How is Street Performance Art regulated in Prague?

With the high density of street performers in central Prague and eyewitness acounts of some performers being moved on from certain locations, we wanted to find out more about the rules and regulations of Street Art including performance art. We got in contact with Vladimír Řepka, who is the Head of the Unit of Communication in the Department of Communications and Marketing for Prague City Hall, in order to provide insight on the official council policy. Anastasia Maseychik and Veronika Macková interview on behalf of The Prague Correspondent.


What regulations are street performers under?

They are governed by the generally binding decree (No. 1/2016 Coll. of the City of Prague) to protect public order in publicly accessible places.

A living statue in Prague Old Square. There is a hat full of coins at his feet, where he hopes onlookers with donate some spare change. Some human statues use torches as a deterrent for those who try to take photos without donating.


Do they have specific regulations they need to follow?

They do not have to pay to perform, but street performances can be made only from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm, on the left bank of Vltava during odd hours and on the right bank during even hours. On bridges and islands the same rules apply as for the left bank.


What happens if they fail to obey these regulations?

The Municipal Police can intervene, though so far a warning has always sufficed. It must be said however that we have had very few complaints about street performances since the decree was put in place. Noise complaints have completely ceased, while before the decree was introduced acoustic busking was source of many complaints and conflicts due to the noisy and often monotonous performances.


What happens if a verbal warning isn’t enough? Can they be fined, or what sanctions are they given when they are unwilling to listen to instructions?

We don’t have such cases, or they are counted in units. If this case occurs, we are guided by administrative order that contains the exact fine chart. It would be a violation of public order.


Do you have a problem here in Prague with street artists who don’t obey regulations?

As I mentioned before, since the restrictions were introduced, the number of complaints has fallen to an absolute minimum. The experiences of the Prague Municipal Police gathered since the decree has been enforced fully back up this view and thus should be maintained in the future.
In addition, at my initiative a survey took place in summer 2016 to investigate public opinion on busking in Prague, and one of the prominent results was that buskers belong in public space, yet all groups agreed there should be permits for busking. From this we can conclude that the current regulation of busking is benevolent to performers, with calls being made to make it more strict, not to ease the conditions laid down by the decree.


Who writes the regulations on street performers?
I was the one who presented the decree to Prague City Assembly. Its wording was drawn up by employees of Prague City Hall based on the requests of the municipal districts and residents living in the city centre.


How often are these regulations reviewed?

We contacted the individual municipal districts with the question of potential changes to the decree. What came out however was that the contacted municipal districts have no interest in changing the decree to favour buskers more, as the decree fulfilled their expectations in terms of quieting down the city, which was what their residents were calling for. Thus we are not planning any modifications to the restrictions.


What problems would arise if this legislation wasn’t in place?

As I already mentioned, acoustic performances in particular were the target of many complaints where the occurrence of street performers is the greatest, specifically because they were loud and often monotonous. Conflicts were also recorded and we certainly did not wish for these situations to escalate. I think that the decree was successful in finding a reasonable compromise between the interests of all parties and this is the main thing that street performers in particular should realise.


What about graffiti in Prague? Can people draw what they want, where they want?

It is not allowed in Prague. There are special spots and places that are meant strictly for graffiti which are completely legal and accessible and free to anybody. If someone does it illegally then of course the administrative order and public/civil order comes to action and the person is fined or it can even result in jail time.


What about the John Lennon Wall?

Early morning at the John Lennon Wall. The lattice-work of colour demonstrates the many layers of graffiti-art painted on it since its 1988 prominence agitating the Communist regime, when young Czechs would gather and write their grievances upon it.

As far as my knowledge goes, the Lennon Wall is alright, you can draw there.


Can anybody actually draw there? If I bring spray with me can I just graffiti on the wall?

The exact information would come from the Prague 1 city district, under which the Lennon wall is administered…but it should be okay. It already happened several times before, this is not the first layer of art that has ever appeared there.



What do you personally like most from what we have in Prague? Living statues, jumping artists, or bubble artists etc?

Well I personally prefer the artists who sing well and ones who are able to engage the crowd around them so the people reward them with applause. I think that is really cool, even I stop sometimes for a while. But from my experience I know that generally the most popular are the bubble artists, everyone stops for them.



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