Flying Guitars Festival, Museum, Hall of Fame Announced in Varazdin

Total Croatia News

Image by Trash Film Festival

The city of Varazdin builds on its unique guitar legacy with the launch of a new international guitar festival, museum and hall of fame on September 7, 2016.

Already regarded as one of Croatia’s leading cultural tourism lights with established festivals such as the street performer Spancirfest in August, and Varazdin Baroque Evenings in September, the northern city of Varazdin has announced another innovative festival, which it hopes will not only boost tourism in October, but help the city become established as a leading destination for guitar enthusiasts from all over the world, taking advantage of the city’s unique guitar heritage.

A press conference at Hotel Park Boutique Hotel this morning introduced the Flying Guitars Festival and Flight of Fame: 

Flight of Fame is a commendation to musical innovation, courage and integrity. It is a commendation to great individuals who push music forward, rising above the limits set by their period and society, changing set rules and like a lighthouse beaming new light for actions that prove themselves righteous and valuable.

It is not a coincidence that such an honour was based upon the richness of tradition and heritage of the Varaždin area, wrought with individuals who thought, behaved and gave the world contribution spanning decades and centuries beyond their musical period. People of innovation, courage and integrity. The key person who embodies this is the famed guitar virtuoso, composer and guitar innovator Ian Padovec (1800-1873).

Support for such an idea is the huge musical tradition of Varaždin, as well as innovations which keep occurring here, beyond music: from medicine to aeronautics to digital technologies where two indigenous Varaždin computers bear the names Seagull and Eagle. Varaždin has something to say about flight as well through the names of aviation pioneers, such as Varaždin industrialist Charles de Lambert (1865-1944), who used Wright’s aircraft to set world records and circle the Eiffel tower, while a historical aeronautical constructor Rudolf Fizir (1891-1960) proved with his 18 constructions that flying does not have to be reserved only for the richest.

(A welcome message from Michael Messer at the event announcement at Hotel Park).

Hence the title for the Varaždin area as the Guitar Capital of the World, honouring people who dared think beyond the frames and boldly create these visions, resisting the pressures of standard points of view. This is why we have the flying guitars vision and their “pilots”, in the form of Guitar Capital of the World, Flying Guitars Festival, Hall of Fame and Museum, and Academy of Flying Time-Machine.

Flying Guitars Festival
Flying Guitars Festival is a completely new manifestation, a guitar festival of a unique profile and content. The idea was based on the local guitar and music heritage and a natural identity continuance – the locality of the internationally renowned name of guitar history Ivan Padovec. Padovec was the only one of the Croatian musicians of his generation to leave a mark in the European musical life as a teacher, performer, guitar innovator and composer. It is due to Padovec that the guitar was firmly etched into the basis of Varaždin culture, thus becoming a local identity element of great potential, value and usefulness for the construction of a unique Croatian county brand through an international music festival. It is the basis of an initiative being formed here, presenting the best of the guitar world in one place, following in the footprints of the same criteria that made Padovec famous in the music world of his time

Guitar Capital of the World
Besides the attractive, often unique concert activity, respected guests are expected to hold workshops, lectures, courses and public meetings. Side events, such as presentations and exhibitions, will additionally transform Varaždin and Varaždin county into the guitar capital of the world for four days. Presentations will, besides audiovisual, also be practical, such as workshops by renowned guitar builders, while exhibitions will present photographs by famed music photographers and valuable collections of these instruments. The genre span is wide: from old and classical music, to jazz, blues and rock performers.

Hall of Fame and Museum
Hall of Fame in Varaždin county would grow from a festival to a headquarters institution. The main characteristics of the programme stem from the basic components of the work of Padovec, sublimed as: internationality, wide genre, creativity, innovation and education possibilities. Based on these components the festival programme is created, populated with concerts, music workshops, lectures, exhibitions and builder presentations. But more importantly, these five components frame and intertwine the concept of constructing a Hall of Fame, original in Varaždin, the County, Croatia and Europe.

Flight of Fame and Museum
The heritage base is dominantly marked and defined by specifics: flying and aviation tradition in many forms and shapes, and above all an especially rich musical history with world renowned protagonists with local roots. Finally, as in the beginning, it is defined by the guitar hero – when mega popularity in the 19th century on this instrument was impossible – being from Varaždin. To-date identity synthesis coming from many positions, stubbornly ending in the code name Flying Time Machine, lead up to the profiling of the Varaždin Hall of Fame as “flying”. One might say a hall of fame is being born, focused on guitar music, guitars and guitarists. Especially guitar innovators, followed by guitar authors, guitar singers. It would be a Famed Guitarists-Singers Hall and Museum, a variation of the Flight of Fame and Museum.

