In recent years, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv has become famed for its underground rave scene. Following the revolution, which brought about the closure of most commercial clubs, DIY parties started springing up all over the city, in disused factories, office blocks, and skate parks. Now, Cxema rave, Closer club, and Strichka festival are known well beyond Ukraine. But the new wave of Kyiv nightlife has always been about something much bigger than just music and hedonism — it’s about the identity and freedom which the new generation has chosen for themselves. The queer rave VESELKA is part of this young tradition, pushing the boundaries of the scene through its celebration of Ukraine’s LGBTQ community.
“You can experience life fully only when you’re completely free. That’s why the main ethos of VESELKA is freedom in all its expressions. You can dance, take your clothes off, stare — do whatