Krilya’s Out Of Site

Moscow’s Krilya Festival won’t happen this year because Stary Melmik brewery is cutting its sponsorship budget and organisers haven’t found a site to replace Tushino Airport.

Using the old airfield, where the Russian military displayed its latest weapons during the Cold War, has always been problematic, but now it’s being developed as the site for Moscow Spartak soccer team’s new 42,000-capacity stadium and an 11,000-capacity indoor arena.

There’s always been a security problem at Tushino and Moscow Mayor Youri Luzhkov has been known to cancel events because the city couldn’t police them. The situation became worse when two Chechen suicide bombers killed 16 people and wounded more than 60 at the gates of Krilya 2003.

"We’re looking for a new site and there are two that are under consideration," said Ed Ratnikov of Talent Concert International, which books the festival’s headliners. "But we are a bit limited in choice because the sponsors want the festival to be held within the city limits, so as many people as possible can get there easily and drink lots of their beer."

Although he’s confident Krilya, which usually takes place in July, will return on a new site in 2009, it means TCI’s next major projects are likely to be in the autumn.

The spring has been a huge success for the company, with German rock act The Scorpions selling out all 12 shows on a Russian tour that finished at Moscow Kremlin Palace April 26.

The only glitch in a smooth-running tour came April 19 at Kemerovo’s Khimik Stadium, where a Siberian snowstorm produced temperatures of nine below zero and nearly forced the band to cancel.

"They were brilliant and went ahead with the show, and the only thing was that they could only play for 90 minutes instead of two hours," Ratnikov explained.