Strengths and weaknesses, survival code at Atlas Weekend 2018

Author : Yulia Poterianko

Source : 112 Ukraine

We attended the first day of the grand music festival and will tell you about its good and bad sides and give hints on how to enjoy the event to the fullest
19:00, 4 July 2018

Anna Balanyuk/

The fourth Atlas Weekend musical festival has started in Kyiv. This year, the organizers are seriously aiming to surpass the attendance of last year, when over 400,000 people came to the event and did all the possible and impossible for this. What goodies there are at the festival this year and how it turned out, how to avoid troubles and enjoy it to maximum? We will tell you further in detail.

Peculiarities and advantages

The organizers of the Atlas Weekend this year are planning to enter the top 10 of the largest world festivals by attendance. And it seems they are advancing very confidently. According to the head of Ukraine’s Expocenter Yevhen Mushkin, the place for festival’s locations in 2018 was enlarged by 25% compared to last year. In 2017, the territory was 80 ha and this year - 100 ha. For the convenience of the visitors, in particular of North Stage was re-oriented the way the stages do not sound-block one another and allow to hear the performers just fine.

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According to the founder of the festival Dmytro Sydorenko, this year people from 70 countries bought the tickets (53 countries last year) and 10,000 of foreign guests are expected to visit the event. Gigwise news agency played the role in it, having enlisted Kyiv grand in the best world events. Given that a year ago, a free "zero" day, headed by Verka Serdyuchka, was visited by 110,000 people, this time they were obviously not less, even more as met the eye. Well, the viewers were let in the grounds quite quickly, which is good.

Anna Balanyuk/

There were plenty of things to enjoy and plenty of food to eat for this incredible number of people at the Atlas Weekend. This year, two large food-courts with a fairly wide range of prices and a variety of dishes were set up at the Expocenter. There was no return to the monopoly of the alcohol sponsor and, accordingly, the choice of drinks was bigger, and the number of lounge zones increased as well. In addition, there was a big shopping area of ‘Vsi.Svoi’, an amusement park, photo zones and the points merchandising an event worked on the territory. The prices for T-shirts, hoodies, hats, bags and other things with the Atlas Weekend logo are quite democratic. However, those wishing to buy them should hurry up: usually, by the end of the fest, such things are wiped away flat.

Anna Balanyuk/

You can pay for all your purchases only with credit cards. For those who came with empty "plastic", on the territory of the Expocenter there are Oschadbank terminals for replenishing it. Due to non-cash payments, the queues were reduced to a minimum, and the speed of service, on the contrary, significantly increased. Especially if the Internet connection is stable.

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As for mobile communication, it is not brilliant (which is not surprising given such a crowd of people), but is not hopeless too. Powerful gadgets catch the network even in moments of peak load, and you can send SMS with no problem at any moment from virtually any phone. Therefore, you do not have to worry about losing your friends in the crowd.

Anna Balanyuk/

The first day of the Atlas Weekend was expected to be rainy but even the weather decided not to spoil the holiday. It was cool and cloudy, but no rain at all. You could dance in this weather, without the slightest risk of overheating, and the rain on the eve neutralized all the dust that last year’s fans were forced to inhale.

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Lineup and Headliner

Despite the turbulent social networks discontent with Oleh Vynnyk, choosing him as a headliner of the free day was the best move the organizers could come up with. Because hype is a God of mass events, and today there is no artist in Ukraine hyper than the performer of ‘She-Wolf’ hit. Therefore, people who love and hate Vynnyk, who laugh at him and even those who are indifferent to him but could not fight the curiosity, went to see him - that is, literary everyone. So it turned out, as in the famous quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." For Vynnyk, his performance at the Atlas Weekend definitely became a victory and a peak of his career. It is possible that he will not gather greater crowd ever. We will not assert this but the number of his admirers have certainly grown that day.  

