Most American ravers know very little about the scene in the former Eastern Bloc, aside perhaps from Berghain and the festivals in Croatia. Drum & bass denizens would likely know about Let It Roll out of Prague and maybe that Czechia is a hub of modern neurofunk, but may not know how big the scene actually is in Czechia and Slovakia. In fact, it’s quite widespread, with the popular imagination festival, loads of clubs and some of the most popular producers coming out of everywhere from Dresden to Russia. Beats for Love, a festival based in Ostrava, Czechia on the Polish border, seems to have been one of the most overlooked by North American punters while simultaneously becoming one of the biggest festivals on the planet. It’s time said punters take notice.
With festival fans beginning work on planning their summers around now, it’s a good time to look up Beats for Love. Conceived in 2014 by festival director Kamil Rudolf as a way to bring big rave names to Central Europe for reasonable prices, B4L’s tenth anniversary is set for early July, 2024. It’s a full week-long festival set in an old ironworks with cool, dystopian vibes, in an urban and easily accessible area and features huge lineups, with 2023’s festival hosting nearly 500 artists. B4L makes sure they cover all genres as well, featuring everyone from Deadmau5 and Tiësto to A.M.C and the Eatbrain League. There are also conference-style forums during the week, daytime carnival activities and a fireworks display at the end that rivals EDC. It’s no wonder it’s now the biggest festival in Central Europe, with nearly a quarter of a million visitors at the 2023 fest.
With her career born out of the burgeoning Czech and Slovak rave scenes of the late 90s and early 00s, DJ Beaty has become a fan favorite both in her hometown of Ostrava and throughout Europe. Her high-energy house, techno and drum & bass sets are usually a mustn’t miss for those in the know, and she dances just as hard as anyone on the floor. Now working on her all-female event series Proppa Rave with childhood bestie and Dnbwear bosslady Mila207, Beaty’s also the boots-on-the-ground coordinator and marketing manager for Beats for Love. Getting to know her and her positive vibes is also getting to know B4L, so with the 2024 season approaching, YEDM decided to chat with beaty and get to know them both.
How did you get involved with music?
I have loved music since my childhood. I remember watching Michael Jackson, Queen, Madonna, etc. from the videotapes my father brought home from Germany in the 90’s. I was into music from the first heartbeat, I believe, but with electronic music I got into it for the first time because of my friend Mila207. Her father introduced her to the first techno party at Fabric – Ostrava. After this experience. We went to this club all the time for years, and since then we never visit (more pop-oriented) disco clubs anymore. Literally after the first party I knew I wanted to be a DJ. I love the connection between crowd and DJ. I started going to DJ school and practicing (on vinyl at the time) and the rest is history!
For the Americans who are just now hearing about it, can you give us a little history on Beats for Love?
Beats for Love is an electronic dance music festival held at the heart of the Industrial National Monument in Ostrava (an actual UNESCO World Heritage Site). It’s surrounded by the ironworks scenery of the Lower Vítkovice area, so it’s got a very different vibe. This year we will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the festival and because we’re so well-established now, we’ve been able to fill it with plenty of outstanding music on 15+ stages headlining by the biggest names all over the world, not to mention a rich accompanying program and loads of other activities (including fun for kids during the day) for four days. This creates a really unique atmosphere full of fun and enjoyment!
What was the idea behind the festival and how have you seen it grow or change over the years?
The original idea was to organize an event in an industrial space and the original idea was to show electronic music to as many people as possible, which for us meant “a lot of music for little money.” Of course, over time, the festival got bigger, and with that bigger names are added, and with that came an increase in prices, but we are still one of the cheapest festivals year in and year out in terms of the price/performance ratio so we feel our original mission still stands.
How have you been able to get such huge talent to come to the festival each year?
We’re a team here at B4L so I think the best person to answer this is George Ramík, our festival booking manager:
The festival is expanding year by year, not only in terms of production but also the composition of the program. Every year we manage to book a better lineup and this is also connected with the fact that the festival wants to grow. In order for the festival to be better, we need to put more resources into the line-up and we strive to bring people a better program every year.
I think the reason why big headliners like to come back to us and want to play here is the unique environment of the old factory, which is not found anywhere else in the world. The main reason, in my opinion, is because of our artist care. We go above and beyond with high-quality artist care and first-class facilities for the whole week. Agents and managers visit our festival to see what Beats for Love is all about and they received first-class service too, which they greatly appreciate. I also think it’s our curated image. Our festival has a face and we keep our relationships strong. Artists and their agents already know us from the communication before the festival and these are the same people they will meet at the venue. We are not just a company, but a team and a family. The same people have been working together on this festival for a long time, so the artists know exactly who they are and they know they can always count on us to take care of them and present a great festival.
For you personally, how does the festival tie in with your own music career?
For me this event is always the highlight of the year, not only because I work on it the whole year but it is one of the biggest crowds I get to play to. It also helps that it is in my hood, I get to meet all my DJ, producer and industry friends in one place and I don’t even have to travel! I feel so happy to be involved with one of the most important rave events of the year.
Where would you like to see the festival go in the future?*
*I asked our head of marketing, Mathiass O´Zana, to weigh in on this one:
Our goal is to be at the level of such giants as Tomorrowland or Glastonbury, which are known all over the world. In the meantime, the most important thing for us is that the festival still has so many great and satisfied fans, because it is not possible without them and mainly we are doing it for them!
How has it been trying to manage the festival as well as doing your own gigs?
I´m working for Beats for Love as a marketing manager so during the week I’m going to work normally and during the weekends I’m doing shows. Sometimes it is challenging to be at “work” all the time, but when it is your passion and you love what you do, it just doesn’t feel like you are at work.
What is your favorite part of touring and playing so many gigs?
I love to visit new places and meet new people. I’m doing one or two gigs during the week so it’s quite tiring sometimes with the distances to venues are very long. After a weekend full of gigs I’m really tired but as I said, I love what I do so it also gives me a lot of energy.
What’s your goal as a musician?
At the moment it’s to continue what I’m doing and try to do my best as a DJ. My goal this year is to take my DJ skills to the next level, which will liven up my performance so mainly I’m focusing on DJing right now. Also I would like to start my own production but at the moment I’m fully busy with my family, job and projects so at the moment I’ve got a pretty full plate.
Any upcoming projects for you or teasers for next year’s B4L?
This year Beats for Love will celebrate our tenth anniversary, so the preparations are in full swing. We have so many upgrades to the different areas and visuals to ensure the best possible music experience for our #peopleoflove! Last year at the festival we started with the new project “Talking Beats” which is a conference and a meeting of the organizational team with the people at the festival, which was a great success. This year we would like to increase it, extend it to more days, invite interesting guests again and discuss topics related to electronic music, mental health and other interesting topics that are connected to music and the festival in general.