Urban fest draws crowds to Moscow

Hundreds of thousands of young people have been gathering in the Russian capital for the country's biggest street festival. There are no traditional sports, but those taking part are living their dream.

A raving crowd surrounded Moscow's Luzhniki stadium this weekend. 250,000 teenagers from the capital and Russia's largest cities gathered for Urbania – the country's ultimate street festival.

With its Russian name translated as ‘City and Me’, the event's focus is on urban sport and entertainment.

The top attractions this year were BMX disciplines involving specialised bikes with several metal pegs for performing various tricks. When successful, it's fascinating, but less lucky riders face serious injuries.

There was a place for any wheeled object at the festival – whenever it’s accompanied by an adrenaline-addicted sportsman, of course.

Urbania-2007, crowd at a concert
Urbania-2007, crowd at a concert

Some of those competing at the festival didn’t need props or vehicles to show off their talents. Two decades after the break-dance culture's first appearance in Russia, a new generation of talented dancers is emerging.

Urbania is not only about sport – art is also covered – at least its street variety – graffiti.

Those not showing off  – as well as those tired of watching them – grouped around the main scene that hosted the final of a musical contest held in ten Russian cities – to pick the best alternative band. The rap core and new metal musicians were through to the finals, but the audience didn’t welcome all of them.  

Plastic bottles, lighters and chocolate bars became the ammunition for the less sober members of the audience. Even though the youngsters had enough energy to try breaking the police cordon, they gave up without any violence.

After all, they were just having fun – as all the teenagers do worldwide.