Star-studded concert and re-enactment of November ’89 march among events planned for 20th anniversary

Národní třída, November 17 1989

One of the biggest events in Prague after the fall of communism was a now-legendary concert by the Rolling Stones at Strahov Stadium in 1990. They were received afterwards at Prague Castle by President Václav Havel, who became quite friendly with the band. Now 20 years later, the Rolling Stones leader Mick Jagger is coming back to the city – he’s one of a number of famous artists playing at a special concert organised by Mr Havel. Another big event marking the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution will be a recreation of the student demonstration on November 17 1989 which set in motion the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.

Mick Jagger is coming to Prague at the invitation of his long-time fan and friend Václav Havel, along with other world famous musicians, including Sinead O'Connor, Suzanne Vega, Lou Reed and Renee Fleming. The concert will take place on November 14 in the medieval Church of St Anne in the Old Town, a deconsecrated building which is now home to the former president’s Prague Crossroads cultural centre.

Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Václav Havel (left to right) in 1990, photo: CTK
The main celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution will take place on November 17, the day when the Velvet Revolution broke out in 1989. One of its organisers is David Gaydečka.

“There will be two parts. One is scheduled as a meeting at 3 p.m. at Albertov, which is where students met 20 years ago. At Albertov we will have a 30 minute programme, with speeches of today's students and those that were present 20 years ago. We have also invited dissidents from countries which are still totalitarian regimes and there will be a few artists as well.”

The participants will then follow the route of the student march of November 17, 1989.

“We will go to Vyšehrad, than back to the river bank and we will end up on Národní třída. The second part of the programme will start at six and it is a concert that will take place directly on Národní. The street will be closed for cars so you will be able to see the street from a different point of view than usually. On stage will be Monkey Business, most famous Czech funk-soul band that was formed after the Revolution. They invited many special guests, such as Vladimír Mišík, Michal Ambrož from Hudba Praha, Tony Ducháček from Garáž and many others.”

How many people do you expect to come?

“It is hard to predict, but we hope it will be thousands.”

Národní třída, November 17 1989
Do you think young people will be interested? Most of today's students were born after the revolution or they were kids and don’t remember the communist regime at all.

“It is hard, you are right that most of them were born only after the revolution and for some of them it doesn’t mean too much. But we still hope they will find out more information about November 1989 and they will come.”