Choirs and dance groups from Russia, Poland, Ghana, the Carribbean, Hungary and West Germany are in Cork for a festival of folk music.

The Cork International Choral and Folk Dance Festival began in 1954 and since then has hosted choirs and dance troupes from all over the world. Tom MacSweeney reports from Cork Airport as participants from around the world arrive for the 24th festival.

There is a rather unique atmosphere about this Cork festival.

Every year new musical works are commissioned in Cork and as such 

Cork has won a particular place of fame in the world of music.

The festival began at Cork City Hall with the ceremonial raising of the Tóstal flag by the Director of Bord Failte Mr Joe Malone to a fanfare of the Band of the Southern Command. The stage was decorated with a thousand carnations sent to Cork from the city of San Remo in Italy. 

The lively folk dance performances are a particular feature of the event.

As well as the formal festival performances, visiting choirs give more informal outdoor performances in towns through county Cork. It is expected that nearly 3,000 people will participate in the four-day event. 

Director of the festival Professor Aloys Fleischmann talks about the achievements of the festival since it began. 

It has greatly helped the interest in choral music. It has helped choirs to survive and to put on more interesting programmes.

One of the challenges for the festival, according to Professor Fleischmann, is the amount of material to be fit into the programme and competition amongst performers is stiff. However, he feels that the standard of performance is improving every year.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 April 1977. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.