The Czech Woodstock is drumming out: Our Giant Mountains foothills will be visited by JOHN CALE, an icon of the velvet underground and the founder of The Velvet Underground – a favorite band of both our Chief Václav Havel and Martin Magor Jirous.

The tam-tams from under the mountains have been sounded again and they have vibrated the souls of many a sensitive squaw, fellow warriors, trackers and shamans. With the arrival of the Month of Roses we are sending out signals that our happening will carve another cut on the butt. JOHN CALE has accepted our invitation. He is an icon of the velvet underground and the founder of The Velvet Underground, the favorite band of both our Chief Václav and the underground guru Ivan Martin Jirous. It will be the first summer gig of Johna Cale under the skies on the Czechoslovak lands. “A record of a certain band, The Velvet Underground, played its specific role in this country, which might not have been noticed in America," our Chief Václav Havel said in April 1990. This year’s festival is dedicated to our Chief Václav and the underground guru Martin Magor “In Memoriam”.

The Open Air Festival Trutnov, nicknamed Czech Woodstock, is taking place traditionally in the month of grain and ripening grasses in the term 16/8 – 19/8/2012 at “The Battlefield” in Trutnov. We are glad that we can complete the musical mosaic with a true icon of underground – John Cale from the legendary Velvet Underground.

Why John Cale...?

“John Cale is a perfect artist for Trutnov. Who else should perform at a festival that is dedicated (unfortunately “In Memoriam”) to our Chief Václav and to the underground guru Martin Magor, if not John Cale from their beloved band The Velvet Underground? Moreover, this year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of this festival with underground roots. I am just deeply saddened that neither the Chief, nor Magor can physically be present. We should have invited John long time ago. Everything runs fast and passes. Nothing should be put off ,” the founder and the spiritual father of the festival Geronimo says.

The Velvet Underground foundation by John Cale and Lou Reed in Warhol’s Factory in 1965 inspired a Czech band the Plastic People and the whole “velvet underground” in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. In 1975 Ivan Jirous, nicknamed Magor, wrote his key “Report on the Czech musical revival” about this movement. The legendary underground band the Plastic People used to even once play songs by The Velvet Underground. Back then a Canadian Paul Wilson, who lived in a totalitarian Czechoslovakia, used to play with them. “This connected The Plastic People and the local underground with their American icons and gave them their authenticity,” as František „Čuňas“ Stárek, a co-founder of the festival and an underground legend recalls the underground era and the times when the band was not officially allowed to play. When you look at thoughtful John Cale with his viola and quiet Jiří Kabeš from the Plastic People, there is no need to say more. The resemblance of the tribal brothers is evident. Paul Wilson was later deported and the Plastic People members were imprisoned, which gave an impulse for the foundation of “Charter 77”. As our Chief Václav said in April 1990, “The music of The Velvet Underground had its specific influence right in this country and right in this environment. It would be a long story....“

Who is John Cale

John Cale is a legendary rock avant-garde musician, originally from Wales. In 1964 he left for New York where, together with Lou Reed, he founded The Velvet Underground. His contribution was not only his musical education, which complemented Lou Reed´s rocking noise, but also his multi instrumentalism, helping to ad base guitar, keyboard and most significantly the stylish viola to the sound of The Velvet Underground. But because two strong personalities can never last long next to each other, John Cale left to start his solo career quite early in 1968. He is well known for his solo records as well as a producer of records for a number of other musicians (e.g. Nico, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Happy Mondays or Manic Street Preachers) and a composer of many a film sound track.

In the 70s he recorded a series of very strong solo records, starting with the title Paris 1919 and continuing with Fear, Slow Dazzle and Helen of Troy. He entered the 1990s by shaking a hand with his ex-partner Lou Reed on a still very moving album Songs for Drella, dedicated to their guru Andy Warhol, as well as with a beautiful live album Fragments of a Rainy Season, where he mastered presenting his songs along cover versions using just a piano. After the year 2000 he is recording songs from his archive on one hand and endlessly experimenting on records and concert on the other.

Josef Rauvolf says: “John Cale might be an old dog, but he knows so much that he can overshadow any young wolf. Just imagine one of those media-made one-album miracles that might shine one day and be forgotten the other. I like Cale as well as Bob Dylan for one thing: when they play old songs on their concerts, and they have been playing some for ages, they always play them differently. Cale does not become a live juke box or an MP3 to be up to date. “

A musical writer Ondřej Bezr remarked: “John Cale is the most. He is an icon for Indians...!“


Festival and “Bojiště” (The Battlefield)

Those who have touched it know – Trutnov festival is known for its underground roots, unusual and varied program, interesting history and its specific atmosphere. Its visitors are called plotters and the festival is also known for the fact that its not bands that really matters. The most important is the moment of meeting. In the last few years our tribe has been fighting for the land as the members of the local government decided to use the surrounding fields for further development. The existence of the festival on its original spot and in Trutnov as such is therefore unsure year after year.

“Czech Woodstock” is not only about music but also about opinion. This was not welcomed by the Bolsheviks and is neither welcomed by the present power-holders. The first ones sprayed manure on the festival grounds in its first year in 1987 and the second ones decided to build on the present festival land and than sold the new alternative land for some other purposes. Unfortunately, even nowadays is the loyalty a measure of support or condemning.  Fortunately, music and free opinion can live their own lives, whoever is in power. This is represented in the music of The Velvet Underground, founded by John Cale and Lou Reed in 1965. This is also about our conspiracy fellowship and your participation!

See You Soon ...