Max Frei's Festival
The most magical literary festival in Russia
Every year in early spring in Russia, the Max Frei Festival is held. This event is dedicated to the fantasy universe which is certainly the most popular among russians. It is very similar to the Terry Pratchett's Discworld, because the Russian author also creates cross-cutting stories with the same characters, it is just as easy to read and the pages of the book are full of humor. And, of course, the fan base — in Russia, more than half a million fans of the Max Frei's universe.
The Russian writer, Svetlana Martynchik, is hiding under the pseudonym Max Frei. To date, about 20 books with stories about the adventures of sir Max have been written. Despite the great love of fans, she is not a big fan of noisy festivals, and she strongly condemns the way the fans portray the characters in her book. Now Svetlana lives in Lithuania and does not often appear in Russia.

It all started in 2017, when I worked in Saint Petersburg. My colleagues and I were interested in books about sir Max, and one day we thought, why isn't there a festival where fans of the literary universe could party? This is really strange, at cosplay festivals we constantly met with Frei fans who created costumes, stands and even won competitions. There were regular gatherings of fans in various places — cafes, libraries, shopping centers.

We decided to take on the role of initiators and gathered around us a team of like-minded people. We made Max Frei fans believe that they could have a great festival and provided them with a library as a venue and our help as organizers. We, in turn, enlisted the support of the publisher and found information partners.
The Max Frei's Festival lasted all Sunday from 12 to 20, and was attended by more than 600 people. For the guests, we have prepared: master classes, lectures, competitions, board games, a small grocery corner with snacks and drinks, inspired by book. On an improvised stage — performances of folk groups, near — dancing, mostly medieval.

Throughout the festival, any visitor could take part in the quest: it was necessary to help the characters of the book (talented cosplayers) save the world once again. At the closing of the festival, participants saw the end of the quest, and the most active participants received well-deserved prizes.

Entrance to the festival was completely free, we wanted the festival to be accessible to our audience, because the heart of the army of Max Frei fans are teenagers.

In 2017, we organized a small literary festival, but we got to the point — it turned out that people are interested in it, that the festival organizers can even earn some money by selling food, drinks and souvenirs. After that, there were much more festivals in Saint Petersburg, and other teams began to develop our ideas and conduct similar events, but on a commercial basis. There is more magic and magic in our city, and I can certainly see the influence of my team.
St. Petersburg hosts annual festivals dedicated to various topics — steampunk, books by Terry Pratchett, Soviet nostalgia, and others. They were made by the same guys, filling their events with the niche of popular literary universes.
Since 2017, I have collaborated with the team of organizers of the Max Frei Festival more than once or twice, but not as deeply as the first time. In 2020, I found myself in Moscow. And so it has already happened that the local Max Frei fan community ask me to help with the first festival in the capital based on their favorite books. Of course, I couldn't refuse them. As a result, we made a festival in Moscow. And this was a really worthy continuation of what we were doing in St Petersburg: the scale is bigger in all respects.

We held the festival in the spring of 2020, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than 800 people took part in it. We received the warmest feedback from the festival's visitors, and many wishes to repeat the event next year. Of course, we will continue and open new literary universes for the festival movement.

Of course, the content was very similar to what was happening in St. Petersburg, but there were also interesting additions: micro-concerts were organized spontaneously with playing the ukulele and reading poetry in different parts of the festival. The library, where the festival was held, has a large number of rooms and secluded places, which very well contributed to the organization of various activities. Among other things, we managed to achieve a very deep integration of the publishing house that works with Max Frei: for the first time, we managed to organize a single advertising company, as well as integrate the activities of the publishing house into the festival.
Festival features
Does it make sense to tell how we did it, what it consists of, and how we organized promotion and advertising?I think these are all obvious things for a professional, they remain common from festival to festival. Here I want to tell you more about some of the features of the festival.
Everybody Dance Now
The center of the fun is dancing. For beginners, very quick master classes are held here. But even without them, anyone will understand medieval dances are not very complicated.
A lot of master classes
If you are tired of dancing and listening to live music, you can take part in master classes at the festival, of which we have prepared a huge number — more than 120 people took part.
Cosplay and decorations
The team of organizers — more than 20 cosplayers, all tried to play the role of characters from the book. The library itself was decorated with a large number of decorations: stands, furniture and decor elements, and even a balloon 2 meters high.
Delicious food and drinks
The characters of the books about sir Max love to eat and drink something delicious, so at the festival we paid special attention to the gastronomic zone and souvenir shops: you could completely immerse yourself in the world of Echo.
Specific Information
2017.
Producers: Rogovenko I., Kulishova M.
Promotion: Geraschenko E.
Festival's social media: https://vk.com/irlecho

2020.
Producer: Rogovenko I.
Promotion: Mikulinskaya E.
Festival's social media: https://vk.com/fest_poeholi

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