Trutnov festival back on the Battlefield

Iggy Pop, photo: CTK

It’s that time of year again – the Czech Republic’s premiere open air music festival in Trutnov is back on the Battlefield, as the traditional venue is called. A red letter event on the calendars of underground music lovers (the likes of regular attendee Václav Havel), Trutnov has been celebrating counter-culture since 1987, when it was attempted, but stopped by the State Police. This year, as ever, the festival offers four days of a “cultic meeting” beginning Thursday, “dedicated to Amnesty International, Jim Morrison and the warriors from Tippecanoe”. Earlier today festival organiser Iva Rejlová told me more of what we can expect.

Iggy Pop,  photo: CTK
“I think there’s good news for people who are coming; today we are expecting the main headliner, Iggy Pop, his concert will start at 11 o’clock in the evening. And there are many other foreign bands, for example Brian Welch from the United States, founder of the band Korn, and other bands like Noha, and many well known Czech bands too. We have four stages, three are mainly musical stages, and there is a fourth stage – a Hari Krishna stage – where there will be spiritual talks and meetings, so I think people will enjoy not only music and musical stuff but other things too.”

How many visitors do you expect this time around?

Photo: CTK
Actually we started yesterday, and there were hundreds of people, but because many festivals increase the number of visitors, we have said for this year that we will not give an exact number, we will not count it. Usually many visitors come to our festival every year so I think it’s not the most important thing about our festival. More important is how people feel here and enjoy the festival.

The festival grounds themselves are almost like a small city; how much preparation actually goes in to setting it up and how many days afterwards will you spend cleaning up?

“I would say a week for preparation – for example yesterday they started building the main stage and usually it takes two days, so they are finishing that today, and after the festival it will take about the same time, about a week, to clean up.

Photo: CTK
I’ve always wondered: you have these two prominent mascots for the festival, one is Jim Morrison and the other is an Indian. Can you tell me where that tradition comes from?

“The founder of the festival, Martin Věchet, is a big fan of Morrison, so many years ago he took him as a mascot; so that’s the reason. And he likes Indian symbols and everything about Indians, so it’s probably because of that.”