I helped StringerBessant recently on a trip to Žamberk in the Czech Republic, The UK had been suffering from a surfeit of rain, and it was a pleasure to wake up in this beautiful town basking in early summer sunshine.
Having most of the day to relax, and with a flight home late the next night we had plenty of time to look around and enjoy this part of the country.
During lunch in the town square on our first afternoon we met Jan Šťovíček, a local guitar maker who later took us to his factory to show us some of his superb creations. We were happy to wander the bright, hot colourful lanes of Žamberk before we entered the cool rooms and rich smells of the factory.
After telling us about how he started to create instruments we wandered through the workshops, seeing the process from start to finish. The glorious smells of rich hardwoods, and the light picking out the dust motes in the late afternoon made the experience unforgettable. Jan’s passion for the creative process and his search for different tones in his guitars was great to see and hear how this had come about.After following the process from several different blocks of wood to the final polishing and stringing, Jan handed out some of his instruments for the band to play. In the setting and the ambience of the workshop the sound of the guitars sang out in a warm full resonance that filtered outside to the quiet afternoon streets.
The festival, called JamRock was a mile or so out of the town in green countryside with a backdrop of forested hills. The band played late to a great audience of music lovers who really enjoyed the gig. The aftershow bar was jumping and we walked back to the town with the warm early morning rays of a beautiful summers day.
Many thanks to the enormously hospitable, laid back, and cool people of the Czech republic and especially the people of Žamberk, and the ace festival people there. Roll on Trutnov, the next czech festival the band play at.