Pavel praises EU during opening of Prague-wide United Islands festival

The free festival, running until Saturday, will be held across different parts of Prague and feature performances on 23 stages from over 100 EU artists. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.05.2024 10:07:00 (updated on 02.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech President Petr Pavel expressed his appreciation for the EU at the opening of the United Islands of Prague music festival on May 1. The free-entry festival, celebrating the country's accession to the EU, runs from Wednesday until Saturday with performances on 23 stages across Prague.

Despite acknowledging the EU's imperfections, Pavel hailed the bloc as a crucial tool for promoting peaceful coexistence. "Joining the EU was a win for the Czech Republic in many ways," he stated, highlighting the benefits of free travel, work, and education for a whole generation.

The president's remarks were met with a warm welcome from hundreds of festivalgoers, with Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the EU anthem, performed upon his arrival on stage at Střelecký Island. The festival also featured a symbolic moment as Pavel’s wife Eva and EU Commissioner Věra Jourová joined him for a photo with a celebratory cake.

A jam-packed program

The festival's upcoming days will include open-air performances on Střelecký and Slovanský islands near Žofín, as well as the Janáček Embankment. For the first time, the festival will expand to several districts of Prague, including Ďáblice, Holešovice, Palmovka, Anděl, and Jižní Město. 

On Thursday, the festival will hold a special Symphony for Humanity concert on Střelecký Island. This performance aims to raise awareness about the growing issue of xenophobia in the Czech Republic and worldwide.

Over 100 artists from different EU countries will play across the islands’ stages and also in the festival’s affiliated clubs, such as Chapeau Rouge in Prague 1 and Cross Club in Prague 7. Czech singer Ben Cristovao, German rock band Lonely Spring, and Polish synth-pop artist Baasch will perform during the festival. Full details of the schedule over the next three days are on the official website, offered in English.

United Islands also offers a special non-musical program, including a presentation of life in Prague compared with 10 other EU cities, stands dedicated to other EU embassies in Prague, and an open debate on some hot EU-wide topics, such as the Green Deal and euro.

Festival director Jan Varhaník echoed Pavel's sentiments, emphasizing the EU's positive impact on the Czech Republic over the past 20 years. "The EU has provided us with opportunities that were previously unattainable. The Czech Republic has undoubtedly changed for the better," Varhanik stated.

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