Flying V
Guitar genre range
The range of guitar genres and subgenres is extensively wide, so the hall of fame and festival in their basic intent encompass all forms of guitar music. This includes the representation of all types of guitars, from medieval string instruments with old music programmes, Spanish or classic performing classical, folk and especially flamenco music, to acoustic guitars suitable for blues, folk or rock music. Electro acoustic guitars, or acoustic with a hollow body and piezoelectric element or microphone, as well as hybrid between acoustic and electric guitar, or half acoustic guitar, with a characteristically warm, soft sound meant for jazz and rock music. Electric guitar is the most popular instrument of modern music, irreplaceable in several genres such as blues and jazz and naturally in all subgenres of rock.

Varazdin County’s dynamic tourist board director announcing the new festival at Hotel Park Boutique in the centre of Varazdin.

Symbolic accents
Symbolic accents in the image of the hall of fame, museum and festival are two characteristic guitars: Double necked and Flying V.
The Double necked guitar, tied to Padovec as the innovator of the instrument, has a strong basic connection symbol to the man who is the reason for the creation of the festival. The second strong symbolism is tied to the guitar with a characteristic shape named Flying V. Naturally, this creates an association to the Flying V, the sign of the Flying County, a V with wings. Verbally and visually, the festival is easily associated with a very easily recognisable guitar of a symbolic names and appearance.

Stairway to Heaven
The renowned modern guitar with two necks is surely the Gibson model eds-1275 SG. Among the first it was embraced by Jimmy Page, guitarist of the legendary rock group Led Zeppelin, author of the ballad Stairway to Heaven, one of the greatest rock hymns and best rock music composition. Besides him the double necked guitar was used by many great names of the music scene, from the king of rock&roll Elvis Presley, to Eagles guitarist Don Felder and John McLaughlin, on to heavy metal or trash metal guitarists such as Kirk Lee Hammett and James Alan Hetfield of Metallica or David Scott Mustaine of Megadeth,

Flying V
There is an entire category of favourite Gibson electric guitars of characteristic shape named Flying V, in the shape of an arrow, played by such guitar greats as Jimmy Hendrix, while some had their entire musical career defined by it. Two of them were blues guitarists Lonnie Mack (1941) and Albert King (1923-1992), inseparable from the flying V guitars.

Secondary symbolism
A sort of secondary symbolism is seen in two other terms: wings and fashion. Two characteristic guitars, the Double necked and Flying V, as two criteria of the total idea of a Flying Time Machine – precisely the synthesised project Flight of Fame – are enriched with bonus elements. In that sense the value of members of the Hall of Fame and festival participants is richer as there are more brand components of the Flying Time Machine or Flight of Fame per individual guitarist or band.

Wings, with all the symbolism of the local brand, are noticed and especially valued when part of the name or image of certain renowned performers. Such is the case of the band Wings by Paul McCartney whose symbol and sign were also wings. On top of that Wings guitarist Denny Laine use a double necked guitar. Wings as a logo appear in several other bands, such as the “best rock&roll band of America” Aerosmith or hard rock group Van Halen, whose guitarist Eddie Van Halen increases his Hall of Fame value with innovative urges regarding the guitar design he plays on.
To the Flight of Fame system we add the titles (Little Wing, Jimmy Hendrix) and/or texts of individual renowned songs (“Fly on, My Sweet Angel / Fly on Through the Sky / Fly on, My Sweet Angel”, Angel, Jimmy Hendrix).

Byrds, Airplane and Starship
The associations encompass the rock bands of the US west coast, starting from the first “psychedelic rock group” Jefferson Airplane of San Francisco, through the Airplane fraction formed into Jefferson Starship, whose first album was published in 1974 and named Dragon Fly to the influential country rock band The Flying Burrito Brothers. Their leaders, author-singer and guitarist Gram Parsons and author-singer and bass guitarist Chris Hillman, were key figures in the development of country rock they established as members of the legendary The Byrds.

Cosmic Music
Gram Parsons made popular a mix of country, R&B, soul, folk and rock, in short a hybrid named Cosmic American Music. The first album of The Flying Burrito Brothers, “The Gilded Palace of Sin”, has a special image. Musically, Hillman and Parsons continue in a modern country expression, joining traditional sources such as folk and country with other forms of popular music such as gospel, soul and psychedelic rock. Visually, on the cover of the album band members are dressed in nudie costumes, created for them by fashion designer Nuta Kotlyareno, known as Nudie Cohn. This famed suit by Gram Parsons, together with his guitars, is on show at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Equally as another, an automobile creation by Nudie Cohn, Pontiac Bonneville convertible personalised for country singer Webb Pierce.

