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Zhanna Buchko, Anna Kibych

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Zhanna Buchko, Anna Kibych

Yuriy Fedkovich Chernivtsi National University



Abstract. Festivals are a form of recreation and leisure at the tourist market. In this article, we categorize festivals into several different types, provide examples of each category of ethnotourism-related festivals in the Carpathian region, and tell a short history of the festival movement in Hutsulshchyna. We study the role of different types of festivals in local tourism in the region, discuss social and economic impact of festivals and festival-related tourism, and address the future of festival movement in the Carpathians.

Keywords: festival, tourism, festival tourism, ethnotourism, Hutsulshchyna


Development of recreation nature-use activities, specifically, tourism and recreational industry is one of the most important factors of sustainable grown in the Carpathian region. Recent years exhibit a stable tendency of increase in the flow of tourists and other types of recreationists in the Ukrainian Carpathians. Tourist interest is sustained by various natural and geographic aspects of the Carpathians, natural preservancy state of the region and authentic indigenous culture of the ethnic groups populating these mountains. A modern tourist expects to use his or her time most effectively, learning as much as possible about the visited location with minimal effort. Therefore, in addition to nature-based recreation, an important development factor now can be attributed to the historical and ethnographic appeal of the Ukrainian Carpathian region. Current concept of developing recreational tourism in the Carpathian region implies engaging tourists with different interests to come to Hutsulshchyna. An important role here is played by ethnotourism, since the Carpathians, more than neighboring regions, are a place of concentration of different resources tied to the life and culture of such ethnic groups as Hutsuls, Boykys, and Lemkys.

Hutsulshchyna is the most interesting territory in the Ukrainian Carpathians in many dimensions: landscape-related, biogeographical and ethnographic, it has pristine natural resources, and it is populated by the peoples with unique autochthonous ethnical customs and traditions. Within the geocultural space of the Ukrainian Carpathians, Hutsulshchyna has most prominent cultural landscape, a combination of natural and anthropogenic characteristics of the land. Originality of Hutsulshchyna and its peoples, the hutsuls, has been formed with particular territorial isolation. This resulted in preservation of various old-Ukrainian national traditions, material and spiritual culture that has largely eroded in other regions. Socio-cultural space of Hutsulshchyna carries traditions and realities of harmony in the interaction between a man and the nature, the harmony that makes up the basis of Hutsulshchyna’s ethno-cultural heritage, which draws substantial interest in both home and international tourism and opens perspectives for the region to become one of the most popular ethnotourism locations in Ukraine and in Europe. Thus, systematic research of ethnotourist resources as the basis of tourism growth in Hutsulshchyna and ethnotourism growth in general is important both from practical and socioeconomic points of view.

The concept of ethnotourism (or ethnic tourism) is increasingly popular in the literature dedicated to tourism. Most researchers define this concept as a tourist trip motivated by interest in cultural heritage of ethnic groups or territories. R.E.Wood defines ethnic tourism as “experience of practices of culture other than the tourist’s own” (Wood 1994). Similar definitions are given by the authors of “Encyclopedia of Tourism” (Kurek 2007 , Jafari 2000), that defines ethnotourism as a form of tourism motivated mainly by the study of cultural differences and by contact with exotic ethnographic communities. The main focus of ethnotourism is placed in cultures of indigenous communities that are characterized by variety of ethnographic groups and languages in various regions of the world. A tourist is typically interested in a specific community, which is appealing to him or her through its cultural values or practices that are noticeably different from those of the tourist’s culture, either in terms of lifestyle practices, traditions or cuisine. Everyday life of the ethnic community is significantly different from the tourist’s everyday life, which is the focal point of his interest in the community. Even though the concept of ethnotourism does not have a universally accepted definition, although most available definitions are similar in essence. We would summarize the definition of ethnotourism as travel aimed at learning of and about certain ethno-cultural environments, complete with its original characteristics such as traditions, crafts, daily routines, and culture.

Terms “festival tourism” or “festival tours” are often found in tourist service listings and are increasingly popular with tourists. However, we have not succeeded in defining these terms in the tourism-research literature in Ukraine or Russia. Works by Kifyak (Kifyak 2003) and Aleksandrova (Aleksandrova 2002) do not mention festival tourism at all. Krachylo’s “Geography of Tourism (Krachylo 1997) introduces culture and entertainment tourism and mentions trips with the goal of attending festivals and sports events. Shkola (Shkola 2005) also recognizes learning tours that focus on celebrations, concerts, exhibitions etc, yet the term “festival” is not mentioned in his works. Festival-event tourism and sports-event tourism are introduced as subcategories of cultural-entertainment tourism by Beydyk (Beydyk, 2001).

