The Saint Petersburg Scarlet Sails Festival is the most massive and famous public summer event during the White Nights. The festival is very popular for its spectacular fireworks, numerous musical concerts and spectacular water shows.
Scarlet Sails 2019: dates
There are no fixed dates for the Scarlet Sails festival. Usually, the longest Saturday night is chosen for the festival, but the exact date becomes known after the New Year. For example, in 2016 it was the night from June 25 to June 26, in 2017 and 2018 – the night from June 23 to June 24.
The Scarlet Sails show will be held on the 23th of June this year
In 2018, the Scarlet Sails festival celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 1968, Leningrad schoolchildren wanted to celebrate their graduation ceremony as spectacularly and as entertaining as possible. On that day about 25 thousand graduates gathered on the city embankment.
The theme of the festival was given by a film about a girl named Assol that was popular in the Soviet Union, and already on June 27, 1968, a ship with scarlet sails went across the Neva River.
The performance was so exciting that the festival was decided to be organized every year, and the sailboat with scarlet sails became a symbol of the event.
The number of participants in the festival grew every year. People from all over the country came to St. Petersburg to attend the main summer festival. Today, the festival gathers from 1 to 3 million viewers.
The event consists of two parts: day and evening
The official part of the celebration starts during the day programme, which can be visited only by invitation. And during the second part of the festival, guests are shown a theatrical light-pyrotechnic staging on water, the culmination of which is the appearance of the sailboat.
The appearance of the ship with scarlet sails is one of the most spectacular moments of the whole evening. But not any ship is suitable for sailing on the Neva. The ship must be quite large and at the same time have maneuverability, since it has to go along a rather narrow bed of the Neva with changeable weather and a difficult wind rose.
The crew must be professional because the Scarlet Sails appear before the audience at a certain point, which is calculated in seconds. And if in the ordinary sailor’s life the ship moves at specific intervals, and it should take about 20 minutes to complete the assigned tasks, during the show, it is necessary to react instantly.
During the long existence of the festival, the role of the sailing ship was performed by various vessel. In 1970 it was a schooner called Leningrad, in 2005 a replica of a ship from the time of Peter the Great Standart, then the fastest three-masted ship Mir, and after the schooner Baltiets.
Since 2010, this honourable mission has been entrusted to a Swedish ship called Tre Kronor of Stockholm, which translates as Three Swedish crowns.
Tre Kronor of Stockholm was noticed when it participated in the large sailing ships regatta in 2009. The construction of the ship began in 1997, and in 2005 a solemn launch was made. The vessel is an exact copy of the training brig Gladan 1857.
Each part of the vessel is made of a certain sort of wood:
- pine cores
- Siberian larch
- oak tree
The scarlet sails are made according to all the technologies of sailing, only the material is slightly different: it is thinner.
Captain Allan Palmer is a hereditary sailor who has been sailing for over 20 years. When he and the crew were first invited to take part in the festival, the captain was surprised by the scarlet sails. But now he is confessing: he hasn’t seen such a fantastic and exciting spectacle.
The most difficult Allan Palmer considers the changeable wind in the waters of the Neva, which requires attention and quick reaction.
Fireworks at the Scarlet Sails festival is the culmination of the whole evening and, perhaps, one of the most anticipated events. Pyrotechnics are produced in Russia taking into account all the climatic features of the region.
To make it look as spectacular as possible, fireworks are shown in the darkest 30 minutes from all white night. The work on the show involved 250 people who are preparing for the event for a year.
Millions of lights come on over the Neva on a short summer night, drawing out the unreal beauty of the painting in the sky: all sorts of symbols and figures. Reflected in the water, fireworks look even more spectacular and incredibly beautiful. Everyone who has ever seen this spectacle will remember it forever.
- Tre Kronor of Stockholm was created as a training ship for international sailors.
- Tre Kronor of Stockholm is called the Sailboat of the World because it was built on charitable funds from different countries.
- The ship Tre Kronor of Stockholm regularly takes part in ecological expeditions.
Tips and tricks
Going to the festival for the first time, it is better to prepare for it in advance. There are some tips that can make your vacation more comfortable.
- Take care of comfortable shoes and warm clothes. Changeable St. Petersburg weather is not an exaggeration. During the time that you will be waiting for the fireworks, it can rain, and the wind from the Neva can blow quite strongly.
- Be prepared for interruptions in mobile communication, decide in advance with your friends what to do if you suddenly get lost.
- If after the end of the event you plan to get to the hotel by metro, take a walk for an hour. The whole crowd will immediately rush in the subway, but later the movement will be much freer.
- If you want to see the show from restaurants with a view of the Palace Embankment, take care of this no later than six months.
Where to watch?
The Palace Embankment is closed during the festival. Only graduates can get on it. An alternative may be the Annunciation or Exchange bridges. However, if you don’t want to take a seat a few hours before the main part of the event, there are different places where you can watch the show.
- Many travel agencies offer to book a ticket for watching the show from the roof of the nearest building. You are guaranteed the best view of the Neva, the lack of a crowd and a lot of impressions. When you book a place on the roof, be sure to pay attention to the location of the building.
- You can buy a boat trip or even rent a small ship or a yacht. But one part of the Neva water area is closed to all ships, and the Scarlet Sails may not be as clearly visible as you would like. However, you can watch the fireworks.
- Perhaps one of the most comfortable options to rent an apartment overlooking the Neva: you can relax, order delicious food and watch the festival. Plus, if you rent an apartment for a day, after the show you do not need to rush into the subway.
- Apartments for rent overlooking the Neva – perhaps one of the most comfortable options. You can relax and order delicious food and watch the festival. Plus, if you rent an apartment for a day, after the show you do not need to rush into the subway.
Book a table in a cafe or restaurant overlooking the Neva. For example, Bellevue Brasserie at Moika Embankment 22, Alyye Parusa on Kronverkskaya Embankment 3, Letuchi Holandez at Birzhevoy Bridge.