Ethno-Fest Freedom!

  • Ethno-Fest Freedom!
  • Ethno-Fest Freedom!
  • Ethno-Fest Freedom!
Issue 3, July 2008.

Summer in Lviv is increasingly becoming associated with growing number of annual summer music and ethno-folk festivals being held in the region. As the cultural capital of the country, Lviv has provided a patriotic impulse to much of the national soul-searching of the past 17 years of independence, and one of the off-shoots of this has been the development of an open air festival culture that has mushroomed in recent years into a genuine
East European phenomenon. Many of this year’s festivals are within easy reach of Lviv. Day trips come highly recommended.

The Shypot Hippy Festival

Date: July 1-10
Place: hippy camp near the Shypot waterfall outside Uzhgorod

This original festival was first launched in 1993 by several like- minded persons who wanted to create something new and challenging Ukrainian hippies. The motto of the event is love, peace and wine, and this annual gathering prides itself on its positive vibe and openness. Traditionally the festival is split into a number of themed days: Children’s Day, The Miss Shypot beauty contest, and Ivan Kupala holiday celebrations complete with huge fires and a lot of fun.

Molodya Halychina international festival of modern Ukrainian songs

Date: 7-12 July
Location: Novojavorivsk, Lviv region

This song festival dates back to 1992 and the first flowering of post- Independence Ukrainian national culture. Initially it was a regional affair, but it has since taken on international dimensions as ties with diaspora communities have strengthened and the festival gained a reputation for innovation throughout the region. “Moloda Halychina” has proved the launch pad for the careers of many a successful Ukrainian recording artist  including Katerina Buzhinska, Natalya Buchinska, Katya Chili, Tina Karol and the gorgeous Mika Newton as well as composers Timur Usmanov and Ruslan Talabira. This year the festival will welcome participants from Canada, Poland, Bulgaria, Moldova, Belarus and Georgia.

Boikivska Vatra – 2008

Youth festival
Date: 12-13 July
Place: Yavora village, close to the town of Turka

This will be the second summer in a row that the team at “Centre of Europe” event promotions have hosted the Boikivska Vatra folk-rock festival in the village of Yavora (near to Turka). Participants and guests will gather at one of the most picturesque corners of Carpathians, at the meeting point of three rivers: the Stryj, Dnister and Syan,close to the highest mountain in Lviv region -mountain Pikui, offering mineral water springs, crispy clear air and breathtaking scenery.


Date: 12-14 July
Location: Sheshory village, Lviv region

For three years now the Carpathian village of Sheshory has played host to an international festival of ethnic  music and arts which has proved so popular that it has influenced the direction of entire ethno-festival trend in Ukraine. Picturesque Carpathian mountains, rushing mountain rivers, and plenty of gentle folk and party people have all become part of the Sheshory image. It attracts musicians and fans from all over the world and offers everything from concert  programmes to more low-key jamming sessions. Arguably the social event of the annual ethno-fest season.

Halytsky Festyny 2008

Date: 18-20 July
Place: Zvenigorod, Pustomyty region (10km from Lviv)

Once upon a time the town of Zvenigorod had been a mighty place of great regional importance with a powerful castle and strong military presence. That all changed when Zvenigorod was razed to the ground by the invading Mongol hordes of 1241. The city never managed to recapture its glory after those tragic events, but in recent years a certain swagger has returned to Zvenigorod as it plays host to the annual Halytsky Festyny and becomes the de facto capital of Lviv, Ivano Frankivsk and Ternopil regions for three days of rock and big name concert excitement. Acts lined up for 2008 include Ukrainian superstars Tartak, VV, and Ruslana. Expect also to encounter plenty of knights in armour and other authentic medieval treats.

Taras Bulba festival

Date: 18-20 July
Location: Dubno, Rivne region

This original rock festival has long history, dating back to 1991, when it was held for the first time on the banks of the picturesque river Ikva, near the walls of Dubnensky castle. This festival is an international affair and is expecting special guests this year from Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Canada, Poland, France, Russia, Byelorussia and Moldova. However, the highlight looks set to be a performance from the ever inspired VV, led by Oleh Skrypka.


Nostalgia festival
Date: 19-20 July
Place: Bitlya village, Turkiv region, Lviv oblast

Ukrainians are renowned Beatles fans and the head of the country’s network of fan clubs Volodymyr Mykhalik has come together with fans in the appropriately-named village of Bitlya to launch a new festival dedicated to the Liverpool band, which will take place on July 19-20. This fun event will have a serious side and will seek to draw the attention of festival-goers to the problem of deforestation in the Carpathians.

Pidkamin 2008

Date: 25-27 July
Location: Pidkamin village, Brody region, Lviv oblast

Pidkamin 2008 ethno festival promises to build on last year’s successes which saw it emerge as the biggest hit of the summer festival season. The festival takes its name from a nearby village which means literally “under the stone”. Pidkamin is located close to the so-called Devil’s Stone, a huge outcrop of rock that has been a focus of myth and mystery since ancient times. This spooky- looking rock formation offers a mystical backdrop to the festival and has certainly added to the event’s appeal among an audience hungry for spiritual sustenance. The programme of the festival is heavily in favour of folk and ethno music practitioners and is expected to attract large crowds.

Slavske Rock Festival

Date: 25-27 July
Location: Slavske village, Skolivsky region, Lviv oblast

This festival is part of on-going efforts to turn the Carpathian region into an all-year-round tourist attraction and is being held under the motto, “I love the Carpathians!” Much progress has been made in recent years developing the potential of the Carpathians as a destination for winter sports tourism, but it remains an area yet to be fully
exploited in the summer months. This year’s festival will be grace by a host of international performers including Britain’s The Ukrainians, Italy’’s La Skarnemurta, Giri from Sweden, Mamasweed from Germany and Turkey’s Direc-T.

Levada Dnister festival

Date: 1-3 August
Place: Torchynovychy village, Lviv region

This is a new arrival of the annual ethno festival calendar, and promises to offer one of the freshest festival line-ups of 2008. The event will benefit from picturesque surroundings on the banks of the Dnister River. Event organisers promise what they refer to as, “A holiday for the Ukrainian soul,” which will feature some of the very best folklore and rock traditions of the region. Guests include Ukraine’s Skryabin, Kryhitka tsahes, the Yanka Kozyr orchestra, Yurkesh and the haunting Hutsul Calipso.

Beskydy Festival of Ukrainian Song

Date: 8-10 August
Place: Verhne Synovidne village, Skole region, close to Lviv city

The idea behind the Beskydy Festival of Ukrainian Song is the popularisation of the ballads traditionally performed by Ukrainian bards. As well as protecting and celebrating an ancient treasure of Ukrainian folk culture, the festival also seeks to promote eco-tourism in the Carpathians as a way of protecting the region’s unique bio-diversity.

Bandershtat 2008

Festival of alternative music
Date: 9-10 August

Place: The Sonyachny campsite in Garazdzha village, close to Lutsk in Volyn region

The stated objective of this festival is promote ideas of Ukrainian unity and patriotism. Plenty of flag-waving patriotic acts are on the list to perform including ethno-fest mainstays Haydamaky.

Verhobuzh Festival

Date: 29-31 August
Place: Verhobuzh village, Zolochiv region (near Lviv)

This festival is a lovely way to wind down your summer fun on the banks of the Zahidny Bug River in the gorgeous best of Lviv’s countryside. The festival is rich in cultural impressions and offers a window on ancient crafts as well as regular live performances from folk bands, while for the more practically-minded there is a
popular kite-flying event.