Prior to the late April release of my new travel article in stalkingElk, I’ll be previewing a few of the Bohemian oddities that will be featured. This final post is about Prague’s maddest – in every sense – music festival.
There are some amazing music festivals in Europe. If you were so inclined, you could start the party season at the multimedia, Renaissance subculture festival Netmage in Bologna, take a break at the arty, classical ponce-fest that is St. Magnus on Orkney and then end your summer with the intimately Arctic mish-mash rave of Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavik. But for all Europe’s unusual, eclectic music festivals, none come close to the bizarre two-day summer music and theatre bonanza that is Prague’s Mezi Ploty.
A must for any real festival-goer’s diary, Mezi Ploty is possibly the weirdest weekend ever devised. It’s the only major music festival in the world held in the grounds of a working psychiatric hospital, and featuring artists who are, to quote the official website, ‘mentally disadvantaged’. Good on them, I hear you cry… but that’s not the strange bit. You see, rather than having all those poor Randle McMurphy/Chief Bromden-types cooped up inside with earplugs firmly lodged in their skulls, they’re instead allowed out to mingle with the festival crowd. The organisers claim it’s to improve mental health awareness and break down social barriers (could you spot the madman at a music fest?), while cynics claim that the whole thing is a cheap gimmick to get in punters. Either way, the crowd are mad for it.
To experience the Mezi Ploty festival this year, you’ll need to get your skates on – it’s held on the 28th and 29th May at Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital. You can find out more by visiting the Mezi Ploty website (in Czech only, I’m afraid).
You can read the full article – Weird beards and other Bohemian oddities – in the April edition of stalkingElk.