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Festival Fever Part V: KaZantip, Crimea

This year marks the first year a festival dedicated to brotherly unity and love was thwarted by the pains of a pending war.

This year marks the first year a festival dedicated to brotherly unity and love was thwarted by the pains of a pending war.

“Bombing for peace is like raping for love. We can’t celebrate love and happiness while our brothers and sisters, no matter if Russians, Ukrainians, or whatever nationality, get killed. Therefore, Kazantip 2014, takes a time out and won’t be held this summer.”

These were the words employed by festival organisers to announce that the latest victim of the mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine was music.

KaZantip, an electronic dance festival held in the village of Popovka in Crimea, began its journey to the mainstream festival arena in 1992.

Held in an unfinished nuclear turbine in Kazantip, the festival had the intentions to be a symbol of solidarity between those that supported Ukrainian independence and those that wanted to rejoin Russia.

To fortify this message, KaZantip became known as a republic, took on the symbols of yellow suitcases and renamed their tickets “ViZas”.

The later adapted orange colour, the main prerequisite for festival attire at the “Z”, is a symbol of the Orange Revolution which took place between 2004-2005 after corruption and voter intimidation sullied the presidential election.


Awash with orange. Image Source:

Growing in numbers, reaching 100 000 in 2000, the festival moved to Popovka, catered for the trance market and attracted over 300 internationally renowned Djs to the field.

Vice magazine called it a “place full of babes and their mafia boyfriends.”

With the first inclination that Russian boots would step into Crimea to defend the growing undercurrent of Russian separatism and their navy bases, organisers moved the festival in 2013 to Anakliya, Georgia.

With Georgia having spent decades engulfed in conflict due to their own separatist issues, KaZantip organisers assumed they had lent the festival to a sympathetic shoulder.

Nonetheless, with Georgie rife with social conservatism, the festival was poorly received.

“We want to share beautiful music but Georgians sit at home, watching us on Facebook,” said KaZantip founder, Nikita Marshunok to Interpress in reaction to the festival’s failure to attract an audience.

This year, having only been able to lure roughly 4000 “paradiZers”, or KaZantip followers, to the festival, Marshunok admitted defeat and cancelled the event.

With unrest in Ukraine culminating to full-blown war, the future of KaZantip, much like Ukrainian independence, remains under question.


What we missed out on (Baby Come Back festival trailer, 2014):

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