Features (not including available for Russia and CIS only)

The Russian Woodstock

Nikita Shokhov

Published on 25/08/12

© Nikita Shokhov

Empty Hills (Pustye Kholmi) or the Rus­sian Wood­stock, largest open-air non-commercial fest­ival of altern­at­ive music and arts, which is held annu­ally in sum­mer in Kaluga region, Russia.

The fest­ival held on sum­mer gathered from 30,000 to 70,000 people from many Rus­sian regions and some former Soviet repub­lics although the event has never been widely advert­ised. It is dif­fi­cult to count the exact num­ber of par­ti­cipants as admis­sion to the fest­ival is free. It is a non-profit event with no admis­sion fee or sponsorship.

Unlike most music fest­ivals, Empty Hills, which is often called Rus­sian Wood­stock, has no spe­cific musical format or style. Among genres rep­res­en­ted on the fest­ival, there are folk music, blues, rock music, reg­gae.  Musi­cians, who have never been fea­tured on pop­u­lar Rus­sian TV chan­nels and radio sta­tions, per­form at sev­eral wooden stages built in the field by volun­teers. But music at the Empty Hills is not that import­ant. What is really import­ant is the unique and unfor­get­table atmo­sphere of free­dom, love, spir­itual relax­a­tion, pos­it­ive energy and creativity.


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