Ukraine's annual month-line party kicks off this weekend in Crimea.
Even at a glance it's clear that Kazantip is different. Loathe to be called a "festival," the four-week party fancies itself as an independent republic, one founded on ideals such as "summer all year round" and "life with no pants." Its revelers are citizens (or "citiZens" to be precise), its tickets are passports and its founder is referred to as The President. Set on the shores of the Black Sea, the sprawling event includes six dance floors, more than 30 bars and restaurants and countless art installations and various other oddities.
In terms of music, Kazantip's Minister of Culture estimates that half of the DJs come from all over the world, and the other half are Russian-speaking. The former group features big name acts like Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Cassy, John Digweed, Danny Howells and M.A.N.D.Y.. The second includes Russian staples like Moonbeam and Denis A among dozens of others.
In an attempt to get a better understanding of what drives Kazantip, RA caught up with Andriy Goshva, the event's Minister of Propaganda.
Minister of Propaganda is an unusual title for someone who works at a festival. Then again, would you call Kazantip a festival, or something else?
No, never. In case you don’t know, "festival" is a forbidden word at Kazantip, almost a "curse." So, Minister of Propaganda, as the man responsible for the project’s image, simply has no right to use that term. And sure, Minister of Propaganda is an unusual status for someone who works at some festival, but if you’re working at the government of the republic, it’s okay.
What's the philosophy behind Kazantip?
As it’s said in the Constitution, "The KaZantip Republic is a Utopian society focused on achieving the impossible—freedom from social, political and historical clichés, sophistication of citizenship, democracy, culture and order..."
How did the festival begin?
"Festival" again? ;) It all happened back in 1992. It began as a windsurfing competition that brought together 78 participants and 600 devotees. To make their hanging out at the shore merrier, the prospective president of the Kazantip Republic simply switched on some sound on the beach. The next year, even more devotees got there and among them were DJs, who carried their LPs just to keep from getting bored.
The competition was held at the peninsula called Kazantip, not far from the derelict nuclear power station. It had been left incomplete right after the Chernobyl disaster and standing alone in the middle of the field as a tremendous and unimaginable piece of Hollywood scenery set up for an apocalyptic movie. And in 1997, the President committed the act of pure kazantypical madness and threw a 5,000-person party, "The Night at the Reactor," which established a tradition of the Nuclear Nights and went down in the history of Russian rave movement.
In 2000, the festival was forced to change its place. Since then, it has no longer been a festival, but a republic. The Independent Kazantip Republic that can freely move in space, wherever the president wants and where the nation is better off. The Kazantip Republic borrowed the name from the headland it occupied early on and enticed its devout followers away to become the Great Nation ruled by a small president. He has been ruling this imaginary but great country for 19 years. Something like that...
Why is Kazantip so long? Is it difficult to get through an entire month of partying?
Why so long? Because there are things that are never enough. Like summer, sea, friends, fun and good music. Sure, an entire month of partying could be really difficult and even boring. But Kazantip is not only about partying, it’s about living. So the great Kazantip nation is just living, gathering energy for the following long winter ;) As for us, organizers of this movable feast, then yes, sometimes it’s a hard mission. But still noble. So we’re okay with that.