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Europe's summer culture crop - 30/07/2010

Two ballet dancers on stage © EU

Summer is the season for cultural festivals. With a bumper harvest of cultural events out there, what better time of year to head off and sample the exceptional places and world-class artists that Europe has to offer?

First up on the European festival tour is Avignon in France: every July, the city hosts a giant theatre festival with up to 40 shows. Top billing at this year's festival goes to a performance of Shakespeare's Richard II at the Palais des Papes.

Classical-music lovers might want to make a beeline to Florence for the International Festival of Youth Orchestras, also in July. Linked to the Riga City Festival and Provence's Floraisons Musicales, the event welcomes young musicians from 7 European countries as part of the European Festival Experience project financed by the European Commission.

As one of this year's European capitals of culture, Pécs, in Hungary, will end its international week of culture with an open-air concert by Goran Bregovic, on 31 July. Spectators can travel from Budapest to Pécs on board an old-style train linking the two towns.

Next stop for festival fans could be Vienna, where the largest European contemporary dance festival will run until 15 August.

Finally, festival-goers can head for Germany's Ruhr region and the city of Essen - another of this year's capitals of culture. The Emscher - once the most polluted river in Germany - is benefiting from one of the most ambitious clean-up projects ever undertaken. From now until September, visitors can find out all about the project at Emscher Island, with sculptures, installations and unusual projects by 40 different artists.

Many of these summer events receive funding from the European Commission's culture and media programmes, to help promote intercultural dialogue and to encourage the movement of both artists and art-works around Europe.

These are just a few of the large array of festivals and cultural events going on across Europe all summer.



More about the EU's culture policy

European Festivals Association - find a festival near you

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