News Society, 05/01/2019

Vertep Fest Expands Borders

As a part of Vertep Fest, Kharkivites and city visitors will gather on Maidan Svobody on January 12 at 2.30 p.m. to take part in an international action of simultaneous singing of the most famous Christmas Ukrainian Carol “Nova Radist Stala” (New Joy Came).

It was initiated for the first time at the Fest in 2017 when three Ukrainian cities started the annual activity. A year later, two more cities joined in. In 2019, 30 Ukrainian cities towns and villages together with five countries – the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany – will take part in the event.

“We are coordinating with participants from other cities so that in one day’s time we will sing this famous and much-loved carol,” notes the festival coordinator, Kharkiv with You director Olena Rofe-Beketova. “We would like it to resonate all over Ukraine and protect everyone as a kind of dome of goodness and hope that will cover our country.”

Artistic groups, public organizations and government agencies throughout Ukraine — from Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnytsky to Poltava and Sumy, as well as Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are joining the event.

This year, the all-Ukrainian action will not only be of a much larger scale but will also go beyond the country’s borders. For instance, participants from three Polish cities, Warsaw, Proszowice and Krakow, and two German cities, Berlin and Munich, have already started learning the carol’s lyrics.

“There is not enough truly positive, bright news in modern life,” Iryna Holubeva, head and organizer of the New Joy Came event believes. “Let this uniting song that brings joy and prayer of happiness sound out for our glorious Ukraine.”

The Festival builds bridges between the regions resulting in an increase of tourist flow to the city. It’s obvious that many guests will come to Kharkiv for the first time and it will be hard for them to travel around the city.

To make things easier, the National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute” students, the Festival’s partners, developed Wayley mobile app. It’s a tourist guide that will help all comers to navigate around Kharkiv and visit various events in different city locations.

Visitors will be able to plan trips based on their preferences and disposable income. They will also be provided with the information on the guide and game program of the Vertep-Quest festival.

Wayley will also include Merezha-Fest, a friendly chain of catering establishments and hotels in Kharkiv. Anyone who enters the café or restaurant, which is on the list of Merezha-Fest on January 12-13 in a fancy costume or with festival symbols and has a Wayley mobile app installed in the mobile device, will get a discount on desserts and drinks. If they also sing a carol or give a performance, they will receive gifts.

According to Olena Rofe-Beketova, Nativity play and carol singing have been the most loved festivities of young people since the dawn of time,” In order to let traditions stay alive they should be renewed. That’s why Kharkiv with You charitable foundation has arranged a bright large-scale street celebration, Vertep Fest, where cultural heritage of Ukrainians is demonstrated in a modern interpretation. The experience of holding the first event convinced our team that this is the very way, through which young people can be introduced to the primordial Ukrainian traditions, thereby reviving our identity.”

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: Vadim Farion, Leonid Lohvinenko