Heavy rain stops Forum 'spectaculars'
10 May 2004, BARCELONA - A cultural extravaganza lasting five months had a false start Monday after heavy rain stopped planned shows.
10 May 2004
BARCELONA - A cultural extravaganza lasting five months had a false start Monday after heavy rain stopped planned shows.
For the second day running, 'spectaculars' planned by organisers had to be put off because of the downpour in the Catalan capital.
Spain's King Juan Carlos inaugurated the event at the city's especially-refurbished waterfront Saturday.
Organisers hope more than five million visitors will come to the 2004 Forum of Cultures.
It is being promoted as part-festival, part meeting-of-minds on broad themes such as peace, cultural diversity and sustainable development.
Countless conferences and cultural exhibits are planned.
The Dalai Lama has been invited, as has former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
There will be performances of a different kind too: Dance and theatre festivals and more than 400 concerts, hosting a string of international celebrities.
The Forum's organisers describe it as a "cultural Olympics".
But critics say it's a sham.
The anti-globalisation group, the Assembly of Resistance to the Forum, says the event cynically uses the concepts of peace and diversity to earn more money from tourists.
Barcelona's Federation of Neighbourhood Associations says it has taken priority over more immediate urban issues such as healthcare and housing.
The Forum's events are being funded with around EUR 383 million of public and private money.
And EUR 2.1 billion has been spent on infrastructure, including the transformation of Barcelona's once crime-ridden northern shore.
The city's authorities promise the Forum's site will be profitable after the festival is over as a venue for large trade conferences.
Subject: Spanish news