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Russian fest hit with last-minute ban loses millions

Hours before Wild Mint was due to open to the public, local authorities issued a ban on public events due to a spike in Covid-19 infections

By IQ on 05 Jul 2021

Russia's Wild Mint festival was cancelled at the eleventh hour by local government

Wild Mint festival

image © Wild Mint festival

Wild Mint, one of Russia’s biggest festivals, is reportedly RUB 47 million (€539,000) in debt after local authorities cancelled the event at the eleventh hour.

The open-air festival was due to take place between 18-20 June in the Tula region, south of Moscow, but a mere seven hours before gates were due to open, local authorities issued a ban on public events due to a sharp increase in Covid-19 infections.

In a post on Facebook, producer of the Wild Mint festival, Andrei Klyukin, said the cancellation of the festival left the team in “complete despair”. He revealed that as of 2 July, the festival’s debt is RUB 47m but “90% of this amount is in tickets”.

The Association of Concert, Theatre and Ticketing Organisations (KTiBO) has called the local government’s last-minute ban “unacceptable” and is now proposing to introduce a system of regulations at the federal level in order to “completely exclude the possibility of sudden cancellations of cultural events”.  The association tells IQ the details of a possible system are currently under discussion.

“Cancellation of events is not a solution to problems”

“Cancellation of events is not a solution to problems, as it entails huge losses for organisers, job cuts, loss of public confidence in the authorities and the concert industry,” reads a post on the association’s website.

“Only transparent, predictable and trusting relationships between representatives of the concert industry and the state are the key to successfully overcoming the dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and restoring the normal functioning of the country’s cultural life.”

Klyukin says that the festival is not bankrupt and will return in 2022. “We have the strength and desire to continue our work,” he wrote, after outlining support from fans, artists, major media outlets, the festival’s sponsors and even the local government.

Wild Mint’s enforced last-minute cancellation, similar to that of Australia’s Bluesfest earlier this year, underscores the importance of government-backed insurance schemes.

In the last year, schemes have been announced in Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).


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