RIGA, June 25. /TASS/. Russia's biggest outdoor rock festival Kubana, forced to move from its usual venue on the Black Sea coast, is expected to attract tourists and make a good advertisement for its new home in Riga, the mayor of the Latvian capital said on Thursday, adding that he hoped the event would be held in the city every year.
"This festival is definitely advantageous for Riga as it will attract tourists and, together with other events, help create a positive image of the city," Riga Mayor Nil Ushakov said after a meeting with Kubana's producer Ilya Ostrovsky.
"We expect tourists from Lithuania and Estonia, who are very mobile, as well as visitors from northern Europe and certainly Russia. We hope that the festival will be held in Riga every year," Ushakov said.
Ostrovsky said the festival had relocated to Latvia partly because of the current geopolitical situation and the conflict in Ukraine.
"The Kubana music festival was held in Krasnodar region [southern Russia] for several years in a row. But last year, we decided to move to the Kaliningrad region [a Russian exclave bordered by Poland and Lithuania] since the previous location — Kuban — was close to a hot spot in Donbas [region of east Ukraine]," the producer said, adding that many visitors and participants had refrained from attending the event for security reasons.
On June 17, local authorities in the Kaliningrad region cancelled the festival, explaining their decision by inability to ensure the safety of visiting crowds. Kubana’s organizing committee said that many Russian regions and neighbouring countries expressed their readiness to host the event. After considering all options, organizers decided to relocate the festival to Latvia’s capital.
"At first we thought of closing the project, but then we came up with the idea of holding it on the Baltic Sea coast," he said, noting that the Moscow audience had shown a keen interest in the festival’s move to Riga.
Since its inception in 2009, the festival has turned from local act into an international music event, attracting thousands of guests not only from Russia and former Soviet republics but also from all over Europe.
Kubana is the first Russian member of the European Festival Association YOUROPE, twice nominated for the European Festival Awards and made it to the top 10 European festivals.
This year’s announced line-up features more than ten popular bands and singers from Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Iceland, Spain, the United States, France and Sweden, including well-known headliners like Panic! At the Disco, Hollywood Undead, HIM, D12 and Infected Mushroom, as well as Russian top artists.