Tell Me About the Festival: Pohoda (which means “chill”) is one of Slovakia’s largest and oldest music festivals. Surrounded by gentle rolling mountains, the grassy airfield venue means plenty of space for dancing, relaxing, and enjoying the festival.
2016 Artist Sampler: The Prodigy, PJ Harvey, The Savages, Sigur Ros, Gogol Bordello, Parov Stelar
Estimated Size: 30,000
The MFW Beer Index: $1.50 for 1/2 liter. Score!
What Makes This Festival Stand Out: The vibe. I don’t pick favorites, but after attending 50 festivals in 20 countries, this one that felt like home. True to its name, the absolute chillness of Pohoda and the variety of music makes this a festival I would recommend to anyone.
Who Attends This Festival: Forget hostel backpacking and bus tours. The best way to experience the people of a country is to attend a festival like this one where the mainly Slovakian crowd couldn’t have be more friendly to me.
What’s the Venue Like: The expansive airfield means there’s room to spread out and lots of soft grass everywhere. There’s two large camping areas on each end and the interior is your standard festival set-up with three open-air stages and two large tent stages.
What What You Change: I would ban foreign media from covering Pohoda so that the Westerners never discover this little gem.
Would You Go Back: Absolutely. Already looking for tickets.
The Green Scene: Reusable cups! I’ve seen them earlier this season at smaller festivals and wondered if this game changer could scale up. Pohoda proved to me that every festival should have implemented this already. The fields remained near litter free all weekend.
Payment System: Straight cash. I couldn’t be happier.
Family-Friendly Factor: 10 out of 10. Pohoda delivered a master course in how you do family festivaling with their kids-only activity area and stage. The more jubilant festies remained respectful to families and there’s a wealth of spacious spots to enjoy the music. Would love to see more festivals in the US follow this lead and introduce more families to the festival world.
Details, Details, Details
Where Is it and How Hard is it to Get There: Pohoda is outside the city of Trencin — about 60km north of Bratislava. Trains from Vienna, Prague, and Bratislava seemed to be the easiest option getting to the festival.
Where Do I Sleep: Camping.
Eating and Drinking: I’m still dreaming about the food vendors at Pohoda. There’s national picks like potato pancakes, chicken noodle soup, and fried cheese along with vegetarian options. I ate at the stalls all weekend. Beer tents rule the drinking although if you search it out, there’s a Czech sweet wine that tasted delicious.
Getting To and From the Festival: There’s a shuttle bus from the central train station that leaves every 20 minutes or so and costs under $1. There’s also parking if you bring a car.