It's festival time in the Czech Republic

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, photo:

Summer is getting closer which means it's festival time again in the Czech Republic. Here are some of the festivals taking place in the next few weeks.

The Prague Spring Music Festival finished on Saturday, having featured as many as 60 concerts, but two other festivals are already underway in Prague. The 17th International Festival of Contemporary Dance and Movement Theatre, Tanec Praha, started last week and will go on until the end of June, featuring dance ensembles from all over Europe. The festival was opened by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan with their performance "Songs of the Wanderers".

The other festival here in the Czech capital is a feast for bookworms: the 15th Prague Writers Festival kicked off on Sunday, this year dedicated to the Italian-born libertine Giacomo Casanova. Taking part this year are poets Michel Houellebecq, Yves Bonnefoy, Ed Sanders, Serbian author David Albahari and Israeli author David Grossman, to name but a few.

On Friday, brass music enthusiasts from all over the world will converge on the town of Kolin, east of Prague, where the International Festival of Brass Bands will make window panes rattle for three days - especially when the orchestras march through the town.

Quite a different style of music will fill the eastern town of Litomysl, the native town of composer Bedrich Smetana, on the 17th of June. Smetana' Litomysl International Opera Festival will, contrary to expectation, feature much more than Smetana's works. Visitors will hear also works by Mozart, Beethoven, Bernstein and a number of Czech classics. We'll be reporting from the festival when it comes.

Between June 23rd and 26th the south Moravian town of Straznice will host one of the biggest folklore festivals in Europe for the 60th time. Folk dance ensembles and signers in traditional costumes will fill the town for four days.

And on the last day of June, the Cesky Krumlov Chamber Music Festival will kick off in the South Bohemian UNESCO-listed town. During a whole week, visitors will be able to enjoy the performances in the beautiful historic settings of Cesky Krumlov.