The big review: Rock for People 2024

Are you ready to rock… for people?! From Bring Me The Horizon and Parkway Drive to Avril Lavigne and YUNGBLUD, this year’s Czechia alt. mega-fest is bigger and bolder than ever.

The big review: Rock for People 2024
Isabella Ambrosio
Courtesy of Rock for People

While those in the UK are contending with a very muddy Donington, Czechia's Rock for People is a sun-drenched extravaganza of all things rock, metal, punk and every shade in between. As a record-breaking 40,000 fans descend on the old Soviet airfield – with bunkers repurposed as merch areas and swanky VIP lounges – it's quite the festival.

From Bring Me The Horizon’s otherworldly experience to YUNGBLUD’s genuinely heartwarming performance, to Delilah Bon’s feminine rage and SOFT PLAY’s rabble-rousing punk, to Dogstar’s leisure dad rock and Body Count’s all-out aggression, the four-dayer boasts one of the most exciting line-ups of the summer.

If you were there, then congratulations on having one of the best weekends of your life. If you weren't, you can relive it vicariously through our monster review below!

Of Mice & MenYouTube Music Stage

Of Mice & Men have been a band for well over a decade at this point, and their career-spanning set sure makes the audience know. Mixing new tracks like Warpaint and Castaway into other fan-favourites like Obsolete, O.G. Loko and Second & Sebring, those who grew up with the California metalcore crew can barely ask for more. As frontman Aaron Pauley commands – actually, demands – circle-pits from the enthusiastic crowd, the energy onstage and off is almost tangible. What better way to kick off a festival?

Enter ShikariKB Main Stage

To a picture-perfect backdrop – a glowing sun and clear skies – Enter Shikari bound onto the main stage with almost lethal amounts of adrenaline and vitality that it sends shockwaves through a crowd still easing into the first day afternoon. Now filling Corey Taylor's slot after the Slipknot singer had to cancel last-minute due to illness, the St Albans electro-punks put the crowd's pent-up energy to good use with pits whirling like Catherine wheels for the entire set. Harnessing the power of the people, frontman Rou Reynolds tears his shirt off before hurtling into new setlist staples Giant Pacific Octopus (i don’t know you anymore), The Void Stares Back and A Kiss for the Whole World x. Truly one of the best live bands right now.

The StrutsEuropa 2 Stage

Amongst all the Technicolor fury of the bill, there's still room for tradition, as The Struts bring the glam to Czechia. Harking back to the pomp and righteous rock’n’roll of Def Leppard or even The Darkness, campy and dramatic frontman Luke Spiller leads the show with unbridled charisma and a commanding presence. But beyond just the Derbyshire man's demeanour, his voice is surely the star of the show, showing both incredible vocal control and strength throughout as he switches between clean and gritty, including some jaw-dropping falsettos. Come for the frontman, stay for The Struts' fun and refreshing old-school sound.

The ProdigyKB Main Stage

The sun is setting over the festival, and the moody, red tones create an an intriguing and almost mystical energy for Wednesday’s headliners. As The Prodigy enter the fray, the ambience heightens, as dark purple and blue lights cast an opposing hue on the audience, before the raving mega-anthem Breathe kickstarts an ironically breathless hour-and-a-half cacophony of chaos. Lasers dart around the stage, proving just how formidable a force Liam Howlett and Maxim are, with the latter getting amongst the crowd.

Firing through a 19-song set, momentum does start to dip as we enter the final third and the crowd start running on fumes, but the sheer intensity of tracks like Invaders Must Die, Poison and the timeless Smack My Bitch Up acts as a firm reminder of why The Prodigy remain so special.

PinkshiftYouTube Music Stage

Despite being awake for 24 hours straight, filled with “manic energy” after a series of events that threatened to scupper Pinkshift’s performance, the Maryland pop-punks are nothing short of excellent. Their set is littered with old-school guitar solos and screaming vocals that almost tip the trio into post-hardcore territory, while also bringing a fusion of riot grrrl energy, tribal drums, killer breakdowns, and an incredible voice, Pinkshift blow their set out clean of the water – landing them straight into a gloriously hot spotlight.

