Czech police have intervened at an allegedly illegal music festival -
known as Czechtek - held annually in the Czech Republic. Early Saturday
the festival, held on a meadow near the village of Mlynec na Tachovsku, in
west Bohemia, continued with some 5,000 visitors. But, police - numbering
more than a thousand in riot gear and backed, for example, by water
cannons - intervened Saturday afternoon, trying to force visitors off the
grounds. Part of a nearby highway was closed off. Several hundred visitors
reportedly refused to back down and began throwing bottles, at which point
police resorted to using tear gas.
The police intervention followed charges pressed by neighbouring landowners who complained that visiting fans had clogged local roads and had damaged private property.
Police intervened only following an assessment by a public prosecutor and an authorised expert saying that festival-goers had broken the law. But, the owner of the grounds has complained he rented the site to festival organisers legally.
In the past, Czechtek has courted no small measure of controversy: last year the event, held elsewhere in Bohemia, resulted in property damages of an estimated 1.4 million crowns - the equivalent of about 56,000 dollars US. At that time police also stepped in.
In the summer there really is no shortage of music festivals to visit throughout the Czech Republic but none is, arguably, as original and diverse as Pacovsky Polednik, held in August. Now in its 6th year, the festival takes its name from the town where it's held - Pacov - in the Czech-Moravian highlands, located on the 15th meridian - patnacty polednik - in Czech.
The south Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov has an unusually well preserved and beautiful centre, and is one of the most visited spots in the Czech Republic. Cesky Krumlov is currently hosting its annual International Music Festival, which is taking place in almost a dozen different venues, including the gardens of the town's chateau. Martin Mikule spoke to the festival's artistic director Zbynek Mikulas.
While for most of the year Prague concert halls offer dozens of concerts every week, in the summer months, when people leave for their holidays most concerts are aimed at foreign tourists - almost every day you can hear several rather ropy renderings of Vivaldi's Four Seasons or Mozart's Requiem in churches around the city.
The International Music Academy in Pilsen (about 100 kilometers south west of Prague) is a month summer course teaching young people the violin. Even though it is the first time that the academy is taking place in Pilsen, the course builds on the much older tradition of the Summer Violin School in Meadowmount, New York.
This year's Folkove Prazdniny, or Folk Holidays, festival begins in Namest nad Oslavou in south Moravia on Saturday. Among the main attractions will be Irish singer Glen Hansard, who plays regularly in the Czech Republic, both solo and with his band the Frames. Other artists appearing over the eight days of the festival will include guests from Italy, Senegal and the United Kingdom.
It has been over a year since the internationally successful reality-based TV contest known as "Pop Idol" first aired in the Czech Republic. Known here as Cesko hleda superstar the programme brought instant fame to singers, with most of last year's finalists releasing albums since. In this Panorama we'll be looking at arguably the three best singers to emerge from the first series: Aneta Langerova, who won, along with Samer Issa and Martina Balogova - who were among the top finalists.
Sixty-nine Czech MPs have this week signed a letter asking President Vaclav Klaus to give the pop singer Karel Gott an important state honour - the Order of Merit. Karel Gott, who turns 66 this Thursday, has sold many millions of albums during a career spanning three decades. Dubbed the "Sinatra of the Eastern Bloc", Gott is also very well known in countries like Poland, Russia and Germany, where he is a living legend.
The 150-member Boston Gay Men's Chorus (BGMC) is one of New England's largest and most successful choirs. It has broken ground in affirming the positive image of the gay community in the United States, and is now on a tour of Europe. In Prague, the BGMC held a gala concert at one of the city's great concert venues last week. Radio Prague's David Vaughan met up with the chorus's executive director, Steven Smith, before the performance.
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