Escaping the kitsch in Koktebel

    Jazz festival on Crimea's Black Sea coast offers 'a world of smiling faces and joyful people escaping from the stilted and the tedious'

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    The Koktebel Jazz Party on the Black Sea coast

    The Koktebel Jazz Party (founded 2003) returns to the Black Sea coast of Crimea 20-22 August. The programme is yet to be announced but previous participants have included Jimmy Cobb, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tom Harrell, The Jamal Thomas Band, Stefano Di Battista, Deborah Brown, Eddie Henderson and Incognito.

    The organisers say it is “not just a tradition, but an incredible blend of music and nature that creates a united vibration of music, the sea, body and soul … a world of smiling faces and joyful people escaping from the stilted and the tedious, from limits and kitsch into the heady freedom of dancing waves and salty air that blend in with the music liberating body and soul.”

    In 2017 Vladimir Putin made an address at the festival after being welcomed with a screaming reception worthy of that afforded the Beatles.

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    The Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 following military action by pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces. Officially, a 2014 referendum indicated more than 90% support for reunification with Russia, but the vote was boycotted by many loyal to Ukraine and declared illegitimate by Western governments and the UN.

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