The story of one festival

This year, Czech Death Fest has its fifth anniversary installment; likewise, MetalGate shall celebrate five years of existence and Tortharry recently hit 20 years milestone. All that calls for one big celebration. As a special treat, we prepared for you a comic series – about how Czech Death Fest came to be, starting with the origins of its organizers; first with Tortharry, then with MetalGate and finally, how it all got intertwined.

MetalGate Czech Death Fest was conceived not long ago, but the fact it simply was meant to be, is quite obvious if you consider the essence of the past 20 years. It is as if sometime in the 1980s some higher power, be it an angle or a demon (hard to say who presides over us, maybe both), arranged pieces for a game and when that game was finished (probably to its liking), that power uttered the proverbial “Let it be done”. And on earth, populated by all those pieces, things started to happen. For said power (I’d say a good one, since all turned out well in the end), the game was done in moments, but on earth no one knew anything, only the pieces moved according to the higher masterplan. In the passage of time, it appeared as if nothing has really been happening. Quite the contrary, as our story attests.

At first, the band Tortharry had to form, gain respect and acclaim, expand and grow in strength and come up with all sorts of ideas, such as tour Latin America or put together a festival. Sometime afterwards, MetalGate agency had to emerge. Finally, these two had to meet and start cooperating. By then, each one had their own festival, but when they met and became friends, they arrived at the inevitable conclusion – “Let’s combine both enterprises”. And thus it was.

What began was a festival co-organized by a Czech metal icon and by a the new blood in the metal business, and in the four years that it has been around, it became the fifth most popular metal festival in the Czech Republic.

Of course, all sorts of family-related, work-related or personal matters interfered with all this. And when you reminisce with roasted pork in one hand and a mug of beer in the other, you suddenly realize you have a great story for a comic series.

Since our comic features a lot of characters, we present you, as they say in film, with a full cast:


  • Miloslav Jirman (founding member, active till 2004) – drums – a.k.a. Juan
  • Martin Vacek (founding member, active) – bass guitar, backing vocals – a.k.a. Lemy
  • Karel Stehlík (founding member, active till 1992) – guitar – a.k.a. Květák
  • Jarda Rubeš (founding member, active till 2004) – guitar – a.k.a. Králík
  • Dan Pavlík (active from 1992) – guitar, lead vocals
  • Jiří Rosa (active from 2004) – drums – a.k.a. Panter
  • Martin Hrubý (active from 2004 till 2011) – guitar, backing vocals – a.k.a. Máca
  • Petr Beran (founding member, active with a 10-year break) – sound engineer – a.k.a. Pedyk
  • David Vlach (founding member, active) – technician – a.k.a. Kropička
  • Aleš Janečka (active till 1993) – manager – a.k.a. Ještěrka
  • Luboš Gorgan (active from 1993) – manager – a.k.a. Goro


  • Tereza Erbenová, MetalGate production
  • Slávka Brtnická, MetalGate production
  • Ondřej Šmejkal, MetalGate dramaturgy
  • Miloslav Šmejkal, MetalGate management
  • Vladimír Joza, MetalGate photographer

The story was conceived and written by Dan, Goro and Míla Šmejkal, visuals by Ywo Hejcman (for which he has our very special thanks).

The series comes out once a week, with new issue every Friday, and it shall be published till this year’s festival begins. Every issue is published first on our Facebook page, and then week later, the same issue appears here with a narrative accompanying it. The full story (though memory sometimes plays tricks on us) thus can be found only on this website.


Tortharry & MetalGate