Airport Trenčín 11 — 13 July 2024
Pohoda – Keeping up the freedom

Pohoda – Keeping up the freedom

Pohoda Festival has received a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under EEA Grants for the project Keeping up the Freedom. The project was co-financed from the state budget of the Slovak Republic. The project is partnered by Iceland Music (organisation dedicated to exporting Icelandic music).

The project includes the organisation of the following activities: Concert for Martina and Ján in Gregorovce, Café Kušnierik and Tepláreň Programme at Pohoda Festival, and Concert for the Attentive.



Thanks to the project, we were able to bring not only interesting bands from Island to Pohoda in 2023, but also interesting debates and bands from Slovakia.

Symbolically, three slots at Café Kušnierik belonged to one of the most important personalities of the Icelandic music scene – Sigtryggur Baldursson. Siggi was a close friend of our dear Juraj Kušnierik, the journalist, activist and great man after whom the stage is named. Siggi was a co-founder of the legendary band The Sugarcubes, or Kukl, in which Björk sang. Now, in addition to playing music, he also dedicates himself to exporting Icelandic music – and with success, as the small island's reputation in the world music scene proves.

Siggi is obviously a man of many faces, which he shows under the name Bogomil Font. Bogomil Font performed latino, swing and mambo in the style of Sinatra and Nat King Cole, all in the Icelandic way and with an amazing comedic twist.

In the Paddan project he plays with Birgir Mogensen, with whom he also played in the band Kukl. At Pohoda, Paddan premiered their new stuff, which will be officially released this autumn, so the visitors could hear exclusive songs that no one has heard before.

Before the concerts, Siggi talked about how the Icelandic musical miracle came about and whether it is possible for Slovakia to do the same.

As part of the discussion entitled “Trenčín sa mení, buď pri tom!” (Trenčín Is Changing, Be Part of It!), guests explored why Trenčín decided to invest in culture and how receiving the title of European Capital of Culture and creating two cultural and creative centres – Hviezda and Fab lab – is transforming Trenčín into a quality place to work and relax.

Another Islandic band performing at Café Kušnierik was also the amazing electropop Vök, and among the Slovak bands, there were RozpoR, Karpatské chrbáty, Tono S., Matus O., Anika Iris, Got Blue Balls, and a memorial concert for Dano Heriban.


This year we continued the activities of the Slovenská Tepláreň project at the festival. We brought a new stage called 'Tepláreň', which not only became a symbolic place to celebrate freedom, LGBTI+ rights and equality for all.
In the morning, Tepláreň hosted theatre performances and discussions as part of the 'Tepláreň Nahlas’ series (Tepláreň Out Loud). Among theatres, we hosted PiNKBUS, Jozef Vaľo and Smútok v srdci, falafel v placke.

The Tepláreň Nahlas discussion series focused on topics such as 'Family for All', 'Europe for All', 'Church for All' and 'Human Rights for All'.

The afternoon programme was dedicated to music, entertainment and dance. Cakes Da Killa from America brought a dose of hip-house, the British band The Orielles gave a fantastic indie concert, Nina Kohout performed some new songs, and Czech artist Miss Petty put on a captivating drag show of her own creations. The musicians NaiKavols and Zabiť Františka were great as well, Tep La Ren Cabaret offered a lot of (though not only) musical programme including a performance by Vojtik. DJs Vesnu, TRANSmisia and IAmNøt kept the crowd dancing with their sets until the early hours of the morning.


This year again, Pohoda Festival in cooperation with Rádio_FM brought a day of relaxation, great music and festival atmosphere to Rádio_FM's broadcast. Pohoda Day_FM took place on May 12 at the studios of Slovak Radio. Admission to the event was free.

Visitors had the chance to get a taste of what to expect at this year’s Pohoda. Pete & Bas from the UK showed what rap sounds like when performed by two seventy-year-olds. The London duo O. was presented by the organisers as a discovery from the Eurosonic Festival. The Slovak music scene was represented by pop singer Zea, drum-bass&pop project Meowlau X Val, underground rapper Dušan Vlk, indie rock band Krstní otcovia, DJ TRANSmisia and duo Waterbased, who recently released their debut album. Ukraine was also represented, with DJ Lazy Jesus playing a set with his UA TRIBAL project.

Pohoda Day_FM also featured the legendary table football tournament where visitors could win tickets to Pohoda. The event also included an official press conference where we presented other news from the festival and talked about further plans within the project Pohoda – Keeping up the Freedom, which has been funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants ( The project was co-financed from the state budget of the Slovak Republic.


The Concert for Martina and Ján took place on Saturday, May 6, on the grounds of the Primary School in Gregorovce. The concert was opened by the talented indie-folk singer and songwriter Arny Margret from Iceland, and one of the most successful and popular Slovak singers Jana Kirschner performed as well. The event also featured a discussion with Zuzana Wienk hosting Zlatica Kušnírová and Jozef Kuciak as her guests.
On May 5, Martina Kušnírová and Ján Kuciak would have celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. We commemorated their love with a powerful concert in the courtyard of the school that Martinka once attended.


On November 17, thanks to the grand for the project Keeping up the Freedom, we were able to organise another Concert for the Attentive. The event is our traditional artistic and civic celebration of the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

The programme of the Concert for the Attentive 2022 was created as a joint project of Pohoda and Konvergencie festivals, and it also brought other joint activities to the stage of SNP Square in Bratislava.

