Peter Gabriel’s world music festival WOMAD is to debut in Russia, with its inaugural edition scheduled to be held in the Caucasus region city of Kislovodsk on Sept. 21-22.
Gabriel himself won’t be able to show up in Kislovodsk, he said in a video address shown at a news conference in Moscow on July 2, but he will try to come to Russia for one of the following editions.
According to Alexander Cheparukhin, director of WOMAD Russia, negotiations with several major international artists about their participation in the festival are in progress, but he wouldn’t reveal their names until agreements are reached. “I can only say that we are talking to Robert Plant as his current program is very impressive,” he added.
Among artists from Russia and CIS already confirmed to participate are the Tuvan throat-singing band Huun-Huur-Tu, Armenian duduk player Jivan Gasparyan, Ukrainian folk rockers Vopli Vidopliassova and Russian singer Inna Zhelannaya.
Large outdoor music festivals have been sprawling in Russia over the last few years, but the country’s North Caucasus region hasn’t yet hosted an event of that scale. Holding WOMAD Russia’s inaugural edition in Kislovodsk, once a popular spa resort, comes as part of a program aimed at attracting tourists to the region.
Meanwhile, if the first festival is a success, WOMAD could expand to Russia’s other parts, with local editions launched in the Urals, Central Russia and other regions, Cheparukhin said.
“I have already had preliminary talks in various regions, not only in Russia but also in CIS states, which, I think, are ready to hold such a festival,” he went on to say. “Many regions are already ready, now the question is if WOMAD is ready to expand that much.”