Colours of Ostrava 2019: Beyond The Headliners

Colours of Ostrava 2019: Beyond The Headliners

Colours of Ostrava 2021

Colours of Ostrava 2021

Ostrava, Czechia

Colours of Ostrava returns in July, once again offering an impressive host of major artists like The Cure and Florence + the Machine, alongside a smorgasbord of acts from an eclectic range of genres; rock, jazz, pop, indie, classical, folk, you name it, it'll be catered for.

In amongst the imperious vistas of the industrial relic that is Dolní Vítkovice Ostrava, its vast, winding iron maze mirrors the sentiment of the festival's lineup, in the sense that there's as much to explore within the festival's locale as there is on the diverse roster of artists.

So while we're not urging you to miss the artists that perch further up the bill, there's plenty of magnificent music from lesser-known artists that'll be performing across the festival's 22 stages.

Here are our picks, that we implore you not to miss:

Bo Ningen


Spacey psychedelic-rock bands from Japan are becoming more prevalent on festival posters, and Bo Ningen have been blazing the trail for some years now. Formed in London, adored by Yoko Ono, and former collaborators with krautrock demi-god Damo Suzuki, the Japanese four-piece combine abrasive noise-rock with complex, avant-garde psychedelia; it's a real trip. 

Lewis Capaldi


Most certainly less cerebral and more radio-friendly than the aforementioned band, Lewis Capaldi has ground his way into the mainstream charts with a combination of heartfelt, grizzly balladry, and a laissez-faire attitude to the conventional multi-media promotion; ultimately, just taking the p**s.

A cheeky-chappy at heart with the disarming wit of a true Scotsman, Capaldi's persona juxtaposes his 'sad boy' body of work, which makes him wholly lovable. 

Shilpa Ray


With touring as part of Nick Cave's backing band on her CV, Shilpa Ray follows on from a lineage of poetic punks like Patti Smith, but injects a dose of ferocity that Iggy Pop in his prime would approve of. 

Equipped with a bluesy howl, razor-sharp tongue, and oozing with cool, Ray's rasping set will shift between Detroit-esque punk and lo-fi piano-centric melodies; depending on her mood that given day, it'll either jolt or delicately lull you, or anyone, out of a festival hangover. 

Sons Of Kemet XL


The burgeoning South-London jazz scene that seems to be bleeding into the collective consciousness at present has been steadily shaped by multi-instrumentalist Shabaka Hutchings, bandleader of Sons Of Kemet. 

Garnering a coveted Mercury Prize Award nomination last year for third album Your Queen Is A Reptile was undoubtedly a turning point in the scenes' widening popularity, and the jazz collective ('XL' implies an even larger collection of musicians) are one of a growing breed of artists championing the influence and versatility of modern jazz music.

Ólafur Arnalds


Powerfully evocative, but comfortingly tranquil. Deeply personal, but equally universal. Ólafur Arnalds taps into a landscape of emotion, memory, and motivation with his trance-inducing arrangements, drawing from his own experiences in life and loss. 

Most definitely one of the more sombre artists on the Colours of Ostrava bill, but as those who have already seen the Icelandic composer in full-flow can attest, it is a transformative encounter. 


Scandinavia produces boundary-pushing pop stars at an unfathomable rate, and Danish pop polymath MØ certainly abides by no rule book; with history in punk music, she brings a DIY vibe to polished, anthemic pop that's as infectiously danceable as it is meaningful.

Colours of Ostrava 2019 takes place in Ostrava, Czechia on 17-20 July.


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