is a multi-genre international music festival that has been held annually in Ostrava since 2002. Since 2012, it has been held in the stunning surroundings of the national cultural monument Dolní Vítkovice—a former industrial complex. It offers music of many genres, discussion forums as well as a theatre and film programme and art installations. We bring you an interview with the festival director, Zlata Holušová, by Radúz Mácha, head of the POSITIV editorial board.
What do you think is the thing that makes Colours of Ostrava unique?
Colours of Ostrava is one of the first festivals to focus not only on rock and pop but also on genres and musical styles that were uncommon until a certain time.
Today, artists from seventy countries come to Colours, and that’s what sets the festival apart from the rest.
Since 2016, the Meltingpot International Discussion Forum has been held alongside the festival. Its theme, ‘Conferences with people who are changing the world’, offers exceptional stories of strong personalities from all over the world—innovators, visionaries, scientists, artists, etc. This whirlwind of discussion workshops and their big topics reaches tens of thousands of visitors. Quite a unique informal space for reflection, inspiration and new interpersonal connections. Who came up with this idea and what is the goal of Meltingpot?
I came up with the idea six years ago. We’d had a few discussion scenes in the past and it was nice to find that the audience at Colours of Ostrava is incredibly perceptive and willing to listen. Based on that, we decided to create this complex international programme of discussion scenes.
We’ve been working on this year’s Meltingpot for three years—maybe that’ll be noticeable—I dare to say it’s really polished. It’s actually the spice of the festival, as I like to call it.
Could you highlight some of the most important speakers we can look forward to at Meltingpot?
There will be ‘The Ice Man’ Wim Hof; former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay; the ‘Tarantino of documentary’ Vincent Moon, who is also a photographer and sound artist who explores the connections between ancient and contemporary forms of ceremony. He travels around the world with a camera in his backpack, documenting local folklore, sacred music and religious rituals.
From afar comes Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, an amazing man who spreads a message of unconditional love and kindness, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness. I recommend his book From Rebel to Monk.
The name of Jamie Andrew, a mountaineer who lost his arms and legs in the mountains but did not give up and climbed Kilimanjaro, must also be mentioned here. Nor shall I forget Frederik Imb, an actor, motivational speaker and communication expert with more than fifteen years of experience. His TEDx talk on how not to take things personally has become the most watched Belgian TED talk ever with more than ten million views. And now we will have the unique opportunity to talk to him live. I’m only at the beginning, but there are 200 speakers and we don’t have that much space (laughs).
Colours of Ostrava is the main reason for staying in Ostrava and our region for many foreign and domestic visitors. They come, visit Ostrava, see the region with their own eyes, spend money and help the business sector. Do you see it that way too?
Yes, it is crucial indeed. Especially in the days of the COVID, when the hotels were empty, there was no one here. But now they’re having a very good time; their prices are skyrocketing.
It’s a pity we don’t have more hotels; there are no five-star hotels. I think that this business plan is waiting for those who understand that this is really a sore spot for Ostrava, that we lack accommodation capacity. Of course, it also somewhat conditions congress tourism and experience tourism, because there are not enough hotels.
What have these twenty years given to Zlata Holušová?
Wonderful years of creating experiences for people who want to be inspired, whether by music or thoughts, to share their joy with other people. It’s an incredibly beautiful path that I walk joyfully and enthusiastically. All the obstacles and hardships we have had to go through are worth it.
Mrs Holušová, thank you for the interview.