Prague's largest cemetery to host music-fest fundraiser for neglected graves

The mid-September festival at Olšany Cemetery will be free of charge, and invites members of the public to adopt a grave for repair. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 01.09.2023 13:48:00 (updated on 05.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The cemeteries and funeral services of Prague will come together to organize a unique one-day music festival titled "Between the Graves" within the Olšany Cemetery. This innovative event aims to raise funds for the restoration of abandoned and historically significant graves, offering attendees the chance to enjoy music while supporting a meaningful cause. 

Entrance to the festival, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 16, is free, with the option for visitors to make voluntary contributions to aid in the preservation of the cemetery.

Raising awareness for repair

The festival organizer, architect Filip Ditrich who works with the Cemetery and Funeral Services of Prague, hopes to generate financial support for the repair and maintenance of neglected graves. The public has the opportunity to adopt these graves, and a complete list is available on the festival's website.

Currently, there are 520 graves available for adoption, with 307 having been adopted so far. These graves either house individuals of importance within their respective fields or possess artistic, sculptural, or architectural significance. Six of the most urgently in need of restoration will be highlighted during the festival, with estimated repair costs ranging from CZK 1 million to CZK 2 million. 

Ditrich shared his perspective, saying: "I think that giving people the opportunity to contribute and see something that they may have seen and heard somewhere else is a big challenge." He collaborated with singer-songwriter Petr Linhart, known for organizing concerts in unconventional venues like old churches and underground spaces, to bring the festival to life.

Free entry, no alcohol

The festival lineup comprises seven performances by artists who typically favor minimalist arrangements, often featuring just a guitar or keyboard. This approach aligns with the intimate atmosphere of the Olšany Cemetery, creating a unique ambiance for attendees. Some of the featured artists include Jan Burian, Čnók krve, Marie Puttnerová, and Martin Novák.

The festival will utilize an outdoor stage and the interior of the restored Eissner tomb within the cemetery's old section, an area where burials are now infrequent. The Prague 3 district has extended its patronage to the festival and incorporated it into the program of the "Days of Žižkov's Cultural Heritage."

Ditrich emphasized the festival's goal to showcase cemeteries as public spaces capable of diverse uses without compromising their solemnity and primary purpose. Unlike traditional festivals, refreshments will not be sold on-site, and alcohol consumption is expressly prohibited in accordance with cemetery regulations, he noted.

This fusion of music and heritage preservation promises to offer attendees a unique and meaningful experience while contributing to the restoration of Prague's historic graves.

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