Cultural Events and Festivals
- Jan. 18 2015 00:00
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in local culture is to take part in its festivals and celebrations. Russia's love of museums, music, light, art, and fireworks are put on vibrant display during various seasonal festivals that take place throughout the year. Bring your friends and family to explore and enjoy these uniquely impressive events — you'll come away with a tale or two to bring back to your loved ones at home.
Museum Night (May 2015)
Up to a million Muscovites every year head to museums, estates, squares, and old factories around the city that open their doors on this night for free. Over 200 museums participated last year in the night's festivities, which included events in many of Moscow's newly-renovated parks and squares. Wander the halls of the historic Tretyakov Gallery, take in a concert battle between jazz and classical orchestras in Gorky Park, or dance to live DJs at the Manezh Exhibition Hall — the list of activities available changes every year and the variety is almost overwhelming.
Art Night (November 2015)
Taking place for the first time ever in 2013, Art Night is still a young festival — but this celebration of beauty in all forms has already drawn a following. Art Night is first and foremost about creativity: literature, sculpture, painting, poetry, acting, music, and dance are included in this evening celebrating the artists of our society. Over 150 institutions participated in the festival's grand opening, with special bus services connecting activities around the capital.
Circle of Light Festival (October 2015)
Russia's capital is lit up in a dazzling display of light installations, fireworks, and laser shows at venues around the city in this annual week-long display of color. Since the festival's inception, the number of participating locations has grown from four in 2011 to eight in 2014, involving such majestic sightseeing locations as the Bolshoi Theater, Ostankino Tower, Tsaritsyno Park, and the All-Russian Exhibition Center (VDNKh). Though the gorgeous light shows projected on historic buildings are definitely the highlight of the festival, a videomapping contest and educational events to encourage dialogue on lighting design and technology integration add a professional degree to the event. Last year, spectators at the Bolshoi Theater light show were the first to witness the unveiling of the logo for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia, during the performance!
Spasskaya Bashnya Festival (September 2015)
The military and music aren't usually thought of as related ideas, but the two spheres beautifully collide in Moscow's yearly international military music festival, Spasskaya Bashnya. About 1,500 participants in Russian and foreign military bands, folk groups, and honorary guard units of various heads of states will participate in the week-long event on Moscow's historic Red Square, which last year drew an audience of over 50,000 people. Timed to coincide with Moscow's annual City Day celebration, the festival also features bands marching in the City Day parade and giving free concerts in city parks, plus a special performance by riders from the Kremlin Horse Riding School.
Music Night Festival (October 2015)
Classical, jazz, and modern music all feature in this relatively new event commemorating International Music Day, taking place for the third time ever in 2015. Organized by Russia's Culture Ministry, the festival displays a huge array of concerts at over 250 venues around the capital. Last year, Music Night included free concerts by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the symphony and chamber orchestras of the Moscow Philharmonic Society and the Russian Philharmonic.
Golden Mask Theater Festival (Spring 2015)
A prestigious and long-running celebration of theater art, the Golden Mask festival is a competition program of top-notch performances in all genres of theater: drama, opera, ballet, modern dance, operetta, musical, and puppet theater, judged by panels of experts and culminating in the well-respected Golden Mask award. The festival has become a cultural institution, drawing tens of thousands of spectators and chronicling, throughout its twenty-year-plus history, the development and major trends of contemporary Russian theater.