Prague’s streets and squares will be taken over by musicians on June 7 and 8. For the fourth time, the Praha Žije Hudbou festival will liven up the city with free music and show support for buskers. Over the course of two days, some 150 local and visiting musicians will perform in over 30 locations.
Prague Žije Hudbou has four main centers: Karlovo náměstí, Quadrio, Jungmannovo náměstí, and Cross Club. These spots have the most significant acts. There will also be tents at Stalin at Letná, at Ohrada, in the garden of Storm Club and at Hradčanská. A wide range of other street musicians will be at more than two dozen busker points.
The entire program is free, though people can give donations to the performers or, new this year, support them via scanning a QR code.
Music starts in the morning at some locations on both days, with more locations joining in during the afternoon. Performances in public stop by 9:45 pm, but there will be afterparties at Cross Club at 11 pm.
Since the festival’s beginning, the organizers of Praha Žije Hudbou have been striving to change the strict regulation of street art in Prague. This topic is now being reviewed by Prague City Hall, and an amendment to the current regulations is being prepared.
“I’m not even counting how many meetings at different levels we’ve had to deal with the possibility of liberalizing the existing tough rules. We welcome the current willingness of the city management to discuss changes to let musicians play more freely in the streets of Prague,” festival organizer Jan Gregar said in a press release.
“In our opinion, the general public will agree with us that banning triangles, oboes, choirs or harmonicas in a city like Prague has the same meaning as a kingdom where it is forbidden to sing,” he added.
If the festival was not granted exceptions to the current rules, about 70 percent of the artists would not have been allowed to perform. “The current decree fundamentally reduces the quality of street culture in Prague,” Gregar said.
On both days, the main festival venue will be a large stage at Karlovo náměstí that will showcase foreign headline acts. Some of these acts will also perform at other locations.
The star of the festival is ThePETEBOX, a British beatbox artist who has appeared at the Isle of Wight, Bestival, V, Leeds, Reading, Latitude, Creamfields and Glastonbury festivals. He will perform Friday, June 7, at the tent at Quadrio and Saturday, June 8, at 8 pm at Karlovo náměstí.
Other top visiting acts are Belgian musician Esinam, who mixes African music and jazz with progressive electronics, and Scottish singer Natasha Cook Jenkins, who has worked with noted producer Tony Visconti. Both of these acts will also be at both Quadrio and Karlovo náměstí.
Mixed with the visiting acts at Karlovo náměstí are local talent such as DVA, Ondřej Ruml, Circus Brothers, Mucha and Noisy Pots.
“Busking is an adventurous form of music presentation. When playing on the street, it is possible to pass on the energy to listeners and feel their spontaneous reactions. Art in the streets will improve people’s day and improve the atmosphere of the city,” Noisy Pots member Jakub Tengler said.
Quadrio will also have a solo performance by Adrian T. Bell of The Prostitutes and Czech beatbox artist En.dru.
Highlights at Jungmannovo náměstí include samba-inspired band Tokhi & The Groove Army and the old-fashioned Dixie group Pražská dixielandová společnost.
The outdoor stage at Cross Club will feature Czech artist and musician Vladimir 518 and American rapper Afu-Ra. The latter will also be at Jungmannovo náměstí.
There will also be lots of entertainment across the city at busing points in Tylovo náměstí, Vltavska, Florenc, Hlavní nádraží, Riegrovy sady, Klarov and other spots.
For a complete schedule visit the official Prague Music Festival website.