Festival, event organisers and night mayors from across Europe and Canada visited Ukraine earlier this month for the Music Ambassadors Tour project.
The social and cultural initiative is designed to attract music professionals from other countries to become cultural ambassadors of the war-torn country, as well raise funds, provide humanitarian aid and ensure the stable operation of volunteer initiatives.
Guests included Pohoda Festival founder Michal Kascak, Login Kochishk of North Macedonia’s largest music festival Taksirat, act5culture head David Lezhava, ISKRA Festival and Bassiani club co-founder Zvyad Gelbakhiani, Mathieu Grondin of Montreal-based nightlife organisation MTL 24/24, and Fund for Democracy promoter Ilze Jankovska.
The visiting contingent stopped off in Kyiv, Irpin, Borodianka, Hostomel, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa and Lviv as part of the trip, which was organised by the Ukrainian Association of Music Events (UAME) in partnership with Night Ambassadors.
“We have been planning this project for almost two months, and when Kherson was de-occupied, we knew we had to go there,” says UAME president Oleksandr Sanchenko, who is also co-founder of the Music Saves UA initiative. “Our team cooperates with the Support Kherson Foundation and we have already managed to send humanitarian aid and generators to Kherson to help people who stayed in the city.
“We warned all guests that it was dangerous and some even refused to go because their families were against it. However, most agreed. As soon as we got off the train, we immediately heard the sounds of explosions, which did not stop the whole time we were there.”
“Cultural life here is blooming, events are happening despite the difficult situation”
Sanchenko continues: “We visited several humanitarian headquarters where the aid from Music Saves UA is delivered, saw a queue of hundreds of people, although it was raining and there were explosions outside. When we got to the central square to see it and the city administration, we were able to stay there only for a few minutes, the shelling was getting even closer and the military administration ordered us to leave the city immediately. A few days later, that same building was bombed.”
Two UA Night Summits were held in Kyiv and Lviv, where guests discussed the creative and entertainment industry in times of crisis.
“For several days we were constantly talking about how we can support Ukraine now,” reflects Grondin. “First of all, it is to talk and talk, so this topic is still in the news and on the front pages, and we also have to do networking with various festivals.
“I know some people in Montreal, and I could involve them in fundraising initiatives, and it would be interesting to do a cultural exchange with artists from Canada. This is what impressed me – cultural life here is blooming, events are happening despite the difficult situation. It’s a great idea for Canadian artists to come to Ukraine and vice versa.”
A short documentary about the project is planned for release next month.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.