10 Must-Visit Festivals in Ukraine

Courtesy of Atlas Weekend
Courtesy of Atlas Weekend
Maria Sibirtseva

Ukraine is not only a sightseeing destination but also a country with plenty of festivals that can easily compete for international recognition. Different musical genres, world premieres and films by local youth, or extreme sports – the best of Ukrainian festivals are looking forward to amazing your with their high level of organization and the line-ups of your dreams.

Leopolis Jazz Fest

When: June 27 – July 1

Where: Lviv

The success of this festival went far beyond the borders of the country. It is considered to be among the ten best jazz events in Europe. Until 2017 it was called Alpha Jazz Fest, but the committee has changed the name to Leopolis. The festival welcomes world-renowned jazz stars and 40,000 spectators every year. The musicians share the magic of sound on three stages, two of which have free entry. In addition to the scheduled concerts, you can listen to jam sessions, attend various workshops, and chat with jazzmen at autograph sessions. If you are in love with jazz and the city of Lviv, it is the right place to travel to in late June.

Lviv, Ukraine

1. Ostrov

When: June 30 – July 2

Where: Kiev

Ostrov is the largest festival of electronic music in Ukraine. Traditionally, three independent stages are installed at the festival, as well as many bars and entertainment zones. It is a striking, non-stop, open-air party that lasts 72 hours. It is held on Trukhaniv Island on the Dnieper River. Visitors dance on the sand, have drinks, and marvel the spectacular panorama that opens from the coast onto the city centre of Kiev and the ancient district of Podol.

Kiev, Ukraine

2. Gogol Fest

When: September

Where: Kiev

A cultural phenomenon GogolFest unites different types of art on its territory. People come here to see plays, musical performances, media installations, and film screenings; there are also events at art galleries and literary readings. Over ten days in the middle of September (exact dates are determined in the summer period), creative workers of Ukraine showcase their works, network, share the latest trends, and just have fun. The festival also has an educational program, where everyone can learn the basics of filmmaking, acting, or dancing.

Kiev, Ukraine

3. Z-Games

3. Z-Games
©Sport Lab/WikiCommons

When: August 21 – 27

Where: Zatoka

If listening to good music is too calm for you, you can join the extreme sports festival Z-Games. It is located on the banks of the Black Sea in the city of Zatoka. The music here is very diverse: from hip-hop performers to DJs and electronic beats. In the daytime, there is skateboarding, rock climbing, parkour, wakeboarding, beach volleyball or break dance competitions, while at night everyone parties and enjoys themselves. For non-extreme, female participants of the festival, there is a unique, if sexist, event that implies tomato fighting in bikinis.

Zatoka, Odessa oblast, Ukraine

Z-Games | © Sport Lab/WikiCommons

Atlas Weekend

When: July 4 – July 8

Where: Kiev

Atlas Weekend is a major Kiev festival, which pleases its guests with a variety of locations and an excellent line-up every year. Among the performers that have already played here are such musicians as Apocalyptica, The Prodigy, John Newman, Three Days Grace, Alex Clare, and famous Ukrainian musicians like Jamala (the winner of the Eurovision 2017), Onuka (band of electronic folk), The Hardkiss (rock band that performs in English), and many others. There is a tent city on the territory, but it is not necessary to spend the night – the entrance and exit of the festival are unlimited.

4. Zaxidfest

©Mim 28/WikiCommons

When: August 24 – 26

Where: Rodatychi

When residents and tourists from all over Ukraine travel to the town of Rodatychi near Lviv, it means that Zaxidfest is about to begin. A huge number of people gather in order to be amazed by a regular powerful line-up of rock performers. In terms of entertainment, the fest also offers a food zone, sports, and games, hot air ballooning and a retail outlet. The beautiful landscapes of Western Ukraine and musical favorites are the best combination.

Rodatychi, Lvivska oblast, Ukraine

Zaxidfest | © Mim 28/WikiCommons

5. Molodist


When: last week of October

Where: Kiev

Since 1970, the Molodist International Film Festival has supported young filmmakers and their short films. It takes place in the last week of October each year. The main aim of the festival is to promote the development of young contemporary cinema. The competition program of the festival annually presents dozens of national and international works of talented young filmmakers from all continents of the world. The non-competition section of the festival traditionally presents a series of programs that introduce the viewer to the best achievements of the newest films.

Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev cinema | © Prymasal/WikiCommons

6. Odessa International Film Festival


6. Odessa International Film Festival

When: July

Where: Odessa

The festival was held in 2010 for the first time, and nowadays it has already turned into one of the main film forums in Eastern Europe. The program of the festival consists not only of film screenings but also includes a summer film school, professional discussions, and workshops. Wondering why you should come to Odessa in the middle of July? The answer is the Black Sea, the Odessa International Film Festival, parties, and the longest red carpet in the world.

Odessa, Ukraine

Odessa | © Amakuha/WikiCommons

7. Docudays

7. Docudays

When: March 23 – 30

Where: Kiev

The Docudays UA – International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival shows Ukraine through the eyes of foreign and national documentaries. The main purpose of the festival is to raise awareness of such issues in the country as human freedom and dignity, the establishment of the democratic state, and other moral issues in society. Each year, the Organizing Committee selects a theme for the festival that accurately reflects Ukrainian realities. Environmental protection was the topic of 2017.

Kiev, Ukraine

Docudays | © Antanana/WikiCommons

8. White Nights

When: June, September

Where: Kiev

The festival combines dance floors with different musical genres. Visitors to the White Nights come for numerous art installations, light shows, delicious food, and a whole lot of good music. It is solely a nighttime festival, one that starts in the late evening and runs up to the early morning. Whether to open up the summer season at the beginning of June or to say hello to autumn in September, you can always find a reason to become a party animal for a weekend.

Kiev, Ukraine

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