Respect Festival no longer to be held at Prague Castle says President

25-04-2003

Music lovers in Prague will be sad to hear the news that the annual Respect ethnic world music festival will not be held at Prague Castle. President Vaclav Klaus announced this week that he no longer wanted to support the music festival. But, the festival will still go ahead this year, Prague City Hall has come to the rescue.

Performers at the Respect ethnic world music festival have come from all over the world to perform in Prague, from such places as Romania, Morocco, Syria, Poland, and of course the Czech Republic. For the past five years the music festival has been held at Prague Castle, but President Vaclav Klaus announced this week that the castle would no longer be interested in supporting the popular music festival, his spokesman Tomas Klvana explains.

"This is a change of Czech Presidential administration and Mr. President has a right to decide what kind of cultural undertaking he wants to support and what kind of cultural undertaking he doesn't want to support and he just decided that he's not going to support this festival. He doesn't have to give reasons for that decision and he opted for that, he is not going to give reasons for this one."

I also spoke to the organizer of the music festival Borek Holeck and began by asking him what will happen with the festival now that it will no longer be held at Prague castle.

"Luckily the Prague Town Hall was very helpful to us so this year it will take place at the Stvanice island and for the future we don't know."

How did the castle support the festival in the past?

"In the past it was not just support, because for the last five years the Prague castle administration was one of the organizers. The festival was organized by Rachod agency, Respekt weekly, and the Prague castle administration. Basically they gave us the area and for example this year they originally promised some financial participation to cover the costs."

Did the news from President Vaclav Klaus surprise you, did it come unexpectedly?

"Yes, it is a shock I would say. Since January I was trying to have a meeting or get some information from the new director of the Prague castle administration, his name is Mr. Richard Vidlicka. But then when he promised a meeting, he then cancelled the meeting and he never responded to any emails. The situation was getting slightly weird. So we decided to send a letter directly to the President and you know the answer."

25-04-2003