Russia has been hosting several international festivals for quite some time like; Sergey Kuryokhin International Festival (SKIF) – a festival for aspiring modern and progressive musicians, Usadba Jazz Festival, Wild Mint – multi genre festival and street theater, Moscow International Film Festival, KROK International Animated Films Festival, and many more. As you can see, most of them are commonly events for music and cinema. But, there is one unique international festival held annually in Russia called Circle of Light. What is it and what are the interesting facts about the event? Read on.
1. The history
The Circle of Light Festival started in 2011 as a local festival with participants coming from around Russia only. In 2012, post-Soviet republics in Eurasia (CIS) sent their artists to participate in the event. In 2013, thirteen countries entered with 35 artists and it marked the new beginning for the Circle of Light as an international festival. In 2017, the Russian Circle of Light Festival made it to be one of the three largest festivals of light in the world. The event is organized by the Department of Sport and Tourism of Moscow.
2. The festival gives Moscow a different face each year
So, what is the event all about? Circle of Light Festival is a four-day celebration that invites lighting designers and audiovisual artists from around the world to turn Moscow’s architectures into something else through video mapping or projection mapping. It is a technology that manipulates light to be shot onto different surfaces, including building facades, and change the whole look and shape of them virtually. This optical illusion technology, when combined with a story line and an excellent audio system, will create a mesmerizing performance. Think of it like watching the buildings turn into giant canvases ready to be painted with moving pictures.
3. There is more than just light show
For several days, during the celebration of the Circle of Light, the streets, landmarks, parks around Moscow are colorfully lit. Not only projected lights, there are also lasers, flame, and fireworks shows to enjoy. Every year, the festival opens competitions for art vision projection mapping and video jockey-ing that are entered by participants from all over the world. For more indoor programs, you can join the educational classes that include lectures and workshops mentored by the best world class lighting designers.
4. Venues for the light shows differ each year
If you plan to come to Moscow to see the Circle of Light Festival, mark these places that will most likely be the stages for the shows:
- Teatralnaya Ploshchad, or Theatre Square, is a city square in the central Moscow. The square is named so because there are three theatres located there; the Bolshoi Theatre, Maly Theatre, and Russian Youth Theatre. The facades of these buildings are the ones getting projected by the video mapping during the festival.
- Kolomenskoye Estate Park, a 390 hectare scenic area situated a few kilometers to the southeast of central Moscow with a building that used to be a royal estate and an old church. This park is turned into a magical kingdom every evening when the festival takes the place
- Park Pobedy, which is actually not a park but a metro station in Moscow. It is the deepest station in Moscow with a great architecture that fits well for the light show.
- Tsaritsyno Estate Park, located in the south part of Moscow, is a very wide park reserve with a very large palace museum on it. Definitely a perfect place for the festivities.
- The Central Children’s Store on Lubyanka Street will be turned into a fairy tale castle showing fantastic stories about Russian toys and fantasy land.
- Grebnoi Kanal, which becomes the host for the opening and closing ceremony that involves the fountains of light and fireworks show.
5. Everything is for free
Yes, you hear it right. All the entrance fees to the shows at the Circle of Light Festival are free, including the workshops and lectures. But, to several places with limited space, you have to book a seat first considering millions of people will attend the event. To do this and check the schedule, you can go ahead and visit the festival’s official website.
6. The festival has won a lot of awards
Being one of the biggest and most spectacular light shows in the world, Russian Circle of Light Festival has succeeded at marking records and winning awards. Here is the list:
- The Guinness World Record for the largest projected image in 2015,
- The Innovations Time Award for the Eventful Project of the Year nomination in 2015,
- The Event of the Year Award for the City Festival of the Year in 2015,
- The Moscow Times Award for the Cultural Event of the Year in 2014,
- Best of Russia Award for the Best Cultural Event of the Year in 2014,
- Guiding Light Award for the Best Event in 2014,
- Russia’s no.1 brand in the festival category in 2013 and 2014,
- Brand of the Year in the Entertainment Industry catgory in 2011 and 2012.
7. It’s a family friendly event
There are a lot of things to see and so many stories and illusions to choose around Moscow during the Circle of Lights Festival. Bring your friends and family to enjoy the festivities, especially children, because they will definitely love the light shows especially the ones in the parks where they can see virtual animals coming out from behind bushes and trees, and buildings turn into all sorts of places from fairy tales, and stories coming alive before their eyes.
Clear your schedule somewhere between mid-September to early October, because that is the time of the year when the Circle of Light Festival is usually held every year. The 7 interesting facts of the event above are hopefully inviting enough for you to start arranging your schedule to see it.