Outline Cancellation: How Moscow’s Authorities and Adherents of New Urban Culture Misunderstood Each Other

Photo: Outline 2015 by Camille Blake

In modern Russia, perhaps one of the most useful qualities for a citizen is flexibility and ability to adapt to new circumstances. We had to demonstrate exactly those qualities when a few hours before the opening of the Outline festival, to which Moskvaer provided information support, we received a call and were informed about the cancellation.

On July 2-3, 2016 in Moscow the large-scale festival of electronic music and new urban culture Outline should be held for the third time. They say the festival team was preparing for it for nearly the whole year. The festivals of the previous two years were held with great success, so in 2016 the organizers managed to sell about 12,000 tickets. I do know firsthand that this weekend pulled a lot of foreigners and tourists from neighboring areas to Moscow–Berlin, Stockholm, Milan, Prague, Kiev, Minsk, etc.

Outline’s opening was held on July 2 at 22:00, but roughly, around six o’clock rumors about the cancellation began to spread on social media. People widely reposted the notice that was allegedly posted on the gate of MoZAL (fabric, where festival supposed to take place) which said: “Attention! The festival will not take place for reasons beyond the organizer’s control. All the money for the tickets will be returned.”

Some time later the cancellation of the festival was confirmed by a number of media outlets referring to the official statement of the prosecutor’s office. The reasons for the cancellation were, according to the supervisory authority, “numerous organizational violations, including fire safety.” In addition, it is reported that the application for the festival came from the organizing team too late–not 30 days in advance as required by law, but just 3 days before the festival. How could this happen, if preparations for the event started months ago, we can only guess: either a little mixed up, or the place is cursed…

The organizers, of course, do not take the blame for the cancellation, insisting that everything happened for reasons beyond their control, and the Moscow authorities retort: the fault lies entirely on the team of the festival. The situation pushes all the participants and observers to take one side or the other: one more reason for our suffering nation to divide on friend or foe.

During the night between Saturday and Sunday Moscow seethed life, downtown streets were full of joyful young people, foreign speech and laughter could be heard from all around. I hope that those who were really waiting for Outline, and those who came here from afar specially for the fest and were never able to get in, showed the mentioned flexibility and finally managed an alternative scenario for an unforgettable weekend in Moscow.

It’s a shame that the government and business have once again failed to agree, but I do not want to perpetuate the tragic mood and write a premature obituary for the development of “new urban culture” in Moscow. I hope you, my friends, do not lower your arms too.

Anecdote to this topic: The “Mercedes” company bought AvtoVAZ. The reconfigured production and ran the pipeline. But instead of a Mercedes they got the Russian Lada. Thy disassembled the equipment, and got new equipment from Germany, installed it, built, and launched… Again a Lada. They laid off the entire staff of the plant, brought workers from Germany, built, checked and ran. Again–a Lada! Finally the chief engineer says to the director: – I told you, it’s not because we’re building with hands out of our asses–-the place is cursed!
About Yana141 Articles
Journalist by education, barstool philosopher by heart. Moskvaer. Rebel. Frustrated hedonist.

1 Comment

  1. As being myself a organiser of events in Russia I can only feel sorry for the organisers. It is not always clear what needs to be done and the necessary fleibility is indeed not always exiting. I just wish them good luck for the future and hope they manage to survive this.

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