A number of months back a good friend of mine told me that Elton John would be coming to Kyiv for a concert, though he wasn't sure of who was bringing Sir Elton in. First there was speculation that it was the mobile operator Life, and Ukraine's richest man Renat Akhmetov, after all last summer at around the same time we saw Canadian rocker Brian Adams in town. In the last week or two it has become perfectly clear that Victor Pinchuk was bringing him in as part of an AIDS awareness campaign that his foundation is involved in. There has been plenty of advertising, and the show will be broadcast live on Novyj Kanal.
I am certain that it will be sheer pandemonium no Maydan Nezalezhnosti tomorrow, after all it is not every day that knighted performers perform in Kyiv let alone Ukraine. And it is no surprise why. There are a couple of reasons. First and foremost Ukraine lacks appropriate venues for concerts of such a scale, in fact Kyiv lacks venues for some of its upcoming talent, and safety issues are something that organizers must always consider. I recall shortly after I arrived in Kyiv in 1999, there was a fatal incident in Minsk, Belarus in which 53 people died.
One of the second problems of well known groups coming into this country is the poorly developed audience awareness and how this effects promoters. A good example of this was the Chick Correa concert in Kyiv held at Palats Ukrainy, the organizers went into the red by $60,000. I'm not sure what Victor Pinchuk is paying Sir Elton, or whether the later is doing this as part of his goodwill work for AIDS Awarness, the case is clear until we have radio in Ukraine that not only promotes but educates listeners on the diversity of music in the world, and a number of excellent venues, Ukrainians will not have the opportunity to listen to some of the best in the world, and as a result become more aware of the world around them, and not just the of mostly second rate music that our 'big brother' ships south of his border.
When I started this musing I wasn't sure where it would lead. Maybe, I will watch the gig on TV, or maybe I will venture out close enough to Maydan to determine on whether Sir Elton will actually be singing live, and not a la Milli Vanilli.