Grigory Kornilov, Big Twin Arena: ‘In truth, there is no decline in entertainment industry’
Most regions of Russia, against the background of improving the epidemiological situation, are lifting bans on holding mass events. At the same time, sanctions pressure due to the special military operation in Ukraine forced the largest foreign companies to leave the Russian market, leaving it without musical equipment, among other things. The unfavourable period for artists has already stretched for three years, but those for whom creativity is work equal to the work of a firefighter continue to have both feet on the ground. The owner of Big Twin Arena, one of the largest and most popular concert venues in Kazan, Grigory Kornilov, told Realnoe Vremya how and what the city's entertainment industry is living now.
Concert seasons and time for festivals
Currently, there is no decline in concert activity in Kazan, and the flow of visiting artists remains at its standard volume. The traditional decline is predicted for the beginning of summer, when the concert season ends and the time of festivals begins.
“Firstly, the concert season of the year is divided in half. The first half takes place in spring, and the second — in autumn. This is what concerns the sites. In the summer, artists go to festivals. At this time, concert schedules for tours are not compiled. Well, except for major artists. They already have filled stadiums, they can afford it. As far as I know, almost all the major festivals that are announced for this summer will take place. There will be YLETAY, no one seems to have cancelled Nashestvie, and Chernozem will be held this year. Restrictions on coronavirus in Russia as a whole have been lifted, and they used to interfere with events," says Grigory Kornilov.
According to him, with the beginning of the special operation, the number of events for some period noticeably decreased, but it was a forced measure.
“After the start of the special operation, many concerts in March were postponed to September because there was confusion. What will be next? How to plan? People could have come, and everything would have just been cancelled. It is clear that the situation is uncertain, and not to risk it, many concerts were postponed, and some who did not reschedule were able to hold them. In general, spring has been stable, and there are a lot of applications for autumn," Grigory stressed.
On May 18, the members of Bi-2 group announced the postponement of the concert in Kazan for the autumn of 2022, the dates of concerts in Ufa, Astrakhan, Cheboksary, Tallinn, Perm and Yaroslavl have been changed — the musicians posted such a message on the group's VKontakte page.
Although this problem was not so clearly and often appeared in the media, but the withdrawal of many foreign companies from the Russian market also affected the music sphere. For example, Fender, Electrovoice and Yamaha were among the first companies to announce the suspension of supplies of their musical instruments and equipment. Foreign record labels Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music also announced the suspension of their activities on March 9 and 10. Besides, on April 11, one of the world's largest streaming services Spotify stopped its work.
“As for musical equipment, after a jump in the dollar, prices for it have risen significantly, in some positions even more than twice. For branded equipment, they have so far remained at a high level. And this is all despite a decline in the dollar. But only because it's not about it. It's just that official distributors cannot import yet. Now there is, conditionally, a shortage of Shure microphones, there is a shortage of Sennheiser systems. Well, popular, everything that is Japanese or American. Currently, there are problems with the import of new branded equipment. Distributors and suppliers cannot deliver the goods, but there are no problems with parallel importation. For example, we've recently brought new audio equipment to Russia. There were, of course, some definite problems with time, but in general everything went well, there is movement," Kornilov said.
“It has not become less, in my opinion, on the contrary, it has increased”
Kazan institutions not only survived the coronavirus, but also to gain many new visitors. According to Kornilov, now when people can get out of the house and the doors of almost all entertainment venues are open for them, this sphere is beginning to return to the usual rhythm of work.
“I don't see any critical statistics for clubs. All those clubs that have survived the coronavirus restrictions, they generally now continue their work in one form or another. For the Kazan musical party, the number of clubs with a capacity from 50 to 1000 people that exist — that's how many there were, so many there are. They have not become less, in my opinion, on the contrary, they have increased. “Syndicate has appeared — it is the former China Town, again, an old club that was simply reformed. Bash has worked and is still working, Idol has been renamed and is now also opening. In general, music venues like RockStar Bar, Stary Royal, our Big Twin Arena, continue to work as before," he noted.
People themselves missed the events, the musician noted.
“I don't see a decline here. Moreover, I do not see a decline in the number of people who attend events, in my opinion, they only became more when the rules of the game opened up that you can come to concerts and it is not prohibited. If all the norms are observed, people come with pleasure, they miss the events. In fact, there is no decline in the entertainment industry. Everything is very stable and smooth. Yes, there will be a summer downturn now, but this is a normal seasonal downturn for clubs and music venues. It was always there and at any time. Closer to the summer, people left — some on vacation, students at home, some from other cities, the older generation — to dachas. Let's hope that no new shocks will happen, otherwise we have been living here for the last three years and we have one thing or another," Kornilov concluded.