18th International Festival of Arts confirms reputation of a holiday uniting almost every genre.
The Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk is so diverse that few colours appear to be missing from its palette. Moreover, it continues to grow each year, ever changing and developing, bringing pleasant surprises for its audiences. This year, 33 states took part, each bringing their own unique colours and emotions.
“Some global events are known by all — such as the Olympic Games and global film festivals; they symbolise the highest achievements in sports and art. I think our festival of arts — the Slavonic Bazaar — occupies a worthy place among them,” noted the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, at the opening ceremony. He recalled that, in the mid-1990s — when the USSR had broken up and old partnerships were in chaos — Vitebsk began to hold its festival, bringing joy amidst the anxiety. Vitebsk is now a cultural capital of the Slavonic world and beyond. Its first festival gathered just 200 participants from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine; now, over 5,000 guests from Europe, Asia and South America register.
Its major achievement is the promotion of mutual love between artistes and audiences. Its success lies in its unique magic; it is unlike any other festival, embracing national traditions. People are attracted like magnets. “In recent years, many diverse festivals and pop shows have appeared in the post-Soviet space,” noted Mr. Lukashenko. “However, they are all very much alike, losing originality in favour of glamour. They fail to touch our hearts. The Slavonic Bazaar unites the beauty of ancient culture and rhythms and energy of modern civilisation. Its major advantage is its ability to unveil and support true talent. It’s very pleasant to hear guests note that the Slavonic Bazaar is a powerful stimulus for the development of national cultures by states near and far. Performers consider it an honour to perform on the stage of the Summer Amphitheatre.”
The presidents of Russia and Ukraine — Dmitry Medvedev and Victor Yushchenko — highly acknowledged the significance of the Vitebsk forum in their greetings — addressed to guests and participants. Meanwhile, famous artistes and bands created a festive mood for the audience for several hours — presenting their artistic gifts.
As has become traditional over the 18 years of the festival, its major intrigue is the International Pop Song Performers Contest. It was clear who would win after the second day of the contest. The jury made no secret of its preferences among the 16 singers (from 16 nations); the clear leader was Dmitry Danilenko, from Russia, who earned 192 points out of a possible 200. Interestingly, our Belarusians could be glad for the success of a foreigner for the second time this year — the main hero of Eurovision–2009 was Norwegian Alexander Rybak (who was born in Belarus). Dmitry Danilenko was born in Belarusian Gomel, although is now working and studying in St. Petersburg. In line with the contest’s rules, on the second day of the competition, he could sing any Slavonic song. He chose Belarusian Princess — from famous Belarusian band Pesnyary’s repertoire. As a result, he received the festival’s Grand Prix.
Pasha Parfeni, from Moldova, was just four points behind. Next in line were favourites Vlatko Lozanoski, from Macedonia, and Belarusian Andrey Kolosov, with 186 points each. Ukrainian Petr Dmitrichenko earned 182 points while Lithuanian Jeronimas Milius received 181. Prizes and diplomas are accompanied by monetary awards — with the Grand Prix holder given $10,000. Pasha took $6,000 while second place was worth $4,000 and third place $2,000.
[i]By Artem Trofilov[/i]