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Dramatic dancing against endless dome of starry sky

Kamyanitsa Folk Festival held in two-day format for first time in early September, at Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, in village of Ozertso near Minsk
By Yuri Pinchuk

The 5th Kamyanitsa Folk Festival was held, for the first time, over two days, rather than one. Responding to the success of past years, dancers donned their embroidered shirts to dance in circles under the starry sky, delighting visitors. Those attending in national costume were granted free entry to the event, which gathered an impressive 5,000 people or more. 

The Friendly Evening group opened the festival, followed by such Belarusian performers as Palats, Stary Olsa, Guda, Alexandra and Konstantin and Irena Kotvitskaya. Dakha-Brakha (Ukraine), Orkiestra Sw. Mikolaja (Poland), Hvarna (Russia) and Folkneri (Ukraine) also entertained. Some were promoting their latest albums and Shuma headlined the wonderful event, combining national vocal and modern electronic music. Children’s groups also brought a smile to the audience.

In between concerts, visitors enjoyed sampling tea and honey and browsing the craft stalls. You could play old-fashioned games, buy a clay penny whistle or take a master class in throwing a pot.

Kamyanitsa was first held in 2009, aiming to promote traditional culture and attract visitors to the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life. Its wonderful collection of authentic wooden architecture from the 18-20th century is certainly worthy of seeing. All profits from ticket sales help support the Museum. Svetlana Lokotko, the Director, tells us that the takings from the past four festivals have paid for the restoration of 21 buildings on site, with three more still under reconstruction. Meanwhile, Kamyanitsa guests have increased in number six-fold since the festival began: over 60,000 people now visit annually.
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