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Grushinsky Festival
June 10, 2008 16:29

Grushinsky Festival (aka Grusha, Grushinka, and so on) is a famous open-air music festival that is annually held in midsummer in Russia.

This traditionally non-commercial festival of authors song has been held since 1968 under Samara city, on Mastryukovskie Lakes. The festival is named after Valery Grushin, a student who died on a hike in Siberia while saving his drowning friends.

Valery Grushin Festival of Authors Song is undoubtedly a remarkable event for adherents of unconventional music and traveling. Every year Grushinka Fest attracts hundreds of thousands of song lovers not only from Russia but from the former USSR countries as well. Throughout its long history the festival has been focusing on bard, camping, student and authors songs. In the Soviet era the festival was formally under the patronage of All-Union Leninist Young Communist League. From the late 1990s the festival started to be more commercial and loosen its focus on authors song ( ) only.

In 2007 for certain reasons the festival fell into two parts. Now it is held at the same time (i.e. on the first weekend of July), yet in two different places:

1) Fyodorovskie Grasslands (under Togliatti town, Samara Region) - the festival in the new venue is held by the Valery Grushin Club of Samara, which is a continuous organizer of the past festivals. (Website)

2) Mastryukovskie Lakes the traditional festival venue is now occupied by new organizers, the Samara Bards Association under the direction of the commercial firm Meta. (Website)

Valery Grushin

Valery Grsuhin was a student of Kuibyshev Aviation Institute. He was fond of hiking and had travelled in many places, such as Sayan Mountains, Altai, Carpathians, Kola Peninsula, the Urals, and so on. On most of the trips he headed the travelers group. He died in Siberia, on Uda River in 1967.

It happened in the Irkutsk Region. A group of students flew to the settlement of Nerkha, where their route started. The journey on foot and constructing a raft for floating down the Uda River took much time, the provisions were running low and the hikers were in a hurry to get to the closest inhabited locality. By evening they landed at weather station Hadoma. The station master heartily welcomed the fellows, gave them shelter in his house and gave food for the trip ahead. Next morning he decided to take his two sons and a niece by a motorboat to the Nerkha Settlement. The river current was very strong and fast, water rising in great waves against boulders. The overloaded boat on high speed flung onto this wave and turned upside down, throwing people out. People started drowning in ice-cold water. On the bank there were standing only the masters wife and Valery. Without a moments thought Valery threw off his jacket and sweater and jumped into the river. The current was carrying people closer and closer to boulders where it was just impossible to get out of water. He helped the girl reach the bank and then started swimming back to the boat to help the others. Yet, the water was too cold and the current too furious. This is how he died.

Following this tragic chapter of accidents Valerys friends decided to immortalize his name and wrote a letter to a newspaper. This is how Grushinsky Festival came to be. The very first festival gathered together 600 people, Valerys friends and fellows, as well as students of the Aviation Institute and members of hiking club Zhiguli.

As time passed by the festival developed into a large-scale event uniting hundreds of thousands of people, lovers of traveling and music, regardless of age, nationality and social position. The popularity and fame of Grushinsky Festival is growing every year.


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