The hangar had been cleared to make room for the concert, with airplanes forming a backdrop behind the six musicians, five of whom sported cowboy hats. Tables were spread out in long rows for an enthusiastic, rural crowd, who had come to hear the Prague-based band, Pony Express. What's that, you say? Country music in […]

The hangar had been cleared to make room for the concert, with airplanes forming a backdrop behind the six musicians, five of whom sported cowboy hats.
Tables were spread out in long rows for an enthusiastic, rural crowd, who had come to hear the Prague-based band, Pony Express.
What's that, you say? Country music in the Czech Republic? Not only is country music flourishing in this former Soviet-bloc country, but it was popular long before the Iron Curtain fell. In fact, the Czech Republic is the only country in Europe to have an all-country music radio station.
The unique experience of attending a Czech country music concert and dance came courtesy of relatives from nearby Dzbanov, with whom we had a reunion earlier in the day and who invited us to join them.
The scene was not unlike what you might find at a county fair in Kansas, with a couple of exceptions. 1) All of the lyrics were in Czech. 'Rockytop, Tennessee' were the only English words we heard sung that evening. 2) There appears to be no age restriction on who can fill cups of beer. What appeared to me to be not much older than a 10 year old boy kept the cups of pivo full all night long; of course, there was a lot of beer flowing, as the Czech Republic is often cited as the per capita consumption leader of beer.
It was a cool, late summer's evening to remember. One thing I'll especially remember about the night was being trapped in the bathroom for a while. After multiple tries to turn the knob and a little prayer, I finally emerged to find several women waiting in line, who also chuckled at me. I realized while stuck inside why no one else had fully closed the door when they entered.