Anna Balanyuk/
Anna Balanyuk/

In general, the selection of artists at Atlas Weekend this year no longer follows Ukrainian trends, where rock festivals are currently at the peak of popularity (look for example at the lineup of the upcoming ZaxidFest or Fayne Misto), but European ones. The main grand events are attracting maximum audiences by boldly mixing light and heavy music, intellectual music with mass one, sharply fashionable and music with naphthalene smell.

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The Icelandic Secret Solstice went further this year, calling for the headliners very topical due to the planned retirement American thrash metal people - Slayer and British pop prima Bonnie Tyler. Atlas Weekend does not have such a scale yet, but it is already close to that, and, given the pace of growth of the event, it can still become like that and in the coming years too.

Besides, with the financial assistance of the Kyiv city authorities, a number of topical Ukrainian artists could appear at the Expocenter on a free day. On the East Stage the rockers dominated: Bila Vezha, Karna, Kozak System, SKAI; on the West Stage – the loud girls Mariya Chaykovska, Tayanna, Khrystyna Soloviy and on the Main Stage there were kings of Ukrainian radio programs, - Alekseev, Monatik, Vopli Vidopliassova band, NK, Mozgi and so on. However, perhaps the most interesting from the musical point of view was the North Stage program, which for one whole day was given to the Masterskaya label and its Johnatan Livingston, Soyuz, Lemojovie, Yuko and O. This program was closed by invited guests - sensual French of Her personally presented by the founder of the label Ivan Dorn and who worked with a truly headliner heart.

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The main disadvantage of the festival is lack of space. People are moving in a dense solid viscous stream at a peak torque. This disadvantage is connected with the event’s location. The pathways in VDNH remain at the same width, which is not suitable for dozens of thousands of visitors. This minus is unlikely to be better, as it takes the elimination of lots of trees, and the board of the exhibition center will probably (we hope so) refuse. Therefore, the visitors of the festivals should keep in mind the safety rules of the behavior in a crowd: no panic, let the stream of people move you in its speed, you can get hurt or fall down in a rush. And keep all valuable objects in sight. After all, there are food courts, lounge zones, platforms near the stages and the central alley – it’s less crowded.

Anna Balanyuk/

The sound was not so good. The viewers were complaining that the Main Stage mainly lacks power and depth of the sound. But then again, if the sound is too loud, four main stages and a few additional ones will start outvoicing each other and the residents of adjacent dwelling, who complain about the noise every year, will come and crush the festival.

The transport system did not manage it. Whatever the city authorities did to provide the visitors of Atlas Weekend a comfortable transportation after the major programme, the number of viewers was higher than the number of seats. It was quite hard to get into a subway, Vystavkovyi Tsentr station was like a fan-zone of Oleh Vynnyk concert and the ground transport was leaving the site all loaded. The taxi drivers boosted prices for their service twice. However, with such influx we have witnessed during the first festival day, any developed municipal transport would not manage it. It is almost impossible to transport hundreds of thousands of people (probably even more) from one site with comfort and no problems.

Anna Balanyuk/

What’s next

As this attractive word “free” is not mentioned in none of the rest programs, probably, we will not see such a big crowd as we witnessed on July 3. Just as we will not see British Tom Odell, who cannot come in Kyiv this year (the musician promised to appear at Atlas Weekend 2019). Yet, the rest of the headliners intend to visit the Ukrainian capital. We will hear world best DJ, Dutch Martin Garrix today, a strong-voiced American LP tomorrow, a cosmic British Benjamin Clementine the day after tomorrow, and patriarchs of electronica The Chemical Brothers on Saturday. Placebo, the legends of alt- and indie-rock will perform at the closure of the festival.

Anna Balanyuk/

And no rush destroying your ticket and/or bracelet. Last year, the influx of visitors allowed the organizers to make free entrance on the last day for those who purchased tickets for any previous festival. Who knows, maybe, this year they can let themselves make such present to the Atlas Weekend fans. For now, we may suppose it will happen.

Anna Balanyuk/

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