WARGASMYouTube Music Stage

People are flocking to the YouTube Music Stage for WARGASM; some walking, some jogging, a few even running. Fuelled righteous anger and rage, Sam Matlock and Milkie Way rampage through killer screams and dirty vocals in a hellacious harmony, and bring a new level of ferocity to an already rowdy crowd. With Sam calling for some of the biggest pits of the weekend – “Men, I’m sorry. I know you’re trying but size does matter… bigger is always better” – the pure entertainment of WARGASM is accentuated by the wit and attitude brimming between the pair.

Against The CurrentKB Main Stage

Let’s take a moment to praise Chrissy Costanza, because she sounds exactly the same live as she does on record. Rocketing through a set that spans their pre- and post-major label output, Against The Current are playing like they have something to prove, as Chrissy provides some context before jumping into Blindfolded, talking about their less than ideal experience, and how it was the first song they wrote after becoming an independent band again. The chemistry between members remains unaffected, however, able to transform what's originally a lacklustre crowd into one that can't stop bouncing. The new era is here.

Body CountKB Main Stage

In typically outspoken fashion, Ice-T has a few things to say about “toxic masculinity” and “femininity” that leads a few people to disperse before the end of their roiling set. As Body Count's staunchly anti-authority mentality and fascination with serial killers provides a direct juxtaposition to Ice-T’s day job – “Fuck the police. I play one on TV. He can suck my dick” – some people seem to have no idea what is going on. Perhaps even more so when Ice brings out his nine-year-old daughter Chanel to sing bona fide banger Talk Shit, Get Shot. Bet you didn’t have that on your Rock for People bingo card.

Bambie ThugEuropa 2 Stage

Our favourite Irish witch and activist takes to the stage for an artistic and theatric performance that is peak Bambie Thug. With fluid choreography, costumes and colourful lights strobing and changing with each song, the emerald enigma brings a show. We've long know the self-proclaimed ouija-pop artist is more than just a Eurovision curio, and with bangers like P.M.P. and Tsunami (11:11), alongside an impeccable cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie, they more than prove it. Making a moving statement regarding the tragedy happening Palestine and holding up a Palestinian flag throughout the entire song, they call upon the crowd to sing along as one. A highlight of the entire day.

UnderøathEuropa 2 Stage

Metalcore mainstays Underøath are having something of a renaissance at the moment, and it's easy to see why. “You know what to do – if someone falls down, you pick them up,” declares frontman Spencer Chamberlain before launching into their chaotic cohesion of raunchy riffs, nasty breakdowns, and killer drum breaks, providing the desperately hungry crowd with everything they’ve been craving: crowdsurfing, circle-pits and walls of deaths. With band and fans feeding off one another, it's a rock-solid performance from the Floridian favourites.

Parkway DriveYouTube Music Stage

As the weaponised audience kick up so much dirt that a thin layer has cast over the entire crowd, Parkway Drive have one mission, and one mission only: to get shit moving. And boy, do they. From their pyrotechnics to a raining halo of sparks, it's a set worthy of being on the main stage. With five separate circle-pits breaking out at once and drummer Ben Gordon giving it all like the rent is due, the Aussies' chunky and intense riffs lay down the ideal environment to fling some turf into the air. Accompanied by an entire string band and basically setting the whole stage on fire, this is Parkway at the very top of their game.

The OffspringKB Main Stage

Merging the old with the new, The Offspring revel in their legacy while also unveiling some new cuts for good measure. Covering the Ramones’ iconic Blitzkrieg Bop before unloading their own classics, Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and The Kids Aren’t Alright, the band are bringing something for everyone.

Popping that nostalgia bubble with the live debut of new track, Make It All Right, The Offspring are unpredictable yet enjoyable. The passion and intensity with which they play show they still love what they do, 40 years after their inception. Blasting out the evergreen hits in Original Prankster and Want You Bad to a deafening reception makes up for the lack of movement from the band onstage. Mind you, most people are too busy headbanging to see the stage, anyway.

