All The Former President’s Men

It broke its attendance record by pulling 32,000 per day – 4,000 up on last year – but Pohoda Festival organiser Michal Kascak said he’s likely to remember this year’s event because former Czech President Václav Havel showed up.

The writer and dramatist, who was the 10th and last president of that country and was the first president of Czech Republic after it split with Slovakia, is still very highly regarded.

"He’s a symbol of the struggle we had to overthrow communism during the velvet revolution and, if it wasn’t for him, there wouldn’t be any pop festivals here," Kascak explained.

The mainly Slovakian crowd at Pohoda showed their appreciation of the man who guided his country through those days, aware that the festival started a year after he came to power.

Havel’s appearance and short address were considered to be so important that it was advertised on all the posters and handbills.

This year’s gathering, the 12th edition, also had its bizarre moments. After a host of fans learned the dance steps in Fatboy’s Slim "Praise You" video, the 100 that could do them best were already strutting onstage when the U.K.’s top DJ came out to start his set.

The acts that turned up to Trencin Airport to help the Czechs, Slovaks and others recall their hard times and celebrate better ones July 18-19 included The Streets, Editors, Joan Baez, Audio Bullys, The Wombats, The Cribs, Pendulum DJs & MC Jakes, Chrome Hoof, and The Subways.