Stay Tuned to Music

Russia has solid traditions when it comes to music. From folk music to classical music, from ethnic music to modern styles. Many people receive an education in music and many play music instruments. And everybody loves to listen to music! In Summer people especially like to listen to live music outdoors – at the multiple music festivals. Let me tell you about two festivals I went to this Summer.

Nashestvie Rock Festival

That is THE Rock Festival of the year, annual event since 1999. This year Nashestvie took place 120 km from Moscow at the place called Bolshoe Zavidovo, 60 km from Tver city. 153 K visitors attended the event and most of them camped at the field near the stage.

Traffic to music festival Nashestvie

Traffic to Nashestvie

It is impossible to describe how big is this event. “Nashestvie” literally means “Invasion”. Very accurate name for this particular event! Lets start with “getting there”. How long do you think it can take you to drive 120 km (~ 100 miles)? It took me 7 hours! That was insane, especially given that a lot of visitors of the festival take train instead of driving.

Nashestvie music festival tents

Nashestvie tents

When you arrive at the festival, you hear the music and see the sea of cars, tents and people. Organizing a music festival of that scale requires a lot of logistics. I was surprised to see how well it is managed. I guess that hosting a festival for so many years has led to perfection.

Nashestvie music festival stage

Nashestvie stage

Now, who plays at Nashestvie? Line up includes ALL the iconic bands of Russian Rock, such as Alisa, Akvarium, DDT, Bi-2, Neschastny sluchai and many more. Festival is 3 days long, all this time bands play non-stop to the enjoyment of visitors.

The audience of the festival is very diverse. Most people are in their 20s-30s. They dance, chill out in the sun and many drink beer (local beer brand is sponsoring the festival). Very laid back crowd. For some people though festival is the opportunity to show themselves, so you can see people with all kinds of tattoos, haircuts and even people dressed up as film characters:

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But no words can describe the ambiance better than seeing it with your own eyes. As we say in Russia – it is better to see something once than to hear about it for 10 times. So, here is a short video from Nashestvie-2014:

Usadba Jazz Festival

Usadba Jazz logo

Usadba Jazz logo

This event is at the other pole from Nashestvie Rock Festival. It started in 2004 as the first open air jazz festival in Russia, uniting bands that play jazz, funk, world music, acid-jazz, lounge, jazz-rock and blues. Usadba Jazz takes place at a beautiful venue – country estate Archangelskoe, built in the end of the 18th century. “Usadba” actually means “country estate”.

At first it was a relatively small event, now it has more than 40K visitors. Since 2008 Usadba Jazz first hosted bands from other countries, Festival received status of an international event. Some of the famous jazz musicians, who played there in different years are: Marcus Miller, Avishai Cohen Trio, Branford Marsalis Quartet, Charlie Hunter Trio, The Brand New Heavies, Yusef Lateef & Belmondo Quintet, Nils Landgren, Aaron Parks, Jazzanova Live!, Trilok Gurtu, Zap Mama, Jimi Tenor, Lucky Peterson, John Scofield, Puppini Sisters, Oleg Lundstrem Orchestra, Igor Butman Big-Band.

Atmosphere at the jazz festival is very different from the rock festival. Here is a great video of Usadba Jazz:

 And what are your favorite music festivals? 

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