Armenia’s Urvakan festival postponed due to conflict on Azerbaijan border

Armenia’s Urvakan festival postponed due to conflict on Azerbaijan border

Armenian festival Urvakan has postponed its upcoming event following deadly clashes on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.

The second edition was due to take place this weekend, 23rd September through the 25th, at the Armenian Composers’ Union Resort in Dilijan, about 50km from the border with Azerbaijan, where more than 200 soldiers and civilians have been killed. “The escalation of conflict on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan came as a shock to us,” the Urvakan team wrote in a statement announcing the postponement on Instagram, “and despite the fact that the sides have come to a ceasefire agreement, it is very hard to predict how this will continue to develop.”

The statement continued: “This year we tried hard to relaunch Urvakan considering new realities that our region and the world are facing. While we were developing the festival some of its topics became even more real, and now we observe aggressive actions of authoritarian leaders yet again.”

Urvakan then explained how “our first priority is the safety of our guests and artists”. “We had a meeting with the Tavush municipality — the region where the festival site is located this year,” they wrote. “Being close to the Azerbaijani border, they are concerned about the risks, and they don’t recommend going ahead with planning the festival at this time. It’s not an easy decision for us, but we hope that our friends and audience will continue to support us. We stand with Armenia, and hope that time for Urvakan will finally come.”

Urvakan shared more information about the conflict, plus ways to help refugees and victims of the violence, via their Instagram bio.

After its successful first edition in 2019, Urvakan was forced to cancel its 2020 edition due to the pandemic and held off rescheduling in 2021. The 2022 line-up was set to feature Nicolás Jaar, Nkisi, Habibi Funk, Mulatu Astatke, Deena Abdelwahed, aya, Slikback and more.

Read Urvakan’s full statement on Instagram.

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