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Over 500k fans attended Kiev-based Atlas Weekend for the festival’s biggest year yet, despite the cancellation of headline act Asap Rocky
By Anna Grace on 16 Jul 2019
The fifth edition of Kiev-based Atlas Weekend festival saw more visitors than ever before, with 538,000 festivalgoers from 75 different countries attending the six-day festival.
The festival, which took place from 9 to 14 July, featured performances from the Chainsmokers, Black Eyed Peas, the Vaccines, Liam Gallagher and Russian rock group Splean.
“We are really happy with how the 2019 edition went,” Atlas Weekend owner and chief executive Dmytro Sydorenko tells IQ. “It was our best festival yet.”
159,710 people attended the free-to-enter opening day of the festival, breaking the event’s daily attendance record.
“The point of the first day is to showcase Ukrainian music to the widest audience possible,” explains Sydorenko, stating that the number of attendees also marked a new daily attendance record for festival venue Ukrainian Expo Centre, “in all 61 years of its existence”.
“One of our main goals is to develop music tourism in Ukraine and also make the festival more prominent in markets outside of our country,” says Sydorenko. “We work closely with government departments to ease planning for foreign visitors – both artists and fans – and make sure they have the best time possible during their stay in Kiev.”
Over 250 acts from 20 different countries made up the festival’s most international line-up yet, with 30 acts performing in Ukraine for the first time.
“One of our main goals is to make the festival more prominent in markets outside of Ukraine”
Asap Rocky, who was billed to headline Atlas Weekend’s Saturday night, was detained in Sweden for suspected assault shortly before the event, leading to the cancellation of remaining tour dates.
The absence of the headliner was much talked about on social media and in the Ukrainian press, says the Atlas chief executive, admitting that “there was a lot of tension involved”.
“We have never had to deal with a headliner replacement before, especially not one that urgent,” Sydorenko tells IQ, “but we are happy that we managed to find a suitable replacement both for Asap Rocky’s fans and our festivalgoers.”
Fellow Asap Mob member Asap Ferg filled the headline slot, in a performance that “almost didn’t happen due to flight delays”.
A key goal for the 2019 festival was to be “as inclusive and accessible as possible.” Through its Mastercard Vibes initiative, festival sponsor Mastercard provided sign language interpretation at the main stage, as well as setting up a lounge area with visual and tactile installations.
“We believe in inclusivity and take pride in our efforts to make our festival a place for everyone to have a good time and enjoy music,” says Sydorenko.
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