Catalonia and the Czech Republic share a rich fabric of cultural associations and an industrial past that will be highlighted at the gathering of folk culture groups from these two countries in the city of Ostrava. Co-organised by the Associació per a la Difusió del Folklore (Adifolk), Fira Mediterrània and the Catalan Directorate General for Popular Culture, Associations and Cultural Actions of the Catalan Ministry of Culture, the Aplec Internacional will hold its 30th Edition on 30 June, 1 and 2 July in the city of Ostrava, also known as the Black City, in the Moravian-Silesian Region.
Around thirty folk culture groups and around 600 people will participate in the event, which aims at being a high-quality and transversal space that represents the two cultures. Over the course of its 29 previous editions “the Aplec has gone through a transformation that has always strived to be transversal and representing Catalonia’s volunteering”, said the president of Adifolk, Joan Gómez, at the official launch of the event, which took place in February at the Palau Moja in Barcelona. “With 260 Catalan representatives, this event will be huge”, he added. Gómez underscored the close ties between the participating groups and the fact that, for the very first time, there will be a full rehearsal.
The challenge this year is taking the repercussions of the show in the event one step further: “grassroots folk culture has become professional, and this has nothing to do with being paid or not”, claims Jordi Pessarodona, the artistic coordinator of Adifolk.
Ostrava and Figueres: connected 2,000 km apart
Right in the heart of Europe, the third largest city in the Czech Republic, with a population of 320,000 inhabitants has transformed its industrial and mining industry (that is why it’s also known as the black city) into a centre of culture in recent decades. The City hosts the Festival Colours, held at the former gas deposit, which has become a top-notch cultural venue.
Figueres, the capital of the Alt Empordà County, with 45,000 inhabitants, was granted city status 750 years ago, the same as Ostrava. This is another connection established by the organisers of the Festival. An important tourist and cultural attraction, Figueres will send “great” ambassadors of its cultural heritage: the Giant Pep Ventura, which will celebrate its bicentenary, and the local Dragon.
The Aplec will consist of three days of joint folk culture with a multidisciplinary show; a big Sardana dance; the performance of the Human Castles by the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia; a street parade; a concert with a choir, orchestra and a cobla (a Sardana orchestra) and a night of fire, as a closure. Participants include: La Cobla Volta al Món, the Eagle of Tàrrega, the Giant Pep Ventura and the Dragon of Figueres; the Capgrossos from Capellades, the Castellers from the Vila de Gràcia; the Federació de Balls de Diables from Barcelona, the Xàldiga de Barcelona band and the Giants Veguers de Montblanc. Representing the Czech culture there will be the Chamber Orchestra-Camerata Janácek, the Folk Ensemble Hlibina and the Ostrava Choir.
The Aplec Internacional 2017 will stage the presentation of new Adifolk festive elements in the Czech city that have never been seen before.