The largest and most ecumenical festival [of those in Czechoslovakia] is that at Strážnice, in which folk dance ensembles from the entire country participate. So if you have only one choice, pick this one. Here you will hear folk music from all over Czechoslovakia (some of which you can’t even get on records), and watch a panorama of Czech and Slovak folk dancing you won’t see anywhere else. The bright, colorful costumes, the flash of gay embroidery, the stomp of dancing feet and the shrieks of laughter create an unforgettable picture. (p. 89)
The festival is still quite active, as I found out last summer. However, most of the activity happens at night—wine drinking, loud singing, endless folk songs played by pickup groups and professionals. It’s quite an experience. And apparently, it was so even in the post-1969 period. Why was Fodor's encouraging Westerners to travel in eastern Europe at that time? "We believe it is precisely because of the trials [Czechoslovakia] is experiencing that a visit . . . is most timely. The country needs compassionate visitors right now."
The 2007 festival will be held from 21 to 24 June on the grounds of the chateau in Strážnice, under the auspices of the National Institute for Folk Culture (click here for their English page).
Tags: czech, folk, travel, straznice, music , festivals