So that we are not lost on earth, try not to impute COVID // Organizers of festivals ask not to cancel events at the last moment

After the cancellation of the largest summer festivals and concerts, including the ban on holding the “Wild Mint” in the Tula region the day before the start, their organizers turned to the presidential administration with a request to prevent this from happening in the future. They warn about the “collapse of the industry” in this case and propose to agree on regulations for mass events during a pandemic.

The Association of Concert, Theater and Ticketing Organizations (KTiBO) and the public ombudsman for organizing cultural events Olga Shpigalskikh sent an appeal to the head of the Russian presidential administration Anton Vaino (Kommersant has a letter). The Association (which includes the largest Russian concert and theater companies PMI Corporation, SAV Entertainment, TCI, etc.) proposes to introduce a system of regulations in order to “completely exclude the possibility of sudden cancellations of cultural events.” The reason was the ban on the Wild Mint Festival, the appeal says.

The Wild Mint Music Festival has been held annually since 2008. This year it was supposed to take place in the Tula region from 18 to 20 June. At midnight from June 17 to June 18, the organizers received a resolution to cancel it in connection with the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor. More than 12 thousand tickets were sold for the festival, its promoter Andrey Klyukin on the air of “Echo of Moscow” estimated the organizers’ loss at 100 million rubles. The governor of the Tula region, Alexei Dyumin, personally apologized to Mr. Klyukin for the force majeure. “We will definitely find a way to compensate you for some of the losses,” he promised.

Many other festivals and concerts have been canceled or rescheduled this summer due to restrictions.

The concert of “Bi-2” at Luzhniki and the St. Petersburg “Excellent Fest” was postponed to September of this year, to the end of August – “Dobrofest” in Yaroslavl, to June 2022 – Basta’s concert at “Luzhniki” and the festival “Pain” in Moscow … Pixies concerts in Russia have been postponed to July 2022. In St. Petersburg, concerts scheduled for the time of the SPIEF, Euro 2020 and the Scarlet Sails festival were postponed.

The cancellation of events entails “huge losses for organizers, job cuts, loss of public confidence in the authorities and the concert industry,” the association insists. She said about the “urgent need” to develop regulations for such events for the joint work of their organizers, Rospotrebnadzor and specialized departments. It could include such measures as prolonged admission to the event, when the passage time for spectators is increased to several hours, and there are several entrances, says Olga Shpigalskikh. Among other measures, she calls zoning, control of wearing masks, supplies of sanitizers and other protective equipment, an increase in the number of dry closets, etc. In April, in compliance with all the above safety measures, concerts of the Bi-2 group were held, and none of the spectators, according to polls after events, did not get infected, that is, there are successful cases, Ms. Shpigalskikh is optimistic.

It is enough to include in the regulations the mandatory for viewers the presence of a certificate of vaccination or antibodies or a negative result of a 72-hour PCR test, says Sergey Babich, organizer of the Colisium International Music Forum.

Such a condition guarantees the vaccination of an additional several thousand people, says the founder of the Eventation concert agency Sergey Muradov.

The expenses of the festival start from the first days of its organization – these are advances for advertising, the venue and leading artists, says the editor-in-chief of InterMedia Yevgeny Safronov: “It is difficult to return them, that is, canceling even at the very beginning of the organization means losses.”

The executive director of KTiBO, the head of SAV Entertainment and the Russian Show Center Vladimir Zubitsky clarified that the purpose of the appeal to the Presidential Administration is “to establish at least some kind of dialogue with the authorities”. “You can’t just confront the organizers with a fact and cancel the event the day before it starts. This means a loss of 100% and the collapse of the industry, ”he laments.

Valeria Lebedeva

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