Various venues, Prague
30 September - 5 October

For the last decade, Lunchmeat Festival has taken place in the gothic streets of Prague, where it consistently hosts an eclectic programme of multidisciplinary artists. This year the programme extends beyond the city’s National Gallery, taking place in new spaces away from the trendy streets of third wave cafes and design-focused homeware stores.

Since coming under fire for lack of representation among the local scene back in 2016, Lunchmeat has resurfaced stronger than ever with performances booked from both upcoming and established Czech and Slovakian talent. Lunchmeat has always been visually focused with a line-up dominated by live audiovisual shows. This year the programme spans six nights and three venues, kicking off with an immersive experience at the Planetárium Praha. Alex Guevara visuals focus on cerebral activity from within the nervous system; this is soundtracked by Dasha Rush’s intricate sound design as part of their live 360° AV show. On Wednesday night Georgian export Irakli and local artist Rezo Glonti transform the former soap factory Ankali with a night of ambient music. These sonic sketches are enjoyed by audience members who proceed to take their shoes off and lie across the pillow-strewn floor.

As the rain sets in each day, the night programme shifts downstairs. Beneath the national gallery, the concert and club stage offer two differing schedules of live AVs and world premieres. Stockholm-based artists Varg and AnnaMelina return as their FLORA duo, squashing rumours of their departure from the experimental project. Besides the blue wah that sweeps the stage, overall the mood is sombre, and as the smoke clears mid-set, the pair stand champagne in hand, paying tribute to a friend and fellow musician who was recently murdered. The audience remain transfixed as Lotic and Emmanuel Biard present their touring AV project Endless Power. Laser lights ricochet off the curved mirror backdrop as Lotic’s kinetic vocals and audio interludes coat the room, narrating the experiences of trans women. Prague artist Katarzia takes to the stage to represent the local scene with Antigona, introducing international guests to the melodic tones of the Slovak language. She layers her soft synths with powerful lyrics condemning the Conservative ideologies of national politicians.

Retiring from the concert hall punters move to the club stage. LSDXOXO’s high BPM closing set is scheduled to conclude at 3.30am but doesn’t start winding down until around 5.30am. The following night HDMIRROR draws in a mass of rave-ready spectators for his Ascension show. Fists punctuate the air as his entrancing visuals morph hollow-eyed lineaments into fireworks before melting away to reveal a mutating montage of nonsense. Later that night Barely Legal’s new club series makes its fourth stop on the Pretty Weird tour, bringing along TSVI and Jensen Interceptor for the ride. The three journey through sets that bridge fervid techno with stirring electro and bass-heavy belters.

The atmosphere in each of the festival’s spaces is one of openness, which is matched by the attentive and respectful nature of attendees. Embracing eclecticism is at the core of Lunchmeat’s events; each year, the team fashion new approaches on delivering visual shows and sonic experiences. 2019’s edition did exactly this; it reflected the curatorial growth of the team behind the event, and featured a higher ratio of impressive local talent – all who are pinning Prague to the map of international music.