The concert was opened by the Slovak Chamber Orchestra with Jana Kirschner and Michal Kaščák. Michal also performed with the bands Bez ladu a skladu and Drť, this time together with Fedor Gál. Chalani z chatrče and the bands Neha!Rozpor and Para also performed. The bands Vec, Tono S. and Zuzana Mikulcová offered exciting collaborations, while the bands Muzička and Varjos provided a combination of Slovak and Hungarian folklore. The Jewish minority was also represented by the great musicians of the Chassidic Songs project, while Ruthenian culture was represented by Štefan Štec. The end of the concert was more contemporary with performances by B-Complex and Ukrainian singer and rapper Alina Pash.


This project also includes concerts by Icelandic artists and debates at Café Kušnierik. There is a lot of symbolism in this – Juraj Kušnierik was an admirer and promoter of Icelandic music and wrote an excellent book about it titled Hudba ostrova (Music of an Island). Icelandic artists Arny Margret, Lay Low and the duo Gróa performed in the venue named after Juraj. The performances of these bands were made possible by Pohoda’s partner Iceland Music. They were joined by local names such as Hvozd, Tonrádu Lue, Saténové Ruky, The Wilderness and the Roma band from Čierny Balog Šukovci. The programme also included an ecumenical service and several debates. The League for Mental Health organised a debate titled Narcissism in Everyday Life and Narcissism in PoliticsGyncast hosted a debate Pregnancy and Festivals, and SOZA (Slovak Performing and Mechanical Rights Society) celebrated its 100th years at Pohoda with a debate Women in Music and a Write Your Own Hit workshop.

100 years of SOZA: Debate and workshop at Café Kušnierik
SOZA, a long-time partner of Pohoda, celebrated its centenary in 2022. It came to Pohoda with a discussion titled Women in Music, focusing on what it means for a woman to work and create in the Slovak music industry. Jana Močková from Denník N talked with Jana Lokšenincová (Slnko Records), Ester Wiesnerová (Music Beyond Borders), singer Tamara and producer Martina Kotlárikova.

In addition to the discussion, creative Pohoda visitors had the opportunity to write their own lyrics in a lyric-writing workshop. The workshop was led by experienced Slovak lyricists Daniel Hevier, Braňo Jóbus (Vrbovské vetry, Karpatské chrbáty) and Vlado Janček (Saténové ruky).

Over the course of a hundred years, SOZA has developed into an organisation that actively promotes the rights of authors in Slovakia and abroad, and today it is a regular cultural institution that provides relevant statistics and data for the cultural community. 

Pregnancy and Festivals
Many women cannot imagine a summer without Pohoda. But going to a festival when you are pregnant? Is attending festivals even appropriate for pregnant women? Are they safe for her and the baby? For example, can excessive noise damage the hearing of the foetus? What do you need to be aware of?

Presenter Janka Imrichová discussed this with Peter Kaščák, the head of the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the University Hospital in Trenčín, on Friday from 11 a.m. at the Kušnierik Café. 


The first event we organised with the help of this grant was Concert for Martina and Ján in Gregorovce. On May 7, 2022, the stars of the indietronic genre – the band múm – performed live on the grounds of the local primary school to the soundtrack of the cult 1930s silent film Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday). Nina Kohout, last year's winner of the Radio_Head Award in the Discovery of the Year category, also performed at the concert. The event also included an installation of Michael Kačmár's SME S VAMI (WE ARE WITH YOU) and a discussion titled The Struggle for a Decent Slovakia. Zuzana Wienk was joined by Zlatica Kušnírová, Jozef Kuciak, investigator Martin Juhás and the former head of the Kuciak team, Peter Juhás.


The launch of the project was a press conference held during Pohoda Day FM on May 6, 2022 in the Slovak Radio Building and on Rádio_ FM radio waves. Fans had the opportunity to meet the organisers in person, play table football and win tickets to Pohoda Festival, while Pohoda organisers announced new names and other news, including the launch of the project, during the official press conference.

Donny Benét and his band, who Pohoda visitors have grown increasingly fond of, performed as part of the programme. The band Greatest Hits  brought a touch of the 70s, psychedelia and lots of sunshine from the east coast of Australia. A darker, dreamier mood was created by the stars of the indietronica genre – Icelandic band múm, who played live the soundtrack to the cult 1930s silent film Menschen am Sonntag. Local artists included FVLCRVM, Quatro Emocione, 52 Hertz Whale and Nina Kohout.  


The Pohoda - keeping up the freedom benefits from a € 181 000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The project has been co-financed from the State Budget of the Slovak Republic in the amount of 27 000 €. The aim of the project is to promote democracy through arts and culture, defence of basic freedoms and tolerance and talking about the fact that it is good that we have it.

If you want to know more about programmes and projects financed by
the EEA Grants in Slovakia, visit

The EEA Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. There are two overall objectives: reduction of economic and social disparities in Europe, and to strengthen bilateral relations between the donor countries and 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics.

The three donor countries cooperate closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The donors have provided €3.3 billion through consecutive grant schemes between 1994 and 2014. For the period 2014-2021, the EEA Grants amount to €1.55 billion. The priorities for this period are:
#1 Innovation, Research, Education and Competitiveness
#2 Social Inclusion, Youth Employment and Poverty Reduction
#3 Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy
#4 Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance and Fundamental Rights
#5 Justice and Home Affairs The EEA Grants are jointly financed by Iceland,

Liechtenstein and Norway, whose contributions are based on their GDP.
Eligibility for the Grants mirror the criteria set for the EU Cohesion Fund aimed at member countries where the Gross National Income (GNI) per inhabitant is less than 90% of the EU
average. All projects are co-financed by the State Budget of the Slovak Republic in the amount of 15%.