messages related to the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution were written on the symbolic “wall of freedom”.
Photo by Peter Fulop
For the first time, the organizers also organized a vinyl record exchange. Far more visitors were predicted on the Saturday and the performance of the Czech headliner, Captain Demo, attracted tens of thousands of people who grouped together in front of the main stage. This was followed by a performance by the Save The Emotion Beroun formation, which won the festival’s “Discovery competition” as chosen by the Ambassador of the entire project, Captain Demo, at the head of the expert jury.
Another performance that went down well with the masses was that of unorthodox band Robocobra Quartet from Belfast, Ireland, which critics characterize as if King Crimson and Rage Against the Machine met on stage.