Prague's Náplavka embankments get even stricter noise rules

Only acoustic music concerts will be allowed on boats, and recorded background music can’t be heard outside a small area

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 09.07.2019 08:44:43 (updated on 09.07.2019) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague’s waterfront should become quieter. The rules for selecting
organizers and for short-term events on the embankments of the Vltava
river have changed as of July 1. The aim is to take the lives of
local residents into greater account.

City Hall said that
from its point of view, the number and noise levels of events and
musical productions on the Vltava banks, called Pražské náplavky,
is unsustainable, especially with regard to local residents.

Newly, only acoustic
music events can be performed on board anchored ships on the
embankments. The new rules also allow reproduced music only within
enclosed spaces of boats and cubicles in the embankment walls. In
addition, background reproduced music on decks, gardens and during
one-off events is permitted, provided the sound does not extend
beyond those spaces.

The city has been
seeking to find a balance between the interests of local residents,
operators and visitors. “The Prague riverbank is a popular meeting
place for both Praguers and tourists. Thousands of people head for
them daily. But it is important to ensure that residents live well in
their surroundings,” Mayor Hřib said.

“Given the rapid
implementation of the amended rules, we are accommodating the
organizers who have already scheduled events in July and August and
concluded contracts. We are exempting these actions, but the
transitional period will end on Aug. 31, 2019.”

Representatives of Trade Center Praha, which manages the embankments, the civic group Praha Ohleduplná and Mayor Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) agreed on the need to modify the rules that were adopted earlier this year. Despite event organizers and vessel operators having shown good will to adapt to the previous rules agreed to earlier this year, not everyone has done so.

“The new measures
should calm the surroundings of the embankments, but they should not
have a major impact on their operation. It is a compromise solution
where we are looking for a thin line between the cultural and social
enjoyment of the users of the river and the calmness of the locals. I
firmly believe that we will be able to find a balance that will be
appreciated by both parties,” Prague City Councilor Jan Chabr said.

The new rules also
bring the embankment into alignment with the rest of the city.

“Acoustic concerts
are now fully in line with the busking decree, which regulates the
implementation of street music events in Prague’s public spaces.
Although the riverbank is also a public space, outdoor music events
in its vicinity have so far been tolerated,” Jiří Sulženko,
curator of the Prague’s embankments for Trade Centre Praha, said.

“The rules for organizing music events now apply to all smaller events, so the only exception to the embankments is one bigger event per month during the season,” Sulženko added.

The embankments run on both sides of the Vltava. The embankment at Rašínovo nábřeží in New Town was recently renovated, with extensive work being done to the cubicles, improved infrastructure and restrooms, and new benches and trash bins. The Smíchov side at Hořejší nábřeží also is seeing renovations.

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