Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival is planning to host a series of one-day events with fewer than 1,000 people each day after postponing its 30,000-person main event due to COVID-19 concerns.

Organisers have started working on smaller festival events called ‘Pohoda on the Ground’, after discussions with epidemiologists found that the most realistic situation is allowing events outside for 1,000 people this July.

A spokesperson for Pohoda Festival told TheTicketingBusiness: “During these debates, more factors (including the health of visitors & staff, government decisions, artist cancellations) were questioned and discussed. The current situation and expected developments in Slovakia were taken into account as well as cancellations of other Festivals in Europe, which will affect the touring of international artists.

“We came to the conclusion that Pohoda Festival in its full format, with 30,000 people most likely won’t be realisable while guaranteeing the health and safety of our visitors, artists and staff and at the same time won’t be likely to be allowed by the government in July 2021.”

The spokesperson added that they plan to make all their events accessible for fully vaccinated visitors, those who have immunity after surviving COVID-19 and visitors that can provide a negative test result before entering the event.

Organisers said they will look to set up a testing system, as well as a contact tracing system.

“Adapted solutions for festivals and all measures are definitely workable,” the spokesperson said. “How we will set this up production-wise, we are still discussing it internally.”

Pohoda on the Ground has opted to retain the international line-up of the original festival, but two other stages will be different each day, curated by Slovak Music Clubs.

“We are planning to repeat the part of the program each day, so we can welcome a new group of visitors every day,” the spokesperson said. “We are working on a version with the possibility to stay overnight.”

The smaller format events will take place at the Trencin Airport, which organisers said will open “new possibilities” as it is a large and open space. The group is considering setting up an auto-camping (like Coachella), allowing bikes and skateboards in the area, and using the space in a different way to the usual Pohoda Festival. The final format will depend on the actual situation in Slovakia in July.

Tickets for this yearʼs edition will remain valid for Pohoda 2022. Ticketholders can also receive a full or partial refund for tickets.

“At the same time, we would like to ask those who have tickets for this year to keep them for 2022,” the spokesperson said. “It’s only thanks to our festival-goers’ support that we have been able to continue as a team. This support makes it possible for Pohoda to continue in the future and we are so grateful for it.

“Most of the Pohoda fans asked how they can support the festival. Many of the reactions were supportive words for the organisation and shouts that the fans are looking forward also to Pohoda 2022. We are very grateful for these reactions, it’s one of the reasons that keeps us going.”

The return of the full festival will take place between July 7-9, 2022.

Images: Pohoda Festival