‘Some said they didn’t see any sense in this, some, in contrast, supported’
The first festival of street musicians took place in Kazan. 11 bands that were selected made Kazan citizens happy. They played world hits and familiarised the public with their art. The Directorate for Parks and Squares said the organisers were just testing such a format and trying to improve it in the future. Read more about the festival in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
History: how Kazan authorities put Bauman Street in order
It should be reminded that in 2022 the Kazan Executive Committee adopted an order for artists’ convenience regulating the order of coordination of activity of street musicians and artists in open air sites in the capital of Tatarstan. This is how Art-prospekt digital platform appeared.
As the city authorities claimed, the service should help public places in order so that musicians don’t bother people and don’t go into conflict with each other because of the most favourable areas. The application allows booking time and place for performance.
However, such an initiative caused contradictory feedback. Despite all the pros and cons, the Art-prospekt platform became the first attempt of the authorities to establish contact with Kazan street musicians. In May, the application turned a year, and the Executive Committee of Kazan made another step by organising the first festival of street musicians.
The goal of the festival is to give talents an opportunity for self-expression
The festival held in front of the Kremlin gathered over several hundreds of spectators. It is hard to name the accurate number of visitors because the event was held in one of the most visited streets of the city. The goal of the event, as vice head of the Kazan Executive Committee Guzel Sagitova said, is to provide talented artists an urban site for self-expression.
Musicians had to go to an audition to perform at the festival. Several tens of performers applied — they were given points, every performer received feedback.
However, only 11 performers made it to the festival.
Despite the cold and rainy weather, spectators already gathered during a rehearsal.
Residents of other cities — Ufa, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod — too came to watch Kazan musicians.
“We want to get acquainted with street musicians”
Emma Zakirova, art manager of the Kazan Directorate for Parks and Squares supervising the summer event programme on Bauman Street, told Realnoe Vremya that the city authorities decided to create and host a festival:
“We launched the Art-prospekt online platform last summer that helps putting order. Street musicians can book slots for performances there so that everything goes according to schedule. At some sites they can perform with sound equipment and without it not to cause discomfort for people. But we decided this was little and we wanted to enter a new stage of cooperation with the urban community of street musicians. The Directorate for Parks and Squares actively works with different urban communities — chess players, athletes, so we have entered a new level. We thought what we needed, what we wanted — we wanted to get acquainted with street musicians, we want to show them to the city from a new angle, provide some new site.”
As Zakirova said, the festival was created to support street musicians:
“This is how we decided to support them and show we are also interested in street musicians, we support urban communities and made up our festival of street musicians. In fact I think that the idea is awesome. Our message is to show to the city, show to street musicians themselves that we don’t refuse them and, on the contrary, want to make up new formats, work with them. And I think we more or less did it.”
In answer to the question what urban performers themselves thought about this idea, for instance, some of them wasn’t happy about the digital platform regulating their activity, Zakirova admitted that the responses were indeed different:
“Some said they didn’t see any sense in this, some, in contrast, supported. We, the Directorate for Parks and Squares, at least work as open window: we will continue working with Art-prospekt, we will continue improving and testing it. In general, this is the country’s first platform of this kind that is trying to put order when it comes to street musicians. Yes, we take our lumps, we don’t refuse or something, we are working, we are learning. We heard out street musicians’ opinion who didn’t participate in the audition, contacted them and received feedback. Now the summer season is coming to an end, we are approaching the winter season and we will closely work with this and try to make it better,” said the art director.
Zakirova also shared plans for the near future. For instance, now an active job is done on different novelties that also affect the life of street musicians in winter.
“In winter Bauman Street won’t stay silent. It seems to me this street will never stay silent, this is its specifics,” she noted.
Talking about further plans for the festival itself, Zakirova specified that the organisers are now testing such a format, palpating it and trying to improve it for the future.