Hvezda Park, main stage of Ghettofest, in 2019.
Credit: Ghettofest

Ghettofest Brings Brno-Zabrdovice To The Centre of the City’s Life On 1 June

Next Saturday, 1 June, Ghettofest returns for the 13th time to the streets of Brno-Zabrdovice, known unofficially as “Brno’s Bronx”, with a day of music, dancing, and cultural entertainment centred around Bratislavská and Kaznice, the former prison.

This annual street festival has a unique socio-cultural concept created explicitly for this location. Its main themes are openness and coexistence, aiming at mutual respect without conflict or exclusion. Entry to the festival is free.

In recent years, the festival has become a significant cultural occasion in an otherwise neglected part of the city, though gradually more and more events are being held at Kaznice.

From the very beginning, the organising team, partially composed of local residents, perceived the wider potential of this event to attract locals, visitors, artists, politicians, and anyone interested in cultural events in this part of the city, and it has become a platform bringing new opportunities and longer-term projects – such as the use of Kaznice as a cultural hub.

The street and the park, which many Brno residents do not visit often, become the centre of the city’s celebrations for the duration of the event, a place to meet and enjoy a varied program, lowering the boundaries between citizens across ethnic groups and social contexts, in a positive and peaceful atmosphere.

Show held at Keznice during a previous edition. Credit: Ghettofest

Roma culture, especially dancers and musicians, are a keystone of the event; the quarter itself hosts the nationally prominent Museum of Roma Culture and is the centre of Brno’s Roma community. The museum will host a video lecture about Roma fairytales to mark the occasion.

Other highlights include an exhibition of comics at Kaznice, in preparation for the 10th KOMA international comic book festival in Brno, which will be held in October, a workshop about safe space and the creation of accessories from upcycled materials, and another about Roma songs in Kaznice’s chapel.

Music will also be a fundamental feature of the day: among others, Marek Kroka and Denis Tulej will perform at the DROM Roma centre terrace, starting from 2.30 pm, while a musical performance called “I hear you, friend” will be held in the Kaznice chapel from 2.45 pm. Four Gypsy Soul will play at Park Hvězda at 3 pm, while Spanish soloist Spaniel Russ will perform his folk-punk-gypsy repertoire at Kaznice from 3.30 p.m.

Stará open house will host a final afterparty, starting at 10pm, where the group Meandr will perform. Due to the limited capacity of the space, this event will have an entry fee of CZK 150.

The full festival program can be found here

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