With the huge Colours music festival, Ostrava is currently the focus of the arts scene in the Czech Republic. But it’s not just about bands: The event’s Melting Pot is a thriving discussion forum that gives festivalgoers a rare opportunity to interact with eminent speakers from around the world.
However, for many the festival’s Melting Pot discussion forum has grown to become just as big a draw as its pop stars and world music acts.
Indeed, this year’s edition of the flourishing section features 150 speakers – including writers, scientists and economists – appearing at six different venues across the four days of Colours.
Melting Pot is headed by Petra Hniková Charmite.
“Each stage is organised according to a particular theme. For instance, the Global Stage is focused on topical world problems.
“On Saturday we have a whole day devoted to fake news and today we have famous international journalists speaking about their areas of expertise.
“We get a lot of positive feedback. Some people say they don’t even get around to watching the concerts at Colours – they come at noon and have trouble even making it to all the lectures they’re interested in.”
Also here has been anti-warfare campaigner Scilla Elworthy, who presented her book The Business Plan for Peace at a former gasworks. Afterwards she developed on her message to the mainly young audience.
“I think it’s incredible. The people who stood in line to get my book just now, it touches something in them that says, What can I do? And it gives them the answer.
“And the answer is, Tell me what breaks your heart.
“They tell me, It’s refugees or abandoned dogs or whatever and I say, OK, match that with your skill. Are you good at social media or crowdfunding or whatever? Put them together and go for it.”
Alongside the 60-odd international guests at Melting Point there has also been a high concentration of notable Czech participants, such as YouTuber Kovy and the dancer turned rapper Miřenka Čechová.
“For a few day, maybe for a week, Ostrava becomes the centre of the Czech Republic, I would say.
“With almost 50,000 visitors, with around 800 different actors and lecturers it really attracts hordes of people.
“What I really like here is not only the industrial environment but the fact that almost everybody can find here something important, something interesting, from almost scientific, or popular science, lectures to techno music.”
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