The Mighty Sounds festival is widely acknowledged to be one of the best summer parties around – and rightfully so. The unique three-day music event focuses primarily on punk and punk rock, rock’n’roll, hardcore, reggae, ska, rockabilly, indie rock and other styles of music that are derived from, or closely related to, these styles. Beside its amazing music, Mighty Sounds is equally famous for its unique, captivating atmosphere. We interviewed founder and one of the organisers Jakub Siňor, who told us everything about the history of the festival and what we can expect this year.
This year marks the 14th edition of the Mighty Sounds festival. How do you look back on the whole history and where did the festival shift in that time?
We are very proud of what we built and what we are part of. The team itself is essentially a family and such fact significantly projects into the festival mood. I don’t exaggerate when I say that we all create the festival, including bands, suppliers and visitors. Everyone co-creates somehow. We feel the support and joy from all of them for being a part of it. We try very hard to be able to continue on. As for the shift; I see improvements mainly in better organization, better facilities, equipment etc. But the most important thing - the atmosphere - I think it remains the same. And I hope it will always stay this way forever.
Where did the original idea to organize the festival come from?
We were young and courageous. We were booking a lot of club concerts of our favourite bands. A friend who needed help in finding the festival sponsor came to me one spring. So we got into it and organized a first edition. We didn’t find any sponsor however. We found Mighty.
How do you remember the first year?
It was incredible. I really did not believe what we accomplished in a few months, how many people arrived and how they were enthusiastic about Mighty. A lot of things were actually pretty chaotic and the weather screwed us, too. But we made it through and were clear about continuing on.
How do you prepare the whole thing? I can imagine that preparations start immediately after the previous volume ends.
It's a year-round job. We try to enjoy a little break but essentially in August, just a few weeks after the festival is finished, we start to gather and begin with the preparations. Unfortunately, it’s not just about the organization of the festival itself. We also have to fight the authorities and bureaucracy. Not only it takes time, but our money and nerves as well.
Do you perceive, in all these years, any changes in regards to visitor composition, or current music trends?
Since year one we try to cover all of our favourite music genres ranging from ska to hardcore and various guitar bands. Ska music dominated the programme in the beginning. Brasses eventually diminished and were substituted by guitars. Our visitors changed in similar way. Some of them put their hats away and acquired tattoos instead. But they are basically the same people who avoid mainstream culture and just wanna enjoy three days of ease. Plus there are more foreign visitors nowadays.
How would you describe Mighty Sounds festival to this year’s first-timers?
I've been to two weddings this year and each time I felt a little bit like at Mighty. It’s simply a celebration. Totally peaceful atmosphere where everyone is welcome and can have fun at their will. They can enjoy superb bands, taste a variety of great foods, take a nap in relaxation zones or sport a little, enjoy a theatre play... We get letters of thanks (Yes! Letters of thanks!) from local people, who are curious to visit and are completely carried away by all the things they see! Any prejudices burn down during the first few minutes. Generally the older they are, the more they are thrilled and happy to come back.
Which bands of this year’s line up would you recommend to the visitors?
It depends on their style of course. I personally look forward to The Dreadnoughts, because it's one of the most spontaneous bands I know. I also love the guitar screamers from The Bronx, but I haven’t seen them yet.
Are you going to introduce some innovations this year?
We try to improve the festival grounds annually to be as comfortable as possible for the visitors. So once again we are opening more relaxation zones. Also there will be only one entrance in order to simplify the whole infrastructure.
The great added values of the Mighty Sounds are also leisure facilities and wonderful food stalls. How much do you focus on making visitors feel good throughout the festival?
It is as important to us as dramaturgy. So their planning is, again, a year-round affair. And it is a fact that I did not find so much praise for festival food at other festivals message boards. There is everything ranging from festival classics to exotic cuisines, pulled meat or vegan orgies.
Do you have time to go to bands concerts?
Minimally. For me it’s usually about going to check on a couple of songs to make sure we made the right choice. Whether the band really performs the way we imagined, and if we ever book it again in the future. To relax and enjoy the performance is very hard for us promoters. We have to watch an awful lot of things.