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 7 Great Festivals Outside Moscow This Summer

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Fresh air, warm weather, music and art – summer and festivals go hand-in-hand. In the second part of our two-part guide to festivals this summer, we round up the top open-air music and arts events outside Moscow.

June 2-June 14

Platonov Festival 

Voronezh 

Named after Soviet writer and poet Andrei Platonov, who was born and lived much of his life in Voronezh, Platonov Festival was launched seven years ago to support projects based on the writer’s works. One of this year’s highlights is the opera “Birthplace of Electricity,” which will premiere at the festival’s opening (June 2). International participants this year include theaters from Argentina, Hungary and Israel. Some events are free of charge and open to the public, like the famous street theater parade. There’s also a book fair, an ethnic music festival in the city park and several exhibitions. 
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June 9-11 

Tolstoy Weekend 

Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Region

This year, Tolstoy Weekend will be held from June 9-11, during the days when the Yasnaya Polyana museum-estate marks its anniversary. As the estate of Leo Tolstoy, the most famous Russian writer of all time, Yasnaya Polyana has had a long connection with theater. The highlight of the festival will be Green Stick, an immersive journey performance by Moscow’s LIQUID theater and actors from the nearby city of Tula, which will cover the entire territory of Yasnaya Polyana. Although most theater productions at the festival are based on the works of Leo Tolstoy, there will be exceptions. Dmitry Brusnikin’s Workshop will present Stories of History, a series of performances devoted to the role of the individual in history, a question raised repeatedly by Tolstoy in his novels. 

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June 16-18 

Art-Ovrag 

Vyksa, Nizhny Novgorod region 

Art-Ovrag (Art Ravine), the largest city art festival outside Moscow with more than 10,000 visitors, will be held in June in Vyksa, 360 kilometers east of Moscow. For seven years Vyksa has been turned into a different city during the festival: visually, culturally and socially. Art-Ovrag has also been involving more and more locals in its activities. This year’s highlight is a unique park drifting on water, with art objects by French land artist Jean-Philippe PoiréeVille and Russian artist Leonid Tishkov, recent winner of the Innovation award as artist of the year, as well architects from the Wowhaus bureau and others. Street artist Misha Most will present the world’s largest graffiti work, covering about 10,000 square meters, while up-and-coming director Yury Muravitsky will be responsible for theatrical performances. There will also be workshops and lectures on urban studies, contemporary art, photography, molecular cuisine and a special program for children.

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July 7-9

Alfa Future People 

Nizhny Novgorod Region 

For a fourth year in a row, Alfa Future People will take place at a secret airport on the banks of the Volga, near the town of Bolshoye Kozino, a half-hour train ride from Nizhny Novgorod. The headliners are GusGus, an electronic band from Reykjavík, one of the few Icelandic musicians of global renown after Bjork. Also on the bill are Infected Mushroom, a dub-step duo from Israel and frequent visitor to Russia, and Pendulum, an Australian/British drum and bass and electronic rock band. The Russian music scene will be represented by both heavyweights, such as Mujuice, as well as relative newcomers like Soul Surfers from Nizhny Novgorod and the Kito Jempere Live Band from St. Petersburg.

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July 7-9 

STEREOLETO 

St. Petersburg 

STEREOLETO (Stereo Summer) will once again take place on Yelagin Island, one of the outer islands of the Neva delta. The whole island is a park with a royal palace as its main attraction. The headliner is U.N.K.L.E., a British band that has gone through so many incarnations, its style is rather hard to define. U.N.K.L.E. is planning to release a new album titled “The Road” and the St. Petersburg concert is part of a tour to support it. There’s also General Elektriks from France, which plays a mix of indie rock, jazz and electronica, as well as Griby, a Ukrainian pop sensation whose song “Tayet Lyod” is breaking all records for a Russian-language song on YouTube. 

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July 21-23 

Archstoyanie 

Nikola-Lenivets, Kaluga Region 

The Archstoyanie Festival has been taking place near the village of Nikola-Lenivets in the Kaluga region, 200 kilometers southwest of Moscow, for more than a decade. The theme of the 12th edition of this international festival of landscape objects is “How to Live?” Founded by Nikolai Polissky, one of the leading land artists in Russia, Archstoyanie showcases the latest achievements in architecture and land art. This year the participants will include Recycle Group, one of the artists at the Russia Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, as well as Alexander Brodsky, famous for his “paper architecture.” NII (Nauka i Iskusstvo), the team behind a trendy electronic club of the same name, will curate the music program.

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July 28-30 

Present Perfect Festival 

St. Petersburg 

Only three years old, the Present Perfect Festival (PPF) has already made a name for itself as an authority on Russia’s electronic music scene. Taking place at the sprawling Street Art Museum, a relatively new and trendy venue, the festival looks like the set of a sci-fi film. This season, the museum’s exhibition focuses on the centenary of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Big international names will play the main stage on July 29, including The Black Madonna from the U.S., Ben UFO and Daniel Avery from the UK, as well as Atom TM x Tobias from Denmark. The organizers have also announced several parallel events that will take place over the weekend.