Happy Beer Days: new beer and music festival opens in Smichov

The Prague district of Smichov is enjoying an eventful month. Friday sees the start of its second festival in just two weeks. Lightheartedly named 'Happy Beer Days', it is to take place under the patronage of two Prague 5 councilors and has as its main sponsor the prestigious beer producer Staropramen, whose brewery is in the area. If the festival is successful, the organizers hope it will become an annual occurrence, attracting more and more visitors. Joshua Singer has the story.

As if the annual Brazilian carnival wasn't enough to keep Smichov satisfied this September, the council of Prague 5 has decided to create another opportunity for celebration. This new event however is distinctively more Czech in its nature, concentrating rather more on stereotypical symbols of the nation's culture; music and beer. The festival will also have a more rural feel, taking place in a park known as Cisarska Louka, set back from the bustle of city life, with a view of the old castle and ruins of Vysehrad.

The main producer of the festival is Tomas Tichy:

'We have here only the most famous and the best Czech bands. There are ten brands of beer, for example, Staropramen, Branik, Hoegaarden, Stella, Ostravar and so on. Prague 5 City Hall came up with this idea to organize a festival in such a beautiful area as Cisarska Louka and since it is the first and in fact the only festival of its kind on such a large scale in the open air, and in such a beautiful spot just under Vysehrad, in these meadows, lots of people look set to descend upon the area. If the weather holds and the sun shines a little it will be great.'

The musical aspect of the festival looks to be as equally varied as the many beers on offer. There will be two stages at the concert dedicated to rock and country music. Just some of the rock acts include Jaksi Taksi, Ready Kirken, On Air and Deda Mladek Illegal Band, all fairly respected names in the Czech rock music scene. For those who prefer their music a few decibels lower, the country stage will feature Kamelot, Trehusk, and girl group Berusky. And the festival has a whole range of amusements for children too. Tomas Tichy again:

'In general I'm obviously really looking forward to the good atmosphere that will be there for all the people who enjoy this kind of thing, and there'll be loads of great bands here and interesting people. I'm also excited about the children's zone which will cover an area of 1500m2 where there will be a children's stage with a DJ, where there will be a wide range of attractions, such as trampolines and bouncy castles, ping pong, football pitches and so on, there'll be on offer 1000 flavours of ice cream, in general a great line up for children.'