Lucerna Music Bar
|Location||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Owner||Henry LoConti, Sr.|
|Genre(s)||acoustic rock, alternative rock, blues, electronic, folk, garage, groove, hard rock, indie, punk, reggae, rock, surf|
Lucerna Music Bar is a concert club housed within the Lucerna Palace, located on a hallway or "passage" that connects Vodičkova and Štěpánská streets near historic Wenceslas Square, in the New Town (Nové mesto) area of Prague in the Czech Republic. The name Lucerna means "lantern" in Czech. Lucerna Palace is an Art Nouveau building built by former President Václav Havel's family. The Lucerna Music Bar is one of the venues within Lucerna Palace involved in the Prague International Jazz Festival and the AghaRTA Prague Jazz Festival. It was used for the Václav Havel Tribute Concert, held in Václav Havel's honor, upon his death in 2011. The Lucerna Music Bar is similar in size to Washington, DC's 9:30 Club, Cleveland's Agora Theatre and Ballroom, Philadelphia's Trocadero Theatre, or Baltimore's Rams Head Live!, however the selection of artists is more international. The Lucera Music Bar has played a role in giving exposure to many bands from the Czech Republic and around the world.
The building was designed by Vácslav Havel (the grandfather of former president Václav Havel), Stanislav Bechyně and Václav Prokop, and built at the beginning of the 20th century. It was completed in 1921. The reinforced concrete construction is an early example of this type of construction and is described in a book by engineer Prof. Bechyně. The building was designed as the first multipurpose building It is a multilevel open air galleria that houses The Lucerna Music Bar and the Lucerna Theatre, a formal concert hall, in addition to an assortment of shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. The Lucerna Palace has been the site of many significant events in the country's history and is considered the most important private cultural centre in the city. It is the home of the Prague International Jazz Festival and was the site of Václav Havel Tribute Concert.
Up until the end of the 1980s, Czechoslovakia remained under the control of one of the most repressive Communist governments in Eastern Europe. In 1964 Prague's "1st International Jazz Festival" was held in the hall and the following year Louis Armstrong performed there. Jazz Writers, musicians, artists and intellectuals are credited with promoting the democratic ideals that shaped the Velvet Revolution. Although they could not openly practice their arts, some writers and musicians were among the most elite members of society. A number of music related events transpired during the revolution. Charter 77, a human rights manifesto, was written in response to the arrest of a band called Plastic People of the Universe, one of Václav Havel's favorite bands. In 1979, Havel himself was imprisoned for activities on behalf of the charter and The Jazz Section was targeted by Communists for their work. Five members of The Jazz Section died in prison under suspicious circumstances.
Other countries, such as Hungary and Poland, had slowly been changing over time. In 1989, Communism fell in Czechoslovakia. Its first post-communist, elected President was Václav Havel, a strong patron of the Czechoslovak music scene. The Václav Havel Tribute Concert, held in his honor in 2011, featured a wide range of musical talent from around the globe. Following Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, the bans were lifted, and new record labels and publishing houses emerged, producing CDs, magazines, newspapers, and books. Previously banned plays, movies, books and records, including Havel's adaptation of The Beggar's Opera, became available. Previously forbidden news topics, such as drugs, skinheads, the black market, corruption in the Communist Party, began to appear in news media. After the Velvet Revolution, musicians were able to perform in public, and Velvet Underground and Doors songs became very popular. In July 1998, the band Phish played two nights at the Lucerna Theatre that are highly regarded among listeners. A celebration of this musical freedom was held at Lucerna Palace, including the Lucerna Music Bar. Currently, citizens are even free to hold benefit concerts whose proceeds go towards such causes as legalizing marijuana and abolishing the death penalty.
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