Aloe Blacc, Citizens!, Princess Chelsea, Acollective, John Primer and dozens of others are coming to the 10th edition of United Islands by Česká spořitelna on 20 – 22 June.
In spite of the complications ensuing from the abrupt change of its location, United Islands by Česká spořitelna, Prague’s largest festival, is going to perform in full. The helpfulness of Prague 6 district has permitted the relocation of the festival to the Ladronka park. The creme de la creme of the lineup will be the pop-soul star Aloe Blacc who has won worldwide attention with his hit “I Need a Dollar”. The festival will host 195 music projects on 7 open-air stages and 9 clubs where the program continues after 10 p.m. United Islands by Česká spořitelna celebrates its 10th anniversary from 20 to 22 June in Prague.
The organizers have decided that in spite of all complications, the tenth anniversary is going to be a true celebrations and that they would, for the first time, bring a couple of giant names. “In my view all 195 performing artists are big names and I am more than glad they will be meeting in Prague on a single weekend. I want to say that we are not doing the festival just for the people of Prague, so I am hoping that our anniversary musical picnic gets visited by many musical gourmets from all the country and abroad. We really can’t wait,“ adds David Gaydečka, the festival dramaturgist.
United Islands by Česká spořitelna is not a one-star festival, quite the contrary. This is the tenth year the event has been bringing new, fresh names of the European and world club scene. Some of the acts that are worth mentioning certainly are the British guitar band Citizens!, the hipster Princess Chelsea, Mixhell – the new project by Igor Cavalera, the founder of Sepultura, the Palestinian-Israeli rapper SAZ, Swedish 8-bit techno producers Slagsmålsklubben, the Paris trio We Were Evergreen whose lightness knocks your socks off, and the best Estonian band of our day Tenfold Rabbit which is a musical continuation of the folk and country wave that this year’s Grammy winners Mumford and Sons started. In the past years, the festival discovered O’Children and the original N.O.H.A. for the Czech Republic.
Apart from newcomers to the club scene, the festival also prepares compact programming blocks. This feature is especially strong this year. This edition’s strongest block is clearly the Days of Jerusalem in Prague in the framework of which seven Israeli bands will be performing on the festival! Bands like 3421, Adi Ulmansky, the rapper SAZ, Izabo and Folo will certainly change your view of the contemporary music scene. The anniversary theme resonates across the entire event. On Friday, the festival will celebrate Olga Havlová’s posthumous 80th birthday with performances by Vlasta Třešňák, Už jsme doma feat. FPB and Plastic People of the Universe. Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the Civil Society Development Foundation (NROS); the celebration includes Václav Koubek, a recent discovery of the Czech folk scene Nylon Jail and the blues-rock singer Rina Mushonga. Another block is the Carpathian-Caucasian Offensive that presents bands from Poland and Georgia, with the highly popular Zakopower in the front. The band has recorded several albums and has earned many musical awards. A special project is the Chicago Prague Blues Band which offers a set shared by Michal Prokop, Luboš Andršt and Jan Hrubý Trio with the American blues guitarist, John Primer.
This year, solid programming is present in the open-air section as well as in the 10 select clubs where the festival continues after 10 p.m. On Friday, it is the Austrian newcomer Gin Ga at Rock Café, the ambient producer Sun Glitters and the British producer Filastine performing with the Philippine vocalist, Nova. Divadlo Archa hosts the Danish world-music project Danjál and Daga Dana from Poland. If rock music is your preference, you may want to look at the offer of Malostranská Beseda and Baráčnická rychta with Low Fi from Italy and the Czech-Austrian band My Name is Music. On Saturday, the club offering accommodates every taste. Roxy will be occupied by electronic music fans attending the performance of the Swedish techno scene legend Slagsmålsklubben. The Zephyr Pub and Club will host freestyle fans as the venue presents the best Czech freestyle DJ project, Trouble team. Divadlo Archa will continue the Israeli block with Izabo and Adi Ulmansky. John Primer will be performing another set at Malostranská Beseda.
Aloe Blacc was born as Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III in California in 1979. In the 1990’s, he collaborated with the producer Exile as a rapper in the hip-hop project Emanon, releasing six albums. His solo career would not start until 2003; three years later he released his first studio album Shine Through (2006) the most part of which he also produced. Aloe Blacc had to wait for fame a little longer, though. The breakthrough came in 2010 when the track I Need a Dollar was chosen as the opening theme of How to Make It in America. The track made Aloe Blacc a first-class star both in the USA and Europe, with invitations to the world’s premium festivals arriving shortly.
Aloe Blass’s performance at United Islands by Česká spořitelna will be his premiere in the Czech Republic and his fans can mark their calendars for Saturday, 22 June.
There is more to United Islands than just the music. Táňa Švehlová from the Art Prometheus association that is responsible for the non-musical program offer, invites to attend the secondary program Sea Dreams. “There are many ways of experiencing the United Islands by Česká spořitelna festival. One of them is the musical marathon where the visitors takes up the role of a listener. Or they may become gourmets and try a little bit of it all: soup from the NGO’s, clothes from young designers, a puppet tale, or try a suspended acrobatics workshop. The secondary program is designed for the gourmets and offers the possibility of enjoying the event with your grandmother and your baby boy.“
The home of the 10th anniversary edition will be Ladronka, one of Prague’s most popular parks. “The festival is enjoying its tenth year now, it has strong partners, it is one of Prague’s largest events and hosts music stars from all over the world: it is evident that it is organized by professionals and production teams who have proven their worth over the years. This year, too, they have promised they will organize the event with the highest possible concert to the surroundings. I am very pleased that this year’s edition has found its place in the Ladronka here in Prague 6, which gives our district the opportunity to become one of the festival’s leading partners. It is my wish that Prague 6, as well as all other parts of the capital affected by the floods, cope with the highwater aftermath soon,” says Marie Kousalíková, Mayor of Prague 6 District. Martin Voňka, one of the organizers, adds: “I guess everyone coming to the festival will be surprised by the possibilities and great places the Ladronka has to offer. It took us only a few days to plan an area you will not forget, an area which is most likely never to be seen again.”However, a part of the festival remains in Prague 5 as the Portheimka park will be hosting the Český rozhlas Jazz Stage which was originally planned in the Jazz Dock club. Additional buses will be running between Portheimka and the Ladronka area to allow for uninterrupted circulation of visitors.
Links to the artists:
Aloe Blacc (US) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR6oYX1D-0w
Citizens! (UK) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EySm81Q6qIU
Princess Chelsea (NZ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TV_128Fz2g
Slagsmålsklubben (SE) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y54ABqSOScQ
We were evergreen (FR) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYiD6BZnlro
Gin Ga (AT) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdgwrFHkIjo