Yerevan - based 'Snails' performed live at the One Caucasus Festival
Yerevan - based 'Snails' performed live at the One Caucasus Festival Photographer: Onnik James Krikorian

A Woodstock without borders: Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian youth gather for One Caucasus Festival

From August 25th - 28th, close to the border with Armenia and Azerbaijan, the third annual 'One Caucasus Festival' was held in the village of Tserakvi, itself part of the mainly ethnic Azerbaijani-populated Marneuli region of Georgia. Musicians and volunteers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia took their places alongside counterparts from as far away as Kenya, Nepal, Tunisia, and the United States. 

The festival was funded by the Ministry of Culture of Poland, the Ministry of culture of Georgia, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, and the Marneuli Municipality, among others. The audience was comprised of ethnic Armenian, Azeri, and Georgian residents from nearby villages as well as guests from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Tourists also attended.

“The Caucasus suffers from many conflicts. The region of Marneuli is a borderland of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and is known for being a place where many ethnic and religious groups have been living in peace for many years,” the festival’s web site reads. “Our aim is, with the support of the local municipality, to create an inspirational & safe space to foster the meetings and collaboration of young people from the entire Caucasus region.”

Representing Azerbaijan at One Caucasus were Baku-based “Snail’s.” Having already performed at last year’s festival, where they jammed with Armenia’s Gyumri-based folk-rock band “The Bambir,” two members of Snail’s joined others from Azerbaijan in performing live with Yerevan-based “1243K.”

Onnik James Krikorian interviewed One Caucasus Programme Director, Witek Hebanowski, 1243K’s Armine Ghazaryan, and Snail’s Ramil Bekov on the festival and bringing Armenian and Azerbaijani musicians together alongside Georgian and other international artists.