Neck DeepEuropa 2 Stage

Despite exhaustion taking hold of some punters choosing to lie on the grass outside the tent, Neck Deep emerge with such vim and vigour that crowdsurfers start crashing over the barricade almost instantly. Hurtling through older tracks from second album Life’s Not Out To Get You, The Beach Is For Lovers (Not Lonely Losers) is a lovely treat, which has remarkably only been played live three times before. Making sure their late-night set is for old and new fans alike, it's crazy to think Neck Deep are almost now a cross-generational punk band, yet still have so much left in the tank.

CounterpartsYouTube Music Stage

Starting with a plea from frontman Brendan Murphy, “Please don’t make me come out here,” in reference to the platform extending from the stage, the amusing introduction is a stark contrast to the heavy metalcore that Counterparts bring. Flexing chunky breakdowns and flawless barbed vocals, the band manage to get the crowd spinning and hoofing dirt into the sky – which is no mean feat before lunchtime. Wreaking havoc for the best part of an hour, it's gloriously chaotic and just what Fridays are made for.

Hot MilkKB Main Stage

Kicking off with HORROR SHOW, Hot Milk open the main stage with booming charisma that enraptures the gathering hordes. An incredibly cohesive music duo, singers Han Mee and Jim Shaw shine in their own right. Han in particular is energetic yet commanding with her commentary, letting the crowd know that they are, in fact, making her “wet”, before telling people to put their phones away before she “stomps” on them. Powering through tracks like BLOODSTREAM, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY and PARTY ON MY DEATHBED, it's a pure pop-punk party.

Delilah BonEuropa 2 Stage

Kerrang!’s favourite brat-punk Delilah Bon brings the fire and rage to Rock for People, fusing nu-metal and rap sensibilities with serious attitude. Donning matching costumes and using props over on the Europa 2 Stage, the group (aka the Brat Pack) put on a head-spinning set with tracks like Bad Attitude, Chop Dicks, Evil Hate Filled Female – which is by far the crowd favourite – and Dead Men Don’t Rape. A moving and intense performance, Delilah showcases her very best with her incredible clean vocals and gut-wrenching screams for all of the festival to see.

DogstarYouTube Music Stage

After a low-key start for Dogstar, it quickly becomes clear why so many people are gathered at at the YouTube Music Stage: to witness the one and only Keanu Reeves. And it’s completely understandable, John Wick is playing bass in front of us, but unfortunately, that seems to be the only draw. The music is fairly decent, but it's lacking any real oomph for a festival like this. Still, everyone gets to see Neo in a band, which does feel like a glitch in the Matrix when you think about it.

Avril LavigneKB Main Stage

Despite sub-headlining the main stage on a Friday night, Avril Lavigne doesn't look massively bothered. Rattling off hits like Girlfriend, What The Hell, Complicated, Here’s To Never Growing Up and Sk8er Boi with minimal enthusiasm, the highlights are found within the many instrumental breaks. In the midst of a tour for her upcoming Greatest Hits album, it's sad to see the princess of pop-punk seemingly so disinterested in her back-catalogue. When it comes to the epic finale of I'm With You, we're not so convinced by the sentiment.

Bring Me The HorizonKB Main Stage

Seeing Bring Me The Horizon in 2024 isn't really like watching a gig – it's an experience. Their insane stage production fully welcomes you into their world, with sensational lighting, AI characters and giant video game screens. Oli Sykes' voice is pristine as he roars through Teardrops, Empire (Let Them Sing), and MANTRA, as the Czechia crowd respond with the wildest pits of the entire weekend – more and more somehow spring up in the blink of an eye.

Hot on the heels of latest album POST HUMAN: NeX GEn, the Sheffield titans lean into their new era with Kool-Aid, DArkSide and Top 10 staTues tHat CriEd bloOd slotting seamlessly amongst precision-tooled ragers like Shadow Moses, Kingslayer and Obey.