The basis of festival tourism in Ukraine, particularly in Hutsulschyna, is in well-preserved ethnic and religious traditions (Buchko 2006, Lesyk, Buchko 2007, Hrytsku-Andriesh, Buchko 2010,). Rich cultural heritage of the people populating the Ukrainian Carpathians forms favorable conditions for establishing ethnotourist trails in the region that take advantage of the existing network of museums, folk crafts centers, locations of ethnic celebrations and festivals. The goal of our research is the analysis of festivals in Hutsulshchyna as a precondition for development of tourism and identifying locations best suited for the organization of traditional festivals and celebrations.

^ Festival classification and history

Recent years demonstrate elevated tourist interest in ethnocultural heritage of Hutsulshchyna. At the same time, the carriers of this culture are themselves making an effort to preserve, recreate and popularize their traditions. One of the most effective methods for the tourist business to benefit from the rich folk culture is organization of ethnic festivals. The number of these festivals is growing annually, leading to the rising need to classify different festival types. We use the following classification criteria:

  1. level (international, national/Ukrainian, regional);

  2. occurrence regularity (regular or varying location);

  3. content (ethnocultural, folklore-ethnographic, ethno-musical, crafts, ethno-culinary, humor and comedy, extreme sports, etc).

Based on the above criteria, we would like to describe the following types of festivals:

Ethno-cultural Hutsul festivals. Festival movement in Ukraine began after the country gained political independence in 1991. The newly gained independence started multiple processes of changes and transformations, which came with a sudden increase of public activity. The new stage in the social development of the country was accompanied by the expanding public interest in its history, culture and traditions. At first, festival movement in Hutsulshchyna and elsewhere in Ukraine encountered significant hardships. Abolition of the old societal structures without constructive creation of the new ones, robbing of the country by the old communist nomenclature, withholding pensions and wages, widespread lawlessness formed rather unfavorable background for the appearance of new festivals, yet the festival movement was growing steadily though slowly.

An important date in festival history is September 27, 1991. On that day, the first Hutsul festival took part on a small polonyna Zapidok (polonyna is a Hutsul word for a highland pasture). Polonyna Zapidok has long been a popular location for folk gatherings due to its special spiritual power properties, related to the neighboring 1221 meter high Pysanyi Kamin rock, formerly a site of an ancient pagan shrine. This festival event is considered as a starting point of festival movement in the Carpathian region. Subsequent Hutsul festivals took place in Vyzhnytsya, Chernivtsi region (1992), Rakhiv, Transcarpathian region (1993), Verkhovyna, Ivano-Frankivsk region (1994), Putyla, Chernivtsi region (1995), Yaremche, Ivano-Frankivsk region (1996), Rakhiv, Transcarpathian region (1997), Kosiv, Ivano-Frankivsk region (1998), Nadvirna, Ivano-Frankivsk region (1999), Kolomyya, Ivano-Frankivsk region (2000), Verkhovyna, Ivano-Frankivsk region (2001), Kosiv, Ivano-Frankivsk region (2002), Vyzhnytsya, Chernivtsi region (2003), Putyla, Chernivtsi region (2004), Rakhiv, Transcarpathian region (2004), Kolomyya, Ivano-Frankivsk region (2006), Yaremche, Ivano-Frankivsk region (2007), Vyzhnytsya, Chernivtsi region (2009). In 2008 and 2010 the festival was cancelled because of catastrophic flooding of large parts of the Carpathian territory.

Hutsul festivals have been used as venues for various academic and research-related events: research conferences, seminars and roundtables. At times, some of these events served as a powerful preamble to the festival as a whole, helped highlight both problems of the Hutsulshchyna regions and shed light on different aspects of indigenous ethnic culture, historical heritage of the Carpathian region and approaches to its preservation.

During the twenty-year history of ethnocultural Hutsul festivals, the following research conferences and seminars took place: international applied-scientific conference “Hutsulshchyna: perspectives of its social, economic and spiritual development in independent Ukraine” (was a part of the First World Congress of Hutsuls in 1993), international applied-science conferences “Environmental conditions of developing recreation in Hutsulschyna (Yaremche, 1996), theoretical and methodological seminar “Hutsulschyna studies as a scientific field and academic subject” (Kosiv, 1996), international conference “Energy-Environment-Economy” (Rakhiv, 1997), international conference “International aspects of biological variety preservation in the Carpathians” (Rakhiv, 1997), international conferences “Music of Galicia” and “Hutsulshchyna: science, education, culture” (Kolomyya, 2000), international conference “Problems of renaissance and development of material and spiritual culture of Hutsuls” (Verkhovyna, 2001), conference “The Carpathians: culture, way of life, health of Hutsuls and of Hutsulshchyna” and “Hutsulshchyna at the turn of the 21st century” (Kosiv 2002), international conference “Rivers and mountain life” (Vyzhnytsya, 2003), international conference based in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve “Environmental and socio-economic aspects of preservation of ethno-cultural heritage in the Carpathians” (Rakhiv, 2005), local history round table “Kolomyyan Hutsulshchyna”, presentation of publications about Hutsul villages (Kolomyya, 2006), international conference “Sustainable development of territorial communities of Hutsul region through development of tourism industries” (Yaremche, 2007), international conference “Trans-border projects and investment policies in the Carpathian region” (Vyzhnytsya, 2009).

