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Trenčín Garage gets you out of the garage

Original article by Renat Khallo from hudba.sk


Do you know about Garáž? No, I'm not talking about that fragrant place I remember from childhood, where Grandpa used to park his "Ziguli" and later "Favorit." The garage is not just a place to store a car. Musicians and bands often use garages as rehearsal spaces, and so it's no wonder that the word "garage" has become a metaphor for the challenging yet sweet and nostalgic beginnings of many musical groups.


At the Pohoda festival, Garáž is the name and embodiment of the smallest stage, which annually moves to the city of Trenčín after the festival, becoming an independent cultural stand with its own life and program. All of this happens in collaboration with the European Capital of Culture project Trenčín 2026.


It's a paradox, but the Garáž project wants to get Slovak bands out of the garage—give them the opportunity to showcase themselves and perhaps embark on a professional career as musicians. Selected by an expert jury, producers, musicians from all over Slovakia participated in the Garáž showcase festival in September—three days full of music in Milan Rastislav Štefánik Park, pleasing the audience with their music. But that wasn't the end. On Saturday, November 25, the bands had the chance to gain knowledge of the music business during an educational workshop, where they learned a wealth of useful information, and I was delighted to attend.


členovia kapiel počúvajú prednášku

Photo: Juraj Majerský


From the early hours of Saturday, the pleasant and freshly renovated spaces of the Cultural and Creative Center Hviezda, the former Hviezda Cinema, awaited the participants. This place, which once housed the legendary Trenčín Club Lúč, called echoes of its past from every corner, invoking memories of all the concerts I had the opportunity to experience here. The organizational team from Trenčín 2026 could not have chosen a better and more "related" place for the workshop.


After the introduction, which familiarized us with the structure and schedule of the workshop day, the lecture by the creative director of the SHARPE showcase festival, Michal Berezňák, followed. He acquainted musicians with the world of showcase festivals and better orientation within it. Which festivals are worth applying to, what to do during them, and how to create contacts beneficial for further career development? Michal tried to answer these and other questions in a sufficiently exhaustive manner and, I must say, successfully.


Michal Berezňák má prednášku

Photo: Juraj Majerský


After a short break, during which I chatted with several members of the participating bands, we all awaited an interesting educational block by Matej Kráľ. He explained the world of music marketing and its importance in building an image and name, whether you are a band or an individual. It's not enough to know how to play well and compose hits. As everywhere else, even in music, it's essential to know how to sell oneself properly. Matej presented all aspects of this game with an accurate dose of nobility and wit. Participants learned about the rules of brand building, working with social networks, and proper communication with the target audience. Nestled in a comfortable chair, I asked myself, "Why didn't I know this earlier?"


Matej Kráľ sa pozerá na slide z jeho prezentácie a rozpráva

Photo: Juraj Majerský


Martin Turzík, a representative of the Trenčín-based Deadred Records label, opened an interesting debate on the collaboration between bands and record labels, or what it's like to work in one. Deadred Records has been releasing the best of the alternative scene in Slovakia for many years, doing so with great passion. As a bonus to the pleasantly and usefully spent hour, we received a gift in the form of a beautiful red vinyl containing a compilation of the best from their stable.


Barbora Bodnárová, a member of the Pohoda festival team, opened up the necessary but perhaps more "dry" topic of copyright agreements, SOZA, or financial management for bands. Despite the seriousness of the topics discussed, she found room for overview and humor, presenting them in a way that did not bore, and the hall continued to maintain a relaxed atmosphere.


členovia kapiel si píšu poznámk yz prednášky

Photo: Juraj Majerský


Once a dream, now perhaps considered by some as unnecessary in the age of the internet, is the collaboration of musicians with radio. Despite a modern era full of new possibilities, radio in the music world still maintains a certain status quo. Daniel Baláž, music dramaturgist, and presenter at the public-service Radio_FM, which is the biggest supporter of the Slovak alternative and independent scene, told us how to get into the programming of Radio_FM.


His lecture was full of useful advice, as well as sarcastic humor, which I greatly appreciated. After his educational workshop, a round of our questions followed, of which there were indeed plenty, and Daniel had his hands full. We didn't let him go for about the next hour, and we probably delayed his expected arrival in the capital, which Baláž likes to say would separate it from the rest of Slovakia. A quality lecture spiced with standup (actually sit-down) in which he certainly applied his rich hosting experience.


Daniel Baláž z Radio_FM rozpráva do mikrofónu

Photo: Juraj Majerský


The entire educational block of Garáž concluded with a networking activity in the KKC Hviezda café, where participants had the opportunity to establish useful contacts and friendships, or just express mutual sympathies.


Trenčín 2026, in collaboration with the Pohoda festival, has made a truly valuable event that can significantly help aspiring bands with better orientation and visibility. I have nothing left but to thank for a pleasant and usefully spent day in the European Capital of Culture for 2026.


If you want to listen to the bands that participated in Garáž, here is their list: (+ link for playlist)

  • Eversame

  • Rapsodéve

  • ZAFFER 9

  • Džez a hrúza

  • East side sorry

  • The Spants

  • Lènok

  • Sona Kmet

  • Cup of Tea

  • Obligatne

  • KMC

  • Julie Nox

  • Kyanydhedzz

  • Dave Brannigan

  • RAYLAB

  • Adhok

  • Ranjevš & Óbasz

  • last millennials.

  • Digästorcie

  • Personal Spaces

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