Fluff Fest

Fluff Fest
Underdogs Fluff Cut.jpg
Fluff logo wall painting at Underdogs', a venue run by the organizers in Smíchov, Prague
Genre
DatesThursday–Monday in late July
Location(s)www.flufffest.net

Fluff Fest is an independent hardcore punk festival held each July at the Czech town of Rokycany, near Plzeň. A significant event for the DIY music scene of the Czech Republic and the punk subculture of Europe,[1] it is associated with movements such as veganism, anarchism, feminism, anti-fascism, and straight edge.[2][3][4] It features an international lineup of bands from diverse punk rock genres including hardcore, crust punk, emo, and grindcore, as well as talks and zines.[1][5][4] Catering is provided by local animal rights organization Svoboda zvířat.[3][6]

Fluff originated from Y2K HC Fest, an event organized in August 2000 in Plzeň by Michal Kočan and Tomáš Kadlec. They renamed it for the 2001 edition and moved it to the Rokycany airfield in 2006. Attendance exceeded 3000 by 2012, when a free side stage called Psych Tent was established outside the paid festival entrance.[7] Organized by Jakub Ďuraško of Stoned to Death Records, it has spearheaded the inclusion of more experimental rock and electronic music into the lineup.[1][4] Fluff currently runs for four days, starting on Thursday with a free warm-up and ending on Sunday night.[4] Additional shows are held in Prague on Thursday and Monday.[8][6]

Location

Rokycany townscape in July 2015. The airfield lies just beyond the centre-left forest.

Rokycany is a town with a population of just over 14,000, located 17 km east of the regional capital Plzeň. The Rokycany airfield is within walking distance of the town centre and train station. Two paths can be taken from the station: the more frequented one passes by the town's swimming pool (which is very popular with the festival audiences on hot days)[9][10][11] while the slightly faster one leads through a forest and hillside which is a protected natural area.[12] The airfield lies between this forest and a highway.[12]

Fluff Fest has been described as a "strain" on Rokycany,[13] which is not otherwise frequented by foreign visitors and subculture members. It brings a business boom to the town, especially in sales of vegetarian and vegan food.[14][13] The Czech police, including local municipal units, road units, and investigative units, monitor Fluff with the stated goal of preventing crime, tackling theft, and making sure transportation runs smoothly.[15] Theft of cash, credit cards, mobile phones, and cameras has been an issue on the campsite and the organizers pay to remove graffiti from buildings and rented equipment each year.[3] Nevertheless, Michal Kočan stated in a 2013 interview that unlike in Plzeň where the festival was originally held, few complaints from the residents have reached the organizers and their relationship with the local authorities, who appreciate the international attention that the festival brings, is generally positive.[3]

In a 2011 interview, Kočan reflected that the festival's location in the Czech Republic serves as a meeting point between "tired" Western Europe where hardcore punk scenes are oversaturated and "raw" Eastern Europe where they are still forming.[16] In 2013, he confirmed that he hopes to showcase more Eastern European bands at future editions.[3]