The Hutsul Festival is one of the largest, oldest and best known festivals in Ukraine. The goal of this festival is support and popularization of traditional folk arts, customs and rituals of the ethnic group of Ukrainians-Hutsuls, advancing social and artist status of authentic folklore, uncovering ingenious individual and group performers and artists specializing in both fine arts and decorative arts and crafts. The main task of the festival is to highlight Hutsulshchyna region problems and to bring forward solutions at all levels including the government level, to elevate public awareness of Hutsuls and their region, both nationally and internationally, and to facilitate balanced growth of the region (Buchko 2006).

Below, we describe other popular festivals in the region.

^ Folklore-ethnographic festivals. Annual international festival “Bukovynski zustrichi” (Bukovinian rendezvous) is known since 1990. It take place from May to October in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Ukraine (in Chernivtsi). The festival is attended by those performers from the participant countries who cultivate Bukovinian traditions. Another festival in this category is “Na Synevir trembity klychut” (To Synevyr trembitas call). It is organized since 2002 in the Transcarpathian region near the mountain lake Synevyr. The participants present folk dances and songs. (Lesyk, Buchko 2007). Another annual festival, “Ivana Kupala at Bukovel” was commenced in 2006 under the aegis of International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF). Folk performers from Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Slovenia and Romania came to the mountain resort of Bukovel to demonstrate their traditional dance, songs, music and games. An unusual yet harmonious culmination of the festival was the evening of friendship featuring folk group from Bali (India). All participants took part in a group climb of Mt. Hoverla and gave the concluding gala at its foothills (Buchko, Golcha, Chupak 2006).

^ Music festivals are most famously represented by the international festival of rock and world music “Europe-centre”. It takes place in a Transcarpathian town of Rakhiv since 2005, featuring popular Ukrainian and foreign rock and pop bands. It is the first Ukrainian festival of European level that brings together known European and Ukrainian artists that play the style of music known as World Music’s. “Europe-Centre” in Rakhiv is a conceptually new project that aims both at organizing a large music entertainment show event and at solving several strategic questions of state cultural policies of Ukraine. Specific questions include cultural and historic development of different regions in close interaction with high standards of European culture, promoting Ukrainian arts outside of Ukraine, preservation and actualization of national art heritage, inclusion of historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine to international tourist routes, development of cultural tourism that would most effectively utilize rich cultural and natural potential of Ukraine (Hrytsku-Andriesh, Buchko 2010).

Festival of young performers of modern Ukrainian song “Moloda Halychyna (Young Galicia) takes place in Novoyavorivsk, Lviv region. It is organized as a contest of young performers (Lesyk, Buchko 2007). Another festival organized in Skole, Lviv region, is a DJ-festival “SkoleDJ”, featuring over ten local DJs.

^ Music-ethnic festivals are best represented by the International festival of ethnic music and land-art “Sesori” was first organized in 2003 at a picturesque location of Sesori village in Ivano-Frankivsk region. Later, the festival was renamed “Art-pole”(Art-Field), and moved to different locations. The goals of this festival are to support the region’s traditions, folk rituals, music, and nature, to help the local people to preserve these traditions, and also to promote green tourism. Conceptually, the organizers position this festival as an example of creative and balanced coexistence of a person and the world that surrounds her, since ethnic music and land-art are the forms of art that are built on this type of mutual understanding. The program of this festival includes performances by Ukrainian and foreign ethnic music performers and master-classes of folk land-artists and craftsmen. International festival “Selyska Spivanka” (Selysche song) takes place in Nyzhnye Selysche village in Khust district, Transcarpathian region. Visitors to this festival have a chance to play sports, enjoy exhibits of old ethnic theme-related photographs, observe rich imagination and skills of folk craftsmen, and even participate in body-art creations. In order to inspire only positive emotions, “Selyska Spivanka” features exclusively live music based on traditional motives from Ukraine and other European cultures.

