From the Archive - Communist young meet at Bucharest jamboree

4th February 2011 at 00:00
14 August 1953: 'Dazzling' spectacle of World Festival of Youth is worth every penny for British teenagers

For the past three weeks, the Romanian capital of Bucharest has been the scene of intense activity, the streets filled with thousands of young people from all over the world.

At the present time the Fourth World Festival of Youth and Students for Peace and Friendship is coming to the end of its 14 days.

In the background of the festival has been the World Youth Congress, the governing body of the Communist-dominated World Federation of Democratic Youth, which together with the International Union of Students organised the festival.

It is being attended by 40,000 young (and not so young) visitors, of whom 1,000 are from the USSR, 1,500 from Hungary, 1,250 from Poland, 3,500 from France, 1,300 from Britain, 200 from Iceland and 100 from Argentina. The numbers from the West are interesting when it is considered that the minimum cost for the British is #163;33 a head.

"Solidarity funds" were set up to bring over young colonials. Most of the money for these "funds" comes from Eastern Europe, #163;20,000 from Czechoslovakia alone.

Even at #163;30-40 the holiday is a cheap one, for everything is thrown in - plenty of good food, national concerts and dances, films, excursions. On past experience, the amount of official subsidy is high. With its concentration in a short space of time, the Bucharest Festival can be depended on to outshine relatively even the Festival of Britain in terms of spectacle.

Most of those going from Britain are teenagers who often have never been to London before: they can hardly be blamed if they come back completely dazzled by what they have seen.

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