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Correspondent 5

Football fever returns to the capital

By Paul Miazga

An English friend of mine who left Ukraine this summer for a new job in Romania is likely weeping and gnashing his teeth at the moment. Why? He’s surely heard, as have most everyone else, that Liverpool will play Maccabi Haifa at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium either on August 22 or 23. Yes, Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch and co. are coming to town.

Due to the continuing military chaos in northern Israel and Lebanon, UEFA, football’s governing body for Europe, has forced the Israeli team’s home leg to be played on neutral ground, meaning here. Ukrainian Football Federation officials have given their support to the deal and all that remains to be decided is the date.

Also in football news, don’t forget that our boys, the Blue and White of Dynamo, will play this Wednesday at Dynamo Stadium at 7 p.m. against Fenerbache of Turkey. This should be an exciting contest, especially given what’s at stake: the winning team moves on to the Group Stage of the Champions League, football’s most lucrative tournament, as well as a share in the TV revenue pool that is generated by the spectacle.

Tickets for the latter game are already on sale and should begin in price from Hr 5. Since Dynamo Stadium is far smaller than Olympic Stadium, get your tickets from the stadium ticket office on Hrushevskoho St. now while they last.

Plan your Independence Day weekend right

I want to go on the record as saying that, without exception, Kazantip is the best music festival in Ukraine. Almost as certainly, it must rank as one of the best music festivals in all of Eastern Europe, begging obvious comparisons to events such as Exit in Novi Sad, in northern Serbia-Montenegro, as well as Sziget, in Budapest. I think by all rights it holds its own against these two behemoths.

Hard to believe, but just a little over a week ago I came back from my first-ever experience at Kazantip, which began as a wind-surfing festival of all things and morphed into what it is today: one of the largest and longest DJ music festivals in the world. And, like any time I travel to another country, I felt this immense sadness at having to leave. The festival site is rightly called the Z Republic, and the all-encompassing, near-utopian nature of it all certainly makes visitors feel as if they’ve left Ukraine behind and entered a new country.

All this brings me to my main point, which is that the festival is nearing its end, and that end also coincides with the Ukrainian Independence Day holiday on Thursday, August 24. Sage planners that they are with respect to holidays, the powers that be in Ukraine have worked it out such that the country will enjoy a 4-day holiday weekend beginning on the 24th. The only catch is that employers have the option of making their employees work the preceding or following Saturday to compensate for taking Friday the 25th off.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I plan to head down to Crimea – to Kazantip, specifically – and celebrate the end of the festival. As organizers begin tearing down venue after venue I’ll be there playing in the amazing surf, or alternately lying on that beautiful stretch of sandy beach in the republic or dancing at any one of the 12 music venues they have erected on that half-kilometer stretch of paradise. Weather permitting, this should be a stunning weekend.

Get down to Kazantip, friends. Show the visiting Russians from Moscow and St. Petersburg that they’re not the only ones in the world who know how to party.

Visas for Kazantip are available at the entrance to the festival, in Popovka, Crimea. They cost Hr 400 (about $80) and provide unlimited in-and-out privileges throughout the festival. For Hr 100 ($20) get a single-entry day pass, which does not allow provide in-and-out privileges.


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