Festivals-fairs. These include decorative and utility fairs and ethnic cuisine festivals. The first type is represented by the “Carpathian Vernissage”, an annual festival in Ivano-Frankivsk aimed at popularization of folk traditions and regional culture. Presented crafts include wood-carving, weaving, embroidering, pysanka (Ukrainian decorated Easter egg)-painting, blacksmithing, pottery, basket-weaving, fine arts, lizhnyk (Carpathian traditional wool blanket) making, etc. The festival provides local residents and visitors with an opportunity to learn more about folk crafts and traditional trades, helping to preserve cultural indigenousness of the region. It includes crafts classes taught by the participants, promotions and gifts by the sponsors and organizers, exhibition-fair of artwork in Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Art museum, music and dance performances. The category of ethnic cuisine festivals includes the now traditional bryndza (Central European traditional mountain cheese) festival that takes place in Rakhiv at the close of each summer highland pasture season. The festival offers rich variety of traditional dairy products and ethnic arts of the Carpathian region. The visitors have an opportunity to try and purchase bryndza, vurda (another traditional cheese type), sheep milk cheeses, folk crafts products. Additional entertainment includes folklore music bands, folk instrument bands, troisti muzyky (traditional Ukrainian folk music performers) bands. Another cuisine festival “Chervone Vyno” (Red Wine) takes place in Mukachevo, Transcarpathian region. Festival guests are welcome to taste and purchase vintages from over eighty wine-makers. A popular festival of solonyna (Central-European bacon-like pork product) takes place in Mizhhirya, Transcarpathian region. Since 2006, potato festivals are held in Lazeschyna, Transcarpathian region.

A separate category can be assigned to festivals of Hutsul humor. Festival “Zakharetsky Garchyk” is held every autumn in Pidzakharychi, Chernivtsi region. (Buzynsky, Nikirsa, Korzhyk, Buchko 2009). Another known festival of this type is “Berbenyci Figliv”, held in Yasynia in the Transcarpathian region.

^ Extreme sports festivals include sports and culture festival “Dragobrat Planet” (Dragobrat resort near Yasynia, Transcarpathian region), “Mizunska Zvygoda” festival (Novyi Mizun, Dolyna district, Ivano-Frankivsk region), Ukrainian winter festival of extreme sports “Hutsulia. Zyma” (Hutsulshchyna-Winter) (Zaroslyak sports resort near Vorokhta, Ivano-Frankivsk region). The goal of these events is popularization of health and fitness, support and development of sports traditional for the Carpathian region, bringing in tourists from other regions of the country. These festivals typically have an entertainment component, featuring local ethno-music bands.


Festival movement in the Carpathian region started forming after Ukraine gained independence in 1991. Now, when the economic situation in the country has normalized and active expansion of tourism industry in the Carpathians is evident, we can observe rapid growth of the number and variety of festival projects of different kind and scale.

Developing tourism as one of the perspective branches of the Carpathian region economy entails search for new methods to raise interest and bring in tourists. One of such methods is a new and interesting subcategory of tourism, ethnographic tourism, popularity of which steadily grows every year. There is convincing evidence that festivals and similar ethnic-culture related events became an important aspect of forming the base for national, cultural and economic renaissance and development of the Carpathian region, effective means of preservation of its cultural and historic heritage, improving tourist infrastructure of the region and diversifying tourism market product.


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^ Oameni si locuri in Bucovina, 2009, red. V. Efros, S. Purici, V. Iavkin, S. Baisanu, A. Dorneanu, Z. Buchko, Suchava, ss. 248

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^ Huculskie festiwale jak faktor rozwoju etnoturystyki

Zyrys treści: Festiwale są formą rekreacji i wypoczynku na rynku turystycznym. W artykule podjęta proba kategoryzować festiwale na kilka różnych typów. Podano przykłady etnoturystycznych festiwalów w regionie karpackim i krótką historia ruchu festiwalowego na Huculszczyźnie. Wyznyczono role różnych festiwalów w turystyce regionalnej, skutki społeczne i gospodarcze festiwalów i turystyki związanej z nimi, oraz przyszłość ruchu festiwalowego w Karpatach.

Słowa kluczowe: festiwale, turystyka, turystyka festiwalowa, etnoturystyka, Huculszczyzna

Жанна Бучко, Анна Кібич

Чернівецький національний університет імені Юрія Федьковича,


Гуцульські фестивалі як чинник розвитку етнотуризму

Анотація. Фестивалі є формою рекреації та відпочинку на ринку туристичних послуг. У статті робиться спроба групування фестивалів у кілька різних типів. Наводяться приклади етнотуристичних фестивалів у Карпатському регіоні та коротка характеристика фестивального руху на Гуцульщині. Визначено роль різних фестивалів у регіональному туризмі, аналізується соціальний та економічний вплив фестивалів і фестивального туризму, перспективи фестивального руху в Карпатах.

Ключові слова: фестиваль, туризм, фестивальний туризм, етнотуризм, Гуцульщина.


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