About festival

Dobršská brána 2018 International Music Festival – A Gateway to the World of Music

Date and venue of the project: Dobrš, 17 – 18 August 2018

The second edition of the Dobršská brána festival (Dobrš Gateway) will offer refreshing insights into the world of contemporary music without programming compromises and formal ranking of performers by genre. The artists will present their art that morphs from genre to genre and combines folk music elements with jazz and chamber music. Accordingly, the programming of the festival and its motto follow the notion of “A Gateway to the World of Music”.

Woodwind instruments are the uniting theme of the festival’s second edition. The audiences will hear them playing in combinations with various other instruments, freely improvising and playing folk songs as well as compositions intended for the specific performers. From the woodwind family, mostly clarinets and saxophones of all ranges and sizes will be featured, as will various flutes, shawms and whistles. The music will range from ancient (the composer and mystic Hildegard of Bingen lived in the 12th century) to contemporary and current, created at the moment of the performance.

The individual concerts as part of the festival will take place at various locations throughout Dobrš. Chamber music concerts will take place at the Virgin Mary Annunciation Church, some performances will take place on the premises of the mansion and citadel, and others next to St John and Paul Chapel. As a result, both listeners and musicians will experience Dobrš and its cultural heritage first-hand.

The festival follows and conforms to the global trend of seeking new links between traditional, classical and contemporary music, creating a musical event with a singular character that is second to none on the Czech musical scene. The festival also provides a new opportunity for global musicians to meet Czech audiences in a location that may seem like an unexpected choice to many visitors but has a wealth of tradition including music, yet lives outside the traditional Czech centres. The fact that the festival’s programming focus was a step in the right direction has been demonstrated by the success of last year’s edition, supported by the response from the audience and music critics’ reviews; it featured performers from Norway, Hungary, Poland, Germany and Czech Republic over the course of two days. As such, the event truly has an European reach.

The Association has been expanding its operating range in terms of content and location for the second year now. The Association’s activities are proven throughout years, yet they always bring something new every time, annually attracting a wide array of famous artists, professional and amateur alike, in many genres, and now they include a unique music festival whose specific focus (second to none even in the varied offer of music festivals) draws an entirely new type of visitors, musicians and fans to Dobrš in South Bohemia.

The multi-instrumental and multi-genre nature of the festival is the perfect complement to the location, allowing the visitors to experience its architectural heritage in a natural way. The festival provides a unique platform where visitors are confronted with the traditional and immediate environment of a South Bohemian village that has retained its strong historic genius loci and the locals are motivated to step outside their musical comfort zones, strike up new relations and seek ways to musical genres and styles that are not promoted in rural and remote areas and would otherwise remain inaccessible to them, especially as a live experience. The informality of the rural environment allows the music to loosen into experimental zones, creating a unique and original experience that owes a lot to folk music roots and, in a broader context, to the rural environment. The festival project seeks to revive those roots and restore the traditional rural cultural and social customs; as part of the event, the former traditional pub surviving in its original guise is open and accessible, and as the former cultural centre of the community, it regains its purpose while getting a new, contemporary and attractive content, especially for the local citizens who sorely lack a venue for social events at present.


As far as social and – in a broader sense – cultural activities are concerned, the Association also organised several often visited and quoted symposia in recent years, including Dobrš ’96 focused on restoring architectural heritage in the regions, Locals and Those from the City, CITY versus VILLAGE, VILLAGE versus CITY, Culture as a Means of Communication (The Role of Culture in Forming and Cultivating Communication between Rural People), Civic Society and the Village (Civil Associations – 5 Years of the Existence of Sdružení pro obnovu Dobrše – So What Next?) and other.


The first edition of the DB international music festival included a series of lectures read by Irish composer John Buckley on the topic of musical composition with music examples at the local Galerie CoCo. International as well as Czech visitors could get a glimpse of Czech decorative art (courtesy of the exhibition ‘3 Velíšci – Martin Velíšek_ Adam Velíšek _ Martin Velíšek’). The second edition of the DB IMF 2018 should provide an opportunity to strike up more contacts and offer more art and music through accompanying events held at Galerie CoCo on the premises of the former mansion.


The multi-spectrum activities targeting the widest possible audience seek and form the new cultural identity of the rural environment reflecting the needs of contemporary man in the 21st century in the European context.