New on Festival Bytes: A visit at the Winter International Arts Festival Sochi

6 March 2013

In 2013, EFA Secretary General Kathrin Deventer visited the Winter International Arts Festival Sochi for the first time since it became a member of the Association in 2011. On Festival Bytes, she gives an insight into the festival, the city and their future aspirations, especially regarding the 2014 Olympic Winter Games that take place in Sochi. “From 15-24 February 2013, the Winter International Arts Festival Sochi opened its door for the sixth time. It is organised by the leading concert management company “Russian Concert Agency”. Yuri Bashmet, Sochi 2014 Ambassador and the Festival’s Artistic Director, brought the Festival to an outstanding artistic level in 2013. Sochi is not only the location of the Winter International Arts Festival, but also the place where the XXII Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games will happen in 2014 – a very special year as the festival is contributing to the Cultural Olympiad. (...) The festival year 2013 saw many highlights, such as a strong list of renowned artists including the Irish band “De Dannan” or the International Children's Chamber Orchestra that was held in Sochi for the second time. “The atmosphere in this Festival, the time spent with artists and colleagues, is very special for me every year,” said Russian cellist Alexander Buzlov during the closing dinner, where the Mayor of the City of Sochi and friends and colleagues of the musicians congratulated Yuri Bashmet once more on his 60th anniversary. Indeed, the team around Dimitri Grinchenkov including Vladimir Dedyukhin (Deputy Director) and Yulia Klimova (Public Relations) and their team colleagues do a great job: in total they set up 14 (!) festivals across Europe in various cities. Sochi is a city at the Black Sea, Russia’s largest resort city with a strong tradition of sanatoriums; a city by the beach with 145km of coast of the Black Sea, with almost a tropical feeling: mild winters, hot summers, Palms, bamboo trees… Apart from the scenic Caucasus Mountains, pebble and sand beaches, the city attracts vacation-goers with its subtropical vegetation, numerous parks, monuments, and extravagant Stalinist architecture. About two million people visit Greater Sochi each summer, when the city is home to the annual film festival “Kinotavr”. The Winter Olympics between palms and by the beach? Sochi in 2013 is a city of construction and rush to get all set up. One year to go! Construction everywhere: the airport, a new railway station, new hotels, streets, parks, universities, skyscrapers… There is no part of the city that is not under construction, it seems. To get the city ready for the Olympics, the Russian government has committed to a $12 billion investment package, increased by private investment money. By some estimates, the investments necessary to bring the location up to Olympic standards may exceed that of any previous Olympic games. (...) The Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi was set up also, partly, because of the Olympics, and because nothing cultural really happened in February in Sochi. The audience, since some years now, Festival Director Yuri Bashmet says, has been appreciating the artistic quality offered by the Festival. The press is present as well: 60 journalists follow all activities. (...)” Read the full article by Kathrin Deventer on Festival Bytes!