Russian Rock Festival Kubana Loses Venue After Orthodox Church Protests

Attendees outside the Kubana music festival in Veselovka vVillage, Russia in 2012.

Organizers tell Billboard they are looking at alternate locations for the Aug. 6-9 festival.

Local authorities in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave have canceled Kubana, the country's biggest outdoor rock festival, which was supposed to feature major foreign and local acts. But organizers are still hopeful they'll be able to find a venue in another region and still be able to run the festival on August 6-9, as previously planned.

"Many regions and even countries have offered their help in holding the festival," Kubana's producer Ilya Ostrovsky tells Billboard. "We are currently processing all these offers."

Kaliningrad region authorities explained their decision to shut down the festival by its inability to ensure the safety of audiences and activists' protests.

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Last year, Kubana was ousted from its traditional Black Sea venue, where its six editions were held. But as soon as a new venue in the village of Yantarny was found, local Orthodox activists began to protest, accusing the festival of propagating unhealthy lifestyles and moral values.

The organizers dismissed all accusations and called on audiences who already bought tickets not to be in a hurry to return them.

"The most important expression of support from you will be if you don't panic, don't rush to return your tickets or make any other hurried moves," Ostrovsky said in his address to fans on the festival's website. "I understand that it's not easy, that for each of you, [the price of a festival ticket] is a huge budget, the fate of which has now become very uncertain. I personally guarantee that every sold ticket will be returned if no solution is found or if it doesn't satisfy you."

According to Ostrovsky, moving the festival to another region shouldn't take long. "The festival is basically ready," he said. "There are the artists, there are the audiences. All that's left is to install a stage."

Kubana's announced lineup features the likes of Panic! At the Disco, Hollywood Undead, Infected Mushroom, D12, Enter Shikari, Kill the Noise and Gus Gus alongside local top artists, including Zemfira and Leningrad.

Ostrovsky said that at this point he can't definitely say what the chances are for the festival to go ahead. "The situation changes every minute," he concluded.