The main theme of the 4th edition of the SLovO aleBO huDbA Festival will be spaces of freedom. In less than three days, it offers an intensive program – five concerts, two films, an exhibition and author’s readings. Three discussions are devoted to the ideal of dissent and reality, the spaces of freedom in the time of normalization and in connection with the movie Komúna, discussion about Marcel Strýko and Košice’s dissent community. The underground and dissident festival was established four years ago, its founders wanted to draw attention to the life of the inhabitants of Czechoslovakia in the period of normalization, from the occupation to the Velvet Revolution (1968 – 1989). The current year will take place from 3 to 5 September 2021 in the Art Cafe Banská Štiavnica. “The festival was created because we were negatively fascinated by the idea of ​​life in normalizing, illiberal, barbed wire-fenced Czechoslovakia after 1968. Our main goal is to bring to the public a discussion about the period of normalization, which was the childhood of the generation of today’s forty years old people, but younger they have practically no information or feelings about it, and the generation of our parents has not yet had time to tell their stories enough and we are sorry not to ask them,“ said Zuzana Bargerová, co-founder of the SLovO aleBO huDBA festival.

In addition to artists, they always invite witnesses of the era to the festival from various areas of freedom – from exile, the periphery, from the underground, as well as dissidents who confronted the regime in public. The festival will be open by a screening of the film Komúna on Friday, September 3, 2021. After the movie, Marcel Strýko and the Košice underground will be discussed by former Minister of Culture Agnes Snopko, film director Jakub Julény and musician and composer Miro Tóth, moderated by Michal Havran. The topic of Saturday morning’s discussion will be Spaces of Freedom in the Time of Normalization, two historians, Júlia Čížová and Katarína Jantulová, prepared a discussion for us about environmental movements and the formation of the music scene in socialism, moderated by Peter Markovski. Alexander Balogh will talk on Saturday afternoon with the writer Josef Holcman, who plans to read the audience from his work. Holcman (1952) is a writer, theater actor and a lawyer. He was an actor and leader of the Small Stage of the Zlín Municipal Theater, he is the author of almost twenty books. On Sunday morning, the program includes a final discussion on the ideals of dissent and reality, where former dissident Jarmila Johnová and documentary film director Kristína Vlachová will meet, and the debate will be led by Soňa Gyarfašová. Traditionally, music has a strong presence in the festival’s dramaturgy. Visitors are awaited by concerts of formations: Charmsove Deti, DRŤ, Ľahká Múza,Ruce naší Dory, KRCH-OFF BAND. An exhibition of sculptor Anna Horváth, open by curator Juliana Mrvová, will take place on the ground floor and in the Art Cafe garden. Her works are represented in galleries and private collections at home and abroad.

The festival will close on the third day with Kristína Vlachová’s film The Message of Jan Palach. In the film, the director focused on Palach’s family background, friends, classmates and teachers to shed light on the motive of his victim. Last year’s festival was marked by a pandemic, but the organizers managed to make a version of the festival for fewer spectators with the same strong program as in previous years. We hosted koncert of Jednofázové kvasenie, Eva Turnová returned to Štiavnica with the Eturnity band, Jozef Lupták and Boris Lenko played an acoustic concert in the garden behind the Art Cafe. We discussed ecology movement of the 70s-80s of the 20. century with Marko and Maňo Huba, an ecology in modern contemporary art with Andrej Dúbravský and Zuzana Duchová, as well as with the author of the book “Básník: Novel about the poet Ivan Blatný”, Martin Reiner. One of the highlights of the festival was the debate with the organizer of the banned concert of the singer Nico in Prague in 1985, Miloš Čuřík. For the first time in the history of Art Cafe, we also presented statues of the sculptor and ecologist Marko Huba, “added Zuzana Bargerová.

The festival began in 2018, funded from the founders’ own resources. They invited Marek Švehla with a book about Martin Ivan Jirous “Magor and his time”, a joint concert of young musicians from the Plastic People of the Universe Revival band and Eva Turnová took place. The film Varga was screened and followed by a discussion. Stories from the Brízgalky settlement were mediated by settlers who gather there for forty years. “We made the first year from our own resources, from savings, we did the graphics ourselves on a typewriter. For the next year 2019, we received a symbolic support from the FPU, and since then the festival has been part of our annual dramaturgy. The team around the festival in 2019 recruited Peter Markovski and Soňa Gyarfašová, but the consultations and recommendations of many other people such as, Agnes Snopko, Alexander Balogh, Olga Gyarfášová or Jarmila Johnová, helped enormously. The festival board is currently made up of journalists Alexander Balogh, Soňa Gyarfašová, our “second culture dramaturg” Peter Markovski and me, “added Zuzana Bargerová from Art Cafe, who, together with Tomáš Lazar from the local Antikvariátik Bookshop, is behind the idea of a festival. Its creation was inspired by interviews with their parents and family destinies, and equally by their friends among the Brízgalky settlers and interviews with them.

The 4th year of the festival was possible mainly thanks to the support of the EEA Grant, from the funds of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In 2020, the grant was awarded to OZ Povala (Art Cafe) and the Icelandic organization Rockall for the project “Slovak-Icelandic cooperation in the development of small cultural centers – SLICE”. The year-round project focuses on cultural exchange with Iceland, but will bring, in addition to two festivals, several significant events dedicated to young people, seniors and people living in excluded communities. The EEA grant will also support the preservation of the Art Cafe cultural center, through partial funding for its permanent activities. For more information about SLICE please see:

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