Prague’s top festivals join forces for major cultural event

Some of Prague’s top festivals, including Designblok, Febiofest, Letní Letná and Prague Spring, have joined forces to organize a single, three-week event. The festival, called Praha Září, kicks off on Tuesday evening at Prague’s Výstaviště trade fair grounds. 

I spoke to one of the event’s organizer, David Gaydečka, of United Islands of Prague and I first asked him how the idea for the event came about:

“We have been waiting since June for the end of the worst part of the pandemic and we felt it was time to celebrate the cultural life and share some unique cultural experiences with the people.

“We got the idea in June and we have been preparing the event since July. We brought the idea to the City Hall, to the Mayor’ office and to the councillor for culture, and they were actually eager to help and took part in the preparations.

David Gaydečka,  photo: archive of Czech Radio

“I think Prague needs for the cultural life to come back and I think it is coming back and I hope it will go in a positive direction.”

The event will bring together all kinds of social and cultural activities from modern and classical music and new circus to theatre and dance to fine arts. Can you mention at least some of the highlights on the programme?

“For English-speaking listeners, I would like to mention the Prague branch of the Fringe Festival, who will do some theatre performances.

“We will also be hosting United Islands of Prague, which is a free music festival promoting new music, including the Prague-based English Charlotte with her band Ohm Square.

“There is also Half-Metronome, part of which is taking place this year and part next year. There are some British acts confirmed for the future, including Underworld, but that’s for the next year.

Metronome Festival,  photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio | Photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

“This year it will be more local, with Czech, Slovak and some Austrian artists. And we also have two movie theatres, so people who don’t want to listen to music can sit down and watch films.”

The festival takes place amid a surge in new Coronavirus cases, especially in Prague. What measures have you taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19?

“We are very careful, that is why all the events are taking place at the open-air place at Prague’s Výstaviště, which has some 100,000 square metres.

“The space is divided into sectors and we follow the current coronavirus measures, which means that one sector can accommodate a maximum of 1,000 people.

“We will also register all our visitors, so in case anything happens, we will be able to contact the people and let them know that they should get tested.”

How important is this event for Prague’s cultural scene, for people like you, who have been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis?

“It is very important, because if we closed this year without any events taking place, starting next season would be very tough. If we can prove that the event can take place without anything wrong happening, I think it will help us all to launch the next season.”