THE MOST prominent Slovak folk festival held annually in the eastern village of Východná will not take place this year. The break in the festival's 50-year tradition was due to an unexpectedly long winter that postponed the construction of a new amphitheatre area for six weeks.
The village's old amphitheatre had to be abandoned after it was deemed architecturally unstable last year. The Východná municipal office obtained Sk95 million (€2.5 million) from the European Union fund to build a new one that will have a 8,000-seat capacity.
However, its construction failed to meet the deadline that would have completed it in time for the festival's start on June 30. Instead of moving the festival elsewhere, the municipality decided to skip this year.
Východná Mayor Pavel Kruppa said organisers had suggested using a meadow just behind the construction site as an alternative location, but the presence of hanging high-voltage wires ruled it out. Moreover, the ground was not hardened enough to hold 1,200 performers and 15-20,000 visitors.
Village citizens agree. "Maybe it's better the festival not take place this year, and that the money be added to the budget for next year," an inhabitant told Slovak Television.
The Culture Ministry has allocated a subsidy of Sk1.3 million for the festival in 2006.
Out of respect for the cancelled festival, participants of the folk dance competition Šaffova ostroha in Dolný Klčov have called on all traditional culture fans to hold "substitute" events between June 30 and July 2, the days the festival was planned to take place.