Colours of Ostrava 2006 to have distinct international feel

The Colours of Ostrava, which gets underway on Thursday and reaches a climax on Sunday evening, is perhaps the biggest music festival in Moravia. Among the biggest stars this year are ex-Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and Salif Keita from Mali. As organiser Zlata Holusova explains, this year's festival has a distinct international feel.

Zlata Holusova,  photo: CTK
"More than 30 artists from abroad are appearing at the festival, and not just any old groups and singers - many of them have been honoured in the BBC World Music Awards, such as Salif Keita. He's just one of many leading African artists appearing - others include Cheikh Lo from Senegal and Mariem Hassan, who's been called a kind of desert Janis Joplin. But the festival is about more than music - we also have workshops, theatres a caf‚é-cinema and many more attractions."

But sticking with music for a while - other big foreign names include Gogol Bordello and The Frames, while the Czech Republic will be represented by the likes of Monkey Business and Chinaski.

While the majority of Czech music festivals take place in the country, Colours of Ostrava is unusual in that it is held in the middle of this old industrial city.

"Luckily the trade fair in Ostrava is right in the centre, on Cerna Louka and there is a nice open space there by Slezkoostravsky Castle. It is also near Stodolni Street, where there are a lot of nightclubs, so some parts of the programme will take place there. This year for the first time we will have a stage in a church and, on Sunday, we will have a gala concert in the city's Cathedral of the Divine Saviour."

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