VK Fest – worth the hype?

This coming weekend the 20-21st of July 2019, VK Fest will be setting up in St Petersburg for the fifth year in a row. VK Fest is markedly the biggest festival in Russia – last year over 90 thousand people came from far and wide to attend this summer event. The tickets cost around 3000 rubles to visit for one day, and a whole weekend ticket costs 5000 rubles. As can be understood from the name, VK Fest is a festival created and ran by the company and social networking site VKontakte. If you live in St Petersburg or any big city in Russia, I’m sure you’ve seen posters dotted all around advertising the occasion – but what can you expect from this festival, and is it worth the cost and the crowds?

Well, first of all, a festival this big is sure to draw in some of the most prominent pop stars in the country. Low and behold this weekend will see the likes of Little Big, Eldzhey (Элджей), Feduk and Olga Buzova (Ольга Бузова) descending on the city. If you are a fan of modern Russian pop, these names will be instantly recognisable to you. If not but you are interested to learn more about modern Russian music, this festival could be a good place for your initiation – these are the stars you’re going to need to survive a standard karaoke night here. I’d recommend you to check out Little Big if you are a fan of satire, and Olga Buzova for something quite a bit more dramatic. Overall, in terms of the music side of VK Fest, the event will definitely be worth your time if you are an established fan of any of the headline artists. If you are just getting started with Russian music, your choice to attend will obviously take a bit more consideration – but I think it would be hard to regret getting to know some new music in a fun environment!

Aside from music, the fest also has a number of other ways for you to spend your time this weekend if you choose to attend. The latest virtual reality technology, speed dating, indoor surfing and gymnastics are just a few of the activities that can be found in one of the festivals interactive площадки (squares) this year. Last year there was even an interactive stall where attendees could have a fake but fully realistic wedding ceremony, and this tradition will carry onto this year as well. This activity isn’t for the fainthearted though- participants are fully expected to use spontaneous improvisation to make the ceremony as heartfelt and entertaining as possible. So, maybe only check this out if you are confident with your language and ready to confess your real or imagined love in front of an audience. There will also be a number of different options for you to eat and drink, no matter what particular dietary requirement you have, so don’t worry about how you’re going to fuel yourself throughout the day. It is worth saying though that this is a family friendly event, so there are strict rules on bringing alcohol into the venue, and this is not the intended venue for a wild weekend of drinking. If that’s what you were hoping for, I’m sorry to say that you could be disappointed.

This event will be most worth your time and money if you want to experience variety of pop music, new activities, food and places to explore generally. I’ll be attending, and I hope it’s as good as it’s set out to be! Will you be checking it out? Either way I hope you’ll cross your fingers and hope for sun in St Petersburg this Saturday, whether you have your sights set on VK Fest or not.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

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