July 01, 2013

The Show Must Go On

In July 2003, the Krylya (Wings) Rock Festival was held for the fourth time at the Tushino Airfield outside Moscow. On July 5, approximately 40,000 fans of Russian rock gathered to hear their favorite bands when two explosions thundered near the festival’s entrance. Two young women, who, fortunately, had not managed to gain entry into the concert, had nevertheless detonated their suicide vests. Had they gotten inside, the death toll would have been in the hundreds, not the tens.

The explosions occurred at approximately three in the afternoon, and for a long time doctors continued to comb the area for “body fragments.” The music played on until nine in the evening. The official explanation for not stopping the concert was the danger of panicked fans trampling one another. Or maybe the beer maker who sponsored the event did not want to lose money? On the other hand, the sponsor was not the only one to behave callously. Television entertainment was not disrupted on that day, and no advertisers thought to pull their ads — money is money, after all, however many young people are blown to bits.

Another rock festival that was supposed to take place later, in a different location, was canceled, but Krylya continued as an annual event for several more years, until in 2008 the beer company stopped sponsoring it.

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