ESNS Exchange editorial: Atlas Festival – Lock Down due to War


Vlad Yaremchuk is 25 years young but nevertheless the head of booking of the biggest music festival in Ukraine. Located in Kyiv, the Atlas Festival emerged in 2015 as one of the main festival destinations in Eastern European. The lineup of previous editions featured artists like The Chemical Brothers, Placebo, Martin Garrix, Liam Gallagher, The Black Eyed Peas and ASAP Rocky. In 2019, when it pulled over 500.000 festival goers for the second time in a row, the event joined the community of festivals as part of ESNS-Exchange.

When in 2020, the pandemic globally changed normal life, Atlas Festival went into a lockdown that persists until today. When festivals in most countries were able to take place this year, the Atlas Festival found itself in a situation making it impossible to even think about staging a music festival. 

It is the Russian invasion of Ukraine that caused atrocities and is leaving civilized nations and citizens speechless. Even ongoing, the regime in the Kremlin continues to act in a toxic and deadly manner that, like the pandemic, better be treated with intensive medical treatment. Unfortunately, no vaccine is available that is able to cure such kind of warlord behaviour. 

Talking to Vlad instead is a mind-opener. When he says it is a matter of perspective, the meaning of his words comes together between the lines with a serious message. The news situation in the media about the war in Ukraine is one thing. But it makes a difference when someone mentions in a phone call that sirens can be heard. 

With this in mind, ESNS-Exchange asked Vlad Yaremchuk what Ukraine needs most these days, about the efforts and engagement by the aid mission of Music Saves UA, and the current status of Atlas Festival itself.