Hosting the Europa Cantat international choir festival in 2015 could benefit the southwest Hungarian city of Pécs in a similar manner to when the city was the European Cultural Capital in 2010, Minister of State for Culture Péter Hoppál said at a press conference in Pécs on Friday.

The Minister of State said the preparations would cost HUF 300 million (EUR 971,000), shared between the government and the local municipality, but the expected return is much higher due to increased visitor numbers whose spending will boost the local economy.

The Europa Cantat festival was first held in 1963 as an initiative of French and German conductors aimed at reducing tensions in the wake of World War II. Since then, the festival has been held every three years with thousands of participants, and in addition to concerts the event is also an occasion for choral workshops.

Mr. Hoppál pointed out that this will be the second time that Pécs will be hosting the festival. In 1988, Pécs was the first then Communist city to host the prestigious event. Gábor Móczár, President of the European Choral Federation, which is also the organiser of the festival, said 4,000 singers and some 1,500 other musical professionals and performers will participate in next year’s event, which will last ten days from 24 July to 2 August.

(Ministry of Human Capacities)