The use of sinister AI system, EVE, throughout the show expertly adds to the immersion, as her commentary guides us through a storyline of a collapsing society. Not to be downbeat, though, Oli finds himself amongst the fans for an epic Drown, all captured on his own POV camera, as he gets up close and personal with the front row, even asking, “How are you, love?” to one fan sobbing into his shoulder.

In what feels like a lot shorter than 90 minutes, Oli challenges everyone to crowdsurf as the unmistakable mega-hit Throne booms through the speakers to send people home. The world that Bring Me The Horizon invited us into needs to be revisited, again and again…

Sum 41YouTube Music Stage

An emotional yet excellent set, Sum 41 grace the stage for the last time in Czechia at the end of day three. Closing their performance with a mesmerising firework show by way of a well-earned send-off, the band are engaged, warm and energetic. Like The Offspring a day earlier, it's a heady mix of new material and golden oldies, weaving Heaven :x: Hell tracks Rise Up and Dopamine amongst rock club faves Fat Lip and In Too Deep – they even cover Seven Nation Army and Smoke On The Water for good measure. As Deryck Whibley’s infectious smile beams out from the stage, it's a set of laughs had and tears shed. You will be missed, guys.

Palaye RoyaleKB Main Stage

A surprise set announced the night before, Palaye Royale claim the main stage as their own. With the great charisma and charm of frontman Remington Leith emphasised by his excellent vocal performance, Rock for People is wrapped tightly around his little finger. It's an emotionally-charged performance from the well-dressed trio, and one that sees Remington surfing on the crowd's shoulders in a dinghy and climbing the rafters like a madman, it's impossible to take your eyes off him. We can't wait to see what they come up with at Wembley.

BLACKGOLDEuropa 2 Stage

A rap-rock, nu-metal hybrid that know how to work a crowd – what's not to love? It's rowdy, moshy, and one of the sets of the weekend. Providing the ideal show for those who just want to let loose and flail their limbs around, BLACKGOLD's fusion of rap-rock, dubstep and metal feels like it's custom-made for festivals. Barely letting the crowd catch their breath, the swarming pits just keep growing. They're going to need a bigger stage next time.

iDKHOWYouTube Music Stage

Channelling something akin to Arctic Monkeys and Pulp, iDKHOW give Rock for People the full indie-alt.rock treatment – with added funk flair. Frontman Dallon Weekes dons a big brown blazer and funky beach shorts for perhaps the most out-there fashion combo we've seen all weekend, as he serenades the masses with GLOOMTOWN RATS, WHAT LOVE? and Social Climb. As black beach balls are unleashed onto the crowd, Dallon gleefully sings about how it sucks to be an opening band. Don't worry, he gets the irony.

SOFT PLAYEuropa 2 Stage

A good ol’ aggy punk duo, SOFT PLAY are a serious highlight here. Opening with Punk’s Dead, it's captivating to watch Isaac Holman scream his head off and beat the shit out of his drum-kit while standing up. Only sporting a bass and snare drum, the minimal set-up has previously been criticised, but honestly it works in the band’s favour. Their love of getting amongst the crowd sets them apart from more traditional bands at the festival, and the sheer joy they're feeling is etched on both men's faces. So much so they partake in a few cheeky shots onstage before proclaiming it’s all downhill from here. It isn’t. It really, really isn’t.


YUNGBLUD’s main stage headliner is also a standout, thanks to the genuine love and passion that Dominic Harrison has for music and his fans, as well as the level of production and finesse that’s gone into this show. Czechia is in the palm of his hand as he rockets through FLEABAG, Anarchist, Lowlife and LONER, bounding around stager like Flubber on roller skates.

From getting off the stage and to the barricade to hug and high-five the audience, to bringing one lucky fan onstage to play with him – and later gifting them the guitar – to telling fans to “put on [their headphones], and I’ll be there,” the kind of positive energy pouring off the stage only emphasises the passion and love YUNGBLUD has for his music and his fans. The perfect way to close Rock for People.

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