After the huge European raves, trance parties in forests and deserts, techno gigs in the Middle East and China, Aussie and American rock concerts, I dreamed of reaching Crimea and Kazantip — the Love Republic — on the eastern border between Russia and the Black Sea.
This is Burning Man on a whole new level.
Everything began in 1992, during a contest of windsurfers, near an abandoned nuclear plant. Five years later, in 1997, they came up with the idea to organize a party called “a night at the reactor.” It was here that the foundation was laid for the rise of the Russian rave movement. In a few years it grew to become “the festival of everything,” with a varied audience of surfers, DJ’s, ravers, journalists, freaks and weirdos who gathered to celebrate sex, sea and summer. (Article 11 underlines the importance of freaks as a national treasure, protected by Kazantip’s Ministry of Culture).
In 2000, it was decided to change location, and with it, the festival changed status and declared itself a Republic. Article 1 of its Constitution cites: “Kazantip Republic is a mobile state, with borders, but with an area that is not fixed and may occasionally change its position in space.”
This paradigmatic jump contributed to the myth of Kazantip.
Kazantip is one of the longest-running festivals on the planet, known as one of the biggest outdoor beach parties in the world for almost 25 years. Kazantip is a nomadic reality, a revolving, evolving entity that, thanks to its mutant DNA, is continually able to reshape and surprise itself. I had been hearing tales about this magical place for so long. It was surrounded by a halo of mystery and seduction. How accurate was all the bizarre internet reportage on “Vice” which made it legendary? It was way too easy to fall in this enticing trap called Kazantip.