If you are in to alternative/experimental music, you are more than welcome to join us for the 22th year of the international music festival Alternativa 2014.

The Alternativa Festival has been a staple of Prague’s autumn cultural scene for over twenty years now. This year’s festival, which runs from 8 to 16 November, will once again introduce artists who are often difficult to define according to music genre but who all have one thing in common: they look for new approaches to music, explore new methods of interpretation and unanticipated connections, and are not afraid to experiment. The same can be said for Alternativa festival-goers who are open to the most diverse music initiatives and enjoy discovering new things.

This year’s festival will kick off at club Kaštan in Prague 6 with Malá Alternativa, a showcase for new and up-and-coming bands. This will be followed by performances at the same intimate venue by Široko-daleko, Slovak band NE:BO:DAJ led by composer and musician Július Fujak, British/American duo Gareth L. Davis and Elliott Sharp who are established performers on the international alternative music scene and the Prague Improvisation Orchestra (Pražský improvizační orchestra) which is organising a live music installation tailor-made for club Kaštan in collaboration with the Perch Hen Brock & Rain quartet (NL/USA/D).

Malostranská beseda will host British band Polar Bear, recently nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize for the album In Each And Every One, the Japanese/French project Kaze led by outstanding pianist Satoko Fuji, Vojtěch Procházka’s Czech/Norwegian trio Bergljot, a special international festival project entitled ‘Dreamer´s Crossing’ (Anna Homler, Michael Delia, Jaroslav Kořán and Fabio Turchetti), improvisational vocalist Laurie Amat who is no stranger to Alternativa fans, Czech band Stratocluster, sound designer Martin Janíček and others.

Polar Bear by RJ Fernandez
Polar Bear by RJ Fernandez

As part of the festival, we have also organised several accompanying events. Anna Homler, on this occasion as an artist, will give a presentation of her exhibition of photography which documents her Pharmacia Poetica installation in the Unijazz reading room. At the same venue, festival-goers will also have the opportunity to see O hodinu dřív’s dance performance entitled ‘Cestou’ and a follow-on vocal workshop by American performer Laurie Amat. We have also put together other events in cooperation with Café Souterrain and the Školská 28 communications space. Photographs by Karel Šuster and Rudolf Dobiáš from past Alternativa festivals will be exhibited at club Kaštan until the end of November.

Anna Homler - photo by Martin Cox
Anna Homler – photo by Martin Cox

The history of the festival

The origins of the festival date back to 1992 when the Union of Authors and Performers (SAI) organised Prague Rock Days – a three-day rock festival in Prague’s Lucerna. One of the evenings was devoted to alternative music. However, the Prague Rock Days festival was a once-off event and as a result the Unijazz cultural association and the Rachot production agency decided to take over the organisation of at least the alternative part of the festival. One year later, the first year of the international music festival Alternativa was held. The festival took place in two venues in Prague 6 which no longer exist today, Spektrum K and club Delta, with a great deal of assistance from Dejvické Theatre.

Since then, the festival, which follows music acts that are outside the mainstream, has been held annually in various venues throughout Prague. In 1994 the festival helped open the Archa Theatre (formerly used exclusively for theatre performances) for concerts and music projects and the theatre became Alternativa’s main venue for several years.

Over the past 21 years, the festival has presented numerous artists from both the Czech Republic and around the world, including John Zorn, Iva Bittová, David Thomas, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Už jsme doma, Jablkoň, Magma, Palinckx, Hector Zazou, Faust…. and many more. This represents approximately 600 acts, primarily music acts, but also theatre ensembles, projects covering a wide range of genres, performances and workshops. Alternativa has also been the inspiration for several new projects, including festivals with a similar focus.

Since 1997 a traditional part of the festival has been Malá Alternativa which has provided a platform for new up-and-coming bands. Some of the bands which have been successfully showcased at past festivals are Sledě, živé sledě, Květy, -123 min. and Vložte kočku…

For more info check the event here on Facebook

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