Cities unite in live stream for Rave UKraine events

“Hello Liverpool!” came the enthusiastic greeting from Vlad Yaremchuk, one of the organizers of a dance event livestreamed to the UK from behind the decks of free-spirited Kiev club HVLV. “I really hope you enjoy it and keep supporting Ukraine. We feel that here and it means a lot to us.”

“God save the king!” shouted a partygoer in a colorful fleece on the dance floor. Young women whirled alongside a stoic man in camouflage, all streaming onto large screens at two venues at opposite ends of Europe.

The Rave UKraine dance event was held simultaneously at Hangar 34 in Liverpool and HVLV in Kiev on Sunday as part of a program of events surrounding Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest final. The annual competition is taking place in the UK this year on behalf of war-torn Ukraine, alongside a series of solidarity galas.

At the grand opening ceremony in Liverpool, electro-pop duo TVORCHI, Ukraine’s accession, wore jackets with the names of babies born prematurely due to the Russian invasion. The Kalush Orchestra, which took the top spot last year after a show of support from Europe, will headline the official Eurovision Village festival this week, and other Ukrainian bands are expected to play.

Hosting this year’s Eurovision adds to the love affair that has blossomed between the UK and Ukraine since Russia’s all-out invasion of February 2022. Weapons and troop training supplied by the UK have played a crucial role in the war, and Boris Johnson plays a crucial role. So revered for his support that a Kiev cafe named a cake after him last summer.

Over the weekend, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska attended the King’s coronation in London and the Ministry of Defense released a video thanking “our British friends for their friendship”, which was included in “London Calling by the Clash”. plays.

Yaremchuk, a big fan of British electronic music, is one of the organizers of the UKraine rave, which took place at 17:00 Ukrainian time and 15:00 UK time due to the military curfew in Kiev. On the sidelines of the event in the capital, as young ravers oscillated to a rolling techno beat, he said it was a “celebration of Ukraine’s existence”.

“Before the war, people didn’t see us as our own space, but as part of Russia,” he said. “Since the full-scale invasion, we’ve been experiencing an insane heyday of Ukrainian culture. We’re doing a lot more music now, all in Ukrainian instead of Russian. Our voice has grown louder.”

As conflict isolates the country, overseas demonstrations of unity and solidarity like Eurovision show Ukrainians that the world still sees them. “Liverpool is a little Kiev now,” said Yaremchuk.

He was unable to travel to Britain because of changes to the papers required for men to leave the country under martial law. He works for the Music Saves UA fundraising initiative, which has raised money, among other things, by releasing a charity album featuring tracks mostly provided by British music producers.

Rave UKraine expected around 800 ravers across the two countries, with proceeds from ticket sales going to help people in cities like Kherson. Yaremchuk wants to convince British artists to venture to Kiev for his next project.

While the capital is booming as the weather warms, Kiev is still suffering from Russia’s war and attacks have increased in recent weeks. Five people were injured by falling debris in the capital early Monday when air defenses shot down a number of Iranian-made Shahed drones, their boom echoing through the night sky. Ukraine said it shot down 35 nationwide.

Music offers an outlet and a chance to escape. Hours after Rave UKraine, one of the DJs performing, Valeriy Neyman, known as Raavel, left on a military drone unit mission on the Bakhmut front lines. There he will “drop” his latest track.

“We are doing everything for our future. Not just fighting – the cultural front is very important,” Neyman said. “It’s very important for us to show the Russians that we don’t care about rockets and drones – we can still celebrate and make music.”

“I have a grenade and if the Russians try to catch me, I will definitely use it on myself. I hope it won’t happen because I have a lot of focus on my future,” he adds, in a sobering reminder of the event’s purpose amid laughter and sweaty euphoria.


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