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Scarlet Sails Festival

Every year, in late July Saint Petersburg hosts the Scarlet Sails festival to celebrate the end of school year. The festival is named after a story by Russian writer Alexander Grin which tells about unwavering faith and about lofty dreams. The idea is that everyone can make a miracle for his or her loved ones. As a rule, the festival is held on Saturday nearest to the shortest night of the year. This festival symbolizes the hopes that the city puts on the new generation that will shape the future of the city and the country.

Those who are lucky enough to find themselves on the city’s central square will see a big concert with elements of theatrical performance and a light and fire show on the Neva river. Admission to the show is by complimentary tickets. After the concert, there is a show on the Neva river that is available for everyone. The water performance is made right on the water surface using floating platforms, fire and water walls. During the show culmination a ship with scarlet sails passes along the city embankments to a special music with certain intervals. This is one of the world’s largest shows on open water.

For the first time the celebration was arranged in 1968. Today, the Scarlet Sails festival is one of the brightest summer events in Russia attended by about 3 million spectators.

This is a thoroughly planned and costly program prepared and held by Russian and foreign stars. Thus, in 2007, the performance on the Palace (Dvortsovaya) Square was directed by the famous Italian artistic director Valerio Festi, and in 2010 the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil took part in it. In 2011, school graduates from the CIS joined their fellows from Russia during this festival. They invite Russian TV presenters to lead the show as well as Russian stars like Dima Bilan, Victoria Dayneko, MakSim and others.

Every next year the festival becomes more and more impressive. Pyrotechnics and visual effects are used at a larger scale and grow more sophisticated. Since 2009, they invite Tre Kronor Stockholm brig led by captain Allan Palmer to navigate along the Neva river carrying the scarlet sails. It should be noted that they use only music by Russian and Soviet composers as soundtrack for this event. The uverture to film The Children of Captain Grant by Isaak Dunayevsky has become a kind of musical emblem of the event. Some of the music was created especially for this festival and it is performed by Russia’s best orchestras.


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