The second term in the secondary symbolism is fashion, as the textile industry that marked the 20th century of the Varaždin area. In this case the illustrative example is the band Kinks, a group formed in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, whose fashion combos were at the peak of their music period. Extravagant creations were especially dear to the solo guitarist of the Dave Davies band, who inspired the fashion trends of Swinging London. With all this Dave Davies played numerous guitar models, but stayed known for the Flying V guitar.

American author-singer and guitarist Tom Petty not only occasionally used the Flying V, but in regards to emblematics fits into the Flight of Fame context. The emblem of Tom Petty & Heartbreakers is a heart pierced with an arrow, specifically the Flying V guitar.

Flying Time Machines
Innovation is an especially important component intertwining through the entirety and every individual segment of Flight of Fame. One of the basic components of the work of Padovec is this concept, also a pillar of the festival, hall of fame and museum – Flight of Fame. Such a frame and criteria is applied also to exceptional artists who are constantly searching for new guitar solutions: constructive or designer on one hand and interpretative or composer on the other hand.

When speaking of the construction of instruments the top name is a favourite American blues artist born as Steven Gene Wold (1940), known as Seasick Steve. He plays a range of personalised guitars and other string instruments, many shaped as bizarre constructions from waste materials and objects. Instruments seem as flying time machines.

Red Special
A great example of numerously innovative guitarists is Brian May, known as a guitarist of Queen. As a boy he built together with his father his first guitar using wood from an old fireplace. This guitar, endearingly named Red Special, gives a special sound to numerous hits of Queen. Brian May is without a doubt the most honourable prototype of a Flight of Fame laureate, while his love for astronomy is a bonus to the innovation criteria. Competency in this discipline is gained through a doctorate in astrophysics, as well as participation in CERN research and NASA’s New Horizon programmes, sending probes to Pluto.

Interstellar Overdrive
“Astronomy Domine” is a song by Syd Barrett, a cult rock figure, founder, singer and guitarist of the legendary Pink Floyd. The song is the first recording published on their debut album, “The Piper as the Gates of Dawn” (1967). He is considered along with Interstellar Overdrive as the space rock genre seasoner. The song begins with a loudspeaker voice of his manager and producer Peter Jenner sounding like an astronaut over the intercom, reading planet names. Barrett’s text mention Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, moons of Uranus Oberon, Miranda and Titan, Saturn’s moon Titan, while his kinetic slide guitar dominates the sound.

We Can Fly
“We Can Fly” is a song from the 20th studio album of the English progrock group Yes named “Fly From Here”. Orientations of other creations of this group can easily fit under the Flight of Fame idea. An example is their sixth studio album “Tales From Topographic Oceans” whose title was inspired by theories of space by famed English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, embodied in the design of Roger Dean.

Mothers of Invention
Honouring the author-singer and guitarist Frank Zappa, asteroid 3834 was named Zappafrank. Zappa tested and synthesised many music genres: rock, jazz, classic, blues, progressive rock and others, while possessing a talent for writing and orchestrating the most complex compositions. To this he was known to add a strong layer of engaged irony and sarcasm. He hired symphony orchestras and recorded several albums with them. Indicative and logical is also the name of his band: The Mothers of invention. Many agree that along with numerous commendations and awards, the work of Frank Zappa has not yet been fully understood and valued. From the point of view of Flight of Fame Zappa undoubtedly belongs among the highest rated artists. Zappa’s thought “Never stop working until what you feel is good becomes better and when it become better make sure it becomes the best” could be used as the motto of the philosophy behind Flight of Fame.

“If we are led by a dream, success will come. If we don’t have a dream, we botch it.” A quote from a dear, selflessly good man who deals with the stars. In the heavens. These are words of astronomer Korado Korlević who is together with stars and thousands of children perfectly aligned, but has had his share of hurdling possible and impossible, logical but also ridiculous obstacles to build a world in which he can share his knowledge with thousands of children and generations of future science lovers. The fact he has created much and continues to work made him an institution and placed his name on two celestial bodies.

The dream, as Korlević puts it, or vision, as we talk about here, is realistic. Little time is left until completion and many obstacles, known and unknown, as we are building something no one has ever built. We build on solid foundations, as we don’t want to botch it. For this tenacity is needed, as botching it is the only real danger. Not even the short deadline we gave ourselves isn’t etched in rock. The first event can never be late, but must be flawless, as it is the cornerstone of others. A bad start cannot be rectified, while the damage done damages others who would attempt something this great.

We are building a global thing and it has to be just that. So it is important not only for every project participant to find a dream, vision and inspiration, but to do his part flawlessly, even the smallest. Only every next time we will add something creative, as it is expected.


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