Festival and event organisers from around the world are taking part in the Music Ambassadors Tour project, which recently saw a group travel to Ukraine to see the devastation first-hand.
Organised by Ukrainian Association of Music Events (UAME) in partnership with Night Ambassadors, the project will see those involved return home as cultural ambassadors.
Night czars and event organisers from countries including Georgia, Canada, Slovakia, and North Macedonia visited seven cities across five days, including the recently de-occupied Kherson in south Ukraine.
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"We have been planning this project for almost two months, and when Kherson was de-occupied, we knew we had to go there,” said Oleksandr Sanchenko, President of the Ukrainian Association of Music Events and co-founder of the Music Saves UA initiative.
“Our team cooperates with the Support Kherson Foundation and we have already managed to send humanitarian aid and generators to Kherson to help people who stayed in the city. We warned all guests that it was dangerous and some even refused to go because their families were against it. However, most agreed.”
Sanchenko added: “As soon as we got off the train, we immediately heard the sounds of explosions, which did not stop the whole time we were there.
"We visited several humanitarian headquarters where the aid from Music Saves UA is delivered, saw a queue of hundreds of people, although it was raining and there were explosions outside.”
Those visiting were also taken to Kyiv to witness the wreckage of buildings, theatres, venues, and cultural and residential buildings around the city, before opening up a discussion as part of the UA Night Summit to discuss the entertainment industry in a time of crisis.
Ambassadors were also asked how they could help upon returning home, and how their perception of war had changed since visiting Ukraine.
"For several days we were constantly talking about how we can support Ukraine now. First of all, it is to talk and talk, so this topic is still in the news and on the front pages, and we also have to do networking with various festivals,” said Mathieu Grondin of Canadian nightlife organisation MTL 24/24.
The Music Ambassadors Tour project will continue in 2023 offering education and helping to fund humanitarian aid and crisis care for those in Ukraine, and open discussions on how to help.
Find a list of ways you can support Ukraine here.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter