SoundCzech reveals panellists for IQ Focus
IQ and SoundCzech are launching the next phase of the partnership with an hour-long IQ Focus session, shining a spotlight on the best of the Czech market.
The partnership with the Czech music export office launched in September with a Spotify playlist featuring a myriad of promising domestic acts, including Cult of Fire, Amelie Siba, The Ghost of You, Chief Bromden, Kalle and more, and was followed by a feature on the Czech market in IQ93.
The panel will be broadcast live this Thursday (10 December) at 4 pm GMT, featuring an all-star lineup from Czech’s music industry.
SoundCzech’s Naray Marton will be joined by Barbora Šubrtová (pictured), Metronome Festival Prague and United Islands of Prague; David Urban, founder of D Smack U Promotion; and Floex, clarinettist, composer and multimedia artist.
Barbora Šubrtová is head of programme at Metronome Festival Prague, an open-air event which takes place annually in Prague at the end of June. Since the first edition in 2016, Šubrtová has booked artists including Iggy Pop, Sting, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers, David Byrne, Foals, Kasabian, Tom Odell, John Cale, Faithless and DJ Solomun.
Šubrtová has booked artists including Iggy Pop, Sting, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers, David Byrne and Foals
She’s also worked for United Islands of Prague festival since 2008, booking artists including Ella Eyre, Aloe Black, Audiobullys, East India Youth and Garden City Movement. Between festivals, she works continuously in production, cultural events services and on promoted Exit Music concert series.
Šubrtová is joined by David Urban, founder of D Smack U Promotion, an agency which has become an integral part of the Czech music scene over the past two decades. D Smack U is responsible for bringing major artists to Czech Republic including Queens of the Stone Age, Editors, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pixies; organising the legendary Jelení příkop festival; and helping with Rock for People, Rock for Churchill, and Grape festival in Slovakia.
Urban is also behind the Planet Festival project and represents bands such as Skyline and The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, as well as The Subways and Parov Stelar Band in the Czech market. He was awarded Personality of The Year at the Nouvelle Prague Awards three consecutive years.
The panel will be completed by Floex, also known as Tomáš Dvořák, a clarinettist, composer and multimedia artist from Prague. Dvořák’s moniker is a combination of the different worlds ‘float’, ‘flex’ and ‘experiment’ – reflecting his uniquely atmospheric tracks, in which he explores the possibilities of coexistence between electronic and acoustic sound worlds. Floex released his last album under Mercury KX in collaboration with Tom Hodge.
Czech state of emergency outlaws live music
All live music with singing will be banned in the Czech Republic from Monday 5 October under a new state of emergency intended to combat rising coronavirus cases.
The reproduction number, the so-called ‘R rate’, in the Czech Republic is currently 1.2, meaning every person who has Covid-19 will infect an average of 1.2 other people – ie that the disease is spreading. Czech health minister Roman Prymula said earlier this week he hopes the new restrictions will bring the R rate below 1 and help the country avoid a second wave of the virus.
The new restrictions announced by the Czech government include:
- A ban on concerts, musicals and opera
- No crowds at sporting events
- A ten-person limit on indoor gatherings
- A 20-person limit on outdoor gatherings
While the state of emergency will last a month, the restriction on sung concerts is initially for two weeks, until 11.59pm on 18 October. Other activities involving a “significant amount of singing”, such as rehearsals, are also off.
Performances not involving singing – such as (non-musical) theatre shows, films and, theoretically, instrumental concerts – are subject to a maximum capacity of 500 people, all seated, and with no refreshments/intermission.
Other activities involving a “significant amount of singing”, such as rehearsals, are also off
Among the concerts affected are a series of October shows by popular singer Helena Vondráčková, whose manager, Martin Michal, says he doesn’t understand the focus by authorities on singing.
“According to the minister of health, we have such a powerful singer that [her breath] will jump more than 20 metres from the stage to the front rows,” says Michal, who adds that the new rules contradict previous guidance by the Czech government.
A recent study in the UK suggested singing is no riskier than talking when it comes to spreading coronavirus aerosols, although the research is not peer-reviewed and its results have not yet been replicated elsewhere.
The new lockdown brings to an abrupt end a summer of socially distanced music in the Czech Republic, with the recent collaborative effort, Praha září, serving as a last hurrah for the country’s festival organisers.
At press time, the Czech Republic had 70,834 active coronavirus cases.
Prague festivals combine for big open-air event
Praha září (Prague September) in the Czech Republic is combining some of the capital’s leading cultural festivals for a large scale event that’s expected to be the last of its kind before a lockdown.
The open-air event is taking place between 8–28 September at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds in Prague-Holešovice and includes programming from music, theatre and film festivals.
The 17th annual multi-genre festival United Islands of Prague took over programming last weekend, presenting Czech, Slovak and Austrian artists.
While Metronome, which was scheduled to take place in June featuring artists such as Beck, Underworld and Skepta but was cancelled, presented a mini version of its flagship event during the week.
“In light of the expected development of the pandemic, it is likely that Praha září will be the last large event not just in the Czech Republic, but also in surrounding countries,” says Metronome Prague and Praha září head of programme Barbora Šubrtová.
“That’s why we’d like to invite all music fans to come and enjoy the final live shows of this year in a safe open-air environment where we can ensure greater social distancing and a reduced risk of infection than on your morning commute to work.”
“In light of the expected development of the pandemic, it is likely that Praha září will be the last large event”
In compliance with the government regulations, Praha září divided the grounds of Prague-Holešovice into four sectors with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people each so visitors can maintain social distancing.
Visitors are required to register with the festival organisers, read the Ten Commandments of a Responsible Guest before entering the event and wear a mask at all times.
Last Tuesday, the BBC noted a new record for Czech Republic after the country recorded 1,677 Covid cases.
Hospitalisation, intensive care and deaths are also on a sharp upward trajectory, and heading towards the numbers seen in March and April.
IQ recently announced a partnership with the Czech Music Office to showcase the best of the Czech Republic’s thriving live music sector to the world.
Listen to the SoundCzech x IQ playlist, which features artists including FVTVRE, I Love You Honey Bunny, MYDY, the Atavists, Ba:zel, Tea Sofia and Hellwana, here.