Brass bands and art residences: the Bavarian-Bohemian cultural project ends in Pilsen

To ta Heľpa tape |  Photo: Libor Nesvadba

A group of musicians stand in a circle in the inner courtyard of Pilsener Depo 2015 and make music. The traditional Slovak folk song “To ta Heľpa” will be played. Twenty or thirty people listen, sing and dance. A video artist is showing a nearby performance. Shortly before, documentaries had been shown in the adjoining room. Outside, beer from a Czech microbrewery is served. Inside the former bus hall, Bavarian beer, among other things, flows into beer mugs.

Deposit 2015 |  Photo: Libor Nesvadba

The Bavarian-Bohemian festival “Treffpunkt: Kontakt” offered a colorful program during the weekend in Pilsen. Guests also came to the former Pilsener Verkehrsbetriebe tram depot, called Depo 2015, for a variety of reasons. Some wore lederhosen or dirndl and appeared to be here mainly due to the Oktoberfest romance, while others were particularly excited about the discussions with the artists in attendance.

Photo: Libor Nesvadba

The festival was organized by the cities of Pilsen and Regensburg. Melina Opitz works in the culture department of the Upper Palatinate city on the Danube. You told Radio Praga International:

“This festival is very special because it is the latest in our culture | contact | creative project. We have a variety of offerings here and there are music from different genres. Today we are on the second day, tomorrow there will be workshops – especially for children. And right now the band ‘The Heimatdamisch’ is playing and everyone is dancing! “

The Haimatdamisch |  Photo: Libor Nesvadba

Everyone is dancing, and not without reason, because the music of The Heimatdamisch leaves only a few unnoticed. Modern pop hits and Bavarian brass music come together in a lively crossover. In addition to The Heimatdamisch, 15 other bands performed at the “Treffpunkt: Kontakt” festival.

Several Bavarian-Bohemian events of this magnitude have occurred in recent years, as the cities of Pilsen and Regensburg have been collaborating for a long time.

Photo: Libor Nesvadba

“Pilsen and Regensburg have been twin cities for almost 30 years and are closely linked. We have worked together even more closely, especially since we started working together as part of the European Capital of Culture Pilsen 2015. This is the second EU project we are carrying out together. “ according to Melina Opitz.

Photo: Libor Nesvadba

The first project cycle lasted from 2017 to 2019. The second period was entitled “culture | contact | creative”. This project ended with the Pilsen festival.

“Now that it’s drawing to a close, there’s a little bit of melancholy in the air, especially since the residency artists are here,” says Opitz. “This gives the festival a completely different face.”

In addition to the city of Regensburg, the Centrum Bavaria Bohemia in Schönsee was also involved in the culture | contact | creative project. Jindřich Jindřich co-organized the project for the city of Pilsen. What exactly the residency program mentioned by Melina Opitz looked like, she said on national broadcasts of Czech radio last week:

The Heimatdamisch |  Photo: Libor Nesvadba

“22 young artists took part in the program, eleven from Bavaria and eleven from the Czech Republic. The residencies lasted from two to four weeks. During this period the artists made their own project. It could be anything in any field imaginable: visual arts, theater, digital performance … We haven’t really set boundaries in terms of genre. The results of the project are consequently different ”.

Conversation of the artist with the band 'Zweifel und Caecilia' |  Photo: Libor Nesvadba

As Melina Opitz recalls, stays in the other country have sometimes had a very strong influence on the artistic work of the artists in residence:

“The band ‘Zweifel und Caecilia’ wrote new songs here in Pilsen. Jan Chabr has designed a board game inspired by the city of Regensburg. Brothers Lisa and Jonas Langbein in turn designed practical alternative city maps for Pilsen and incorporated their experiences of the West Bohemian city into them. For example, it’s about measuring houses based on their size and trying completely different perception models. “

As the head of culture explains, the artists were not left to fend for themselves during their stay in Pilsen or Regensburg.

“The residencies only lasted two to four weeks. That’s why we have provided matching partner artists. These have been busy with resident-like projects. This paved the way for guests to enter the local art scene. In addition, lasting collaborations and interpersonal relationships have emerged, which will certainly continue in other projects. It’s really nice to see. “

With such a successful project, the question arises whether the EU culture | contact | creative project will continue in the future. “There is still no ideal solution on how to continue the project,” says Melina Opitz. “But here at the festival in particular, multiple voices have expressed the hope for a sequel. We will therefore see to what extent there are opportunities for implementation ”, concludes Opitz with cautious optimism.

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