Musicians to protest Czech anti-coronavirus measures in Prague's Old Town Square on Monday

The music industry employs about 130,000 people in the Czech Republic, but is currently running at 15% capacity, say organizers

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 24.07.2020 13:27:06 (updated on 24.07.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Musicians from Prague and around the Czech Republic will protest the country’s anti-coronavirus measures on Monday, July 27, during a demonstration at Old Town Square entitled For Live Music that will begin from 18:45.

One of the groups most affected by the coronavirus crisis, those in the music industry have generally been unable to stage large-scale live music event in the Czech Republic due to the country’s anti-coronavirus measures, and many see no end in sight.

Currently, events with more than 1,000 people are prohibited in the Czech Republic, and nearly all of the country’s summer concerts and festivals have been cancelled.

According to organizers of the For Live Music initiative, the music industry in the Czech Republic employs an estimated 130,000 people, but is currently only running at 15% capacity. The situation affects not only musicians, but also promoters, organizers, sound technicians, and everyone involved in staging live music events.

A petition addressed to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is currently collecting signatures.

“We were the first to lose our jobs due to anti-coronavirus measures and we still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” reads the petition.

“It is not clear when it will be possible to organize larger music events and under what conditions. The government has restricted our freedom of enterprise and the ability to work and is not in a position to address the situation. Our activities run only fifteen percent, there are no festivals, concerts, musicians have canceled performances, no musical instruments are produced, technical companies have no work.”

Members of the music industry will ask the government for a clear plan on when the country’s anti-coronavirus measures prohibiting mass events will end, along with sanitary measures to ensure the operation of such events afterwards. A plan for distributing financial aid promised to those in the cultural sector affected by the coronavirus crisis is also requested.

From September, organizers are asking the government to open cultural events for up to 5,000 people.

Organizers of the demonstration highlight similar measures taken abroad, such as the UK’s Let the Music Play initiative. They also point to Germany and Austria, who have committed to large-scale investments to kick-start their music industries following the relaxation of anti-coronavirus measures.

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