Moscow is slowly rousing itself from its August slump and gearing up for the new fall season cultural calendar. This weekend the city offers something for everyone, especially in music — from jazz and military bands in parks to an Argentine festival. But there is even more to see, do, and buy — that is, if you don’t just decide to check out one of Moscow’s outdoor pools or river banks. Have a great weekend!
Military Music in the Park
On Saturday the music of military bands will ring out in Alexandrovsky Sad for the last time this season. Starting at 4 p.m. three leading Russian military bands will perform. First the Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense will perform by the Grotto. At 4:30 p.m., the musical action moves to the monument to General Georgy Zhukov, where the Military Honor Guard Band will play, and the monument to Vladimir the Great, where yet another band will perform. This will be followed by an official ceremony by the Grotto at 5 p.m. The tradition of military bands performing in city parks — part of Russia’s pre-Revolutionary urban landscape — will resume next year. But if you’ve missed the music in the parks, don’t despair: the Spasskaya Tower Festival of military bands from around the world will start on Aug. 26. Stay tuned.
Argentina Festival at Muzeon
On Saturday the hot Moscow weather is just the thing to transport you to Argentina — without leaving the city center. Starting at 11 a.m., Muzeon will be over-run in the best possible way by the Argentina in Russia Festival. Expect dancing, music, master classes in cooking, dance, and language. And don’t forget the fabulous food — like those famous steaks — as well as clothes and jewelry for sale. For the animal lovers among you, there will definitely be warm, furry llamas from South America. Every hour there will be performances and events, including the famous Devils of Jujuy, all culminating in a huge concert of music, song, jazz and tangos. Entrance is free. See the full schedule of events on the festival site, and register there for master classes.
Jazz in the Hermitage Garden
This weekend the Jazz in the Hermitage Garden festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Over the last two decades, this festival has evolved from a purely urban event to one of the largest open-air jazz festivals in Russia and the world, drawing some of Russia’s and the world’s best musicians. This year’s anniversary festival will welcome ten Russian and foreign groups as well as jazz stars from the U.S. and Austria. Don’t miss the Austrian performers, Michaela Rabitsch and Robert Pavlik, who will perform at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The festival is supported this year by the Moscow City Department of Culture, Raiffeisen Bank, and the Austrian Cultural Forum. It runs both Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and entrance is free. The schedule in Russian can be found here.
If you live in Moscow, you probably have unmet cheese needs. We feel your pain. Which is why we urge you to go to the first annual cheese fest, hosted by the company Syrovarnia Dolcelatte. The company has been producing traditional Italian cheeses like burrata, ricotta, and mozzarella here in Russia. Over 20 cheesemakers from as far away as Altai, Nizhni Novgorod, and Lipetsk region and as close as the Moscow region and Lyubertsy will be selling their products. The location is a bit out of the way in Lyubertsy, but the trip is worth the effort. Hard cheeses may not have been part of Russia’s traditional cuisine, but the new generation of young cheesemakers will surprise you — in a very tasty way.
The festival begins at 10 a.m. in Natashinskiye prudy Park, Lyubertsky.
Remembering the August Coup
It’s hard to believe that just over a quarter century ago, the eyes of the world were on Moscow, then capital of the Soviet Union, where a coup attempt was made by several right-wing members of the Politburo. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was held hostage in Crimea, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was holed up in the “White House” on the Moscow River embankment surrounded by tanks, and thousands of citizens came out to defend their first experience of freedom. The defenders of the White House hold informal and formal memorial meetings and events every year. This year they will have a meet-up by the Hunchbacked Bridge (by Konyushkovskaya Ulitsa) at 6 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday at 8 p.m. there will be a memorial service for the three young men who were killed — Dmitry Komar, Ilya Krichevsky, and Vladimir Usov — near the place where they died, the intersection of Novy Arbat and the Ring Road.