August 9, 2003. Přeštěnice Festival,
Přeštěnice u Milevska
We need a secretary. The three of us were working on the
mistaken assumption that we'd take the stage on the second
day of this festival in South Moravia at 9:30 p.m. That's
what Barry told us, but apparently he'd been passed the
wrong information - we were actually supposed to play
Oh shit. We made it there at 6:00 and just after we climbed
out of our cars, one of the organizers came up and said
we were on...next! Uh, uh, uh...so we had to scramble
to set up, more complicated for me because I didn't have
my own bass rig and had to borrow one. Luckily enough,
the bass player for the band following us - a group of
friendly German kids called Green Frog Feet - was willing
to loan me his powerful Ampeg set-up.
The unexpectedly early start threw us off, and much of
the music, to be honest, was poor. 6:30 is also not an
ideal time to play a rock festival, as the crowd is a
bit too sober and anticipating the bigger acts that play
during Prime Time.
The set was short, too, as we started playing ten or so
minutes past 6:30. We managed only four or five songs,
most of which were played sloppily. What saved us was
the last song, "Na sracky", again a crowd favorite.
We got a few spectators down to stagefront for that one.
"TAKTO NEJSEM JA!!!" some shouted along during
the song's refrain. What made it particularly cool is
that we were billed (not altogether accurately) as a band
directly from the U.S., so it was a surprise to the crowd
when we started singing in Czech.
I'm glad we left the stage on a good note, because none
of us was happy with our performance on the other songs.
As soon as we start making some money, maybe we can hire
that secretary, who'd be better than us at keeping track
of critical little details like when we're actually supposed
to start playing.
Prestenice marked the worldwide debut of the official
The Joint t-shirts. A little marketing plug here: they're
made of durable cotton, attractively styled in black and
feature a full-color shot (the same one as on the Web
site's home page) of Us Truly on the back. Available in
ladies one-size-fits-all and men's L, XL, and for the
stout and tall, XXL. A veritable steal at 260 Ka - e-mail
Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you want to buy one.
Back to our regularly scheduled program. Yeah, the t-shirts.
There was a guy in one corner of the fenced-off compound
that served as the festival grounds selling various shirts,
though none seemed to be of the bands that were playing.
We struck a deal with him wherein he'd sell the shirts
and even drape them over the doors of the truck he was
using as an office/supply vehicle. We're such a capitalist
But maybe not good capitalists. Despite the shirt hanging,
the guy didn't sell a single one. Quite a shame. But at
least we scored some free advertising. Though I'd rather
see our band name and faces splashed on every telephone
pole and magazine cover in Prague, I'll take the back
of some guy's truck in a pinch. You can't be too particular
in the early days.
Overall, the festival was impressively well organized.
There were enough toilets, food and beverages (particularly
beer, of course) for the 800 or show people that showed
up. In one corner of the festival ground there was even
a tea room - a little bit of Prague culture exported to
South Bohemia. None of us ended up going to the čajovna,
unfortunately, to sample a Sahlep or perhaps take a few
tugs on one of their big water pipes.
Instead, we simply drank a few beers, ate some festival
food and listened to the other bands. Particularly impressive,
in my opinion, was Lety Mimo, a Slovak threesome playing
basic rock and roll with a lot of cool effects on the
instruments. Divokej Bill, whose star seems to be rising,
took the stage late at night and played an energetic,
fun mix of the better elements of country and rock. They
reminded me a bit of the British band The Levellers, which
played Prague several times and was popular in the late
I got to sleep not long after the festivities were over.
Though a room at a nearby pension had been booked for
us, we were too spent to actually go there. Barry and
I crashed in the car we came in, he in the driver's seat,
me in shotgun. Brian neglected to take any kind of initiative
at all and ended up sleeping on the ground outside. Maybe
when and if we get a secretary/manager/assistant/slave
he or she could make sure we get to the proper beds -
as well as keeping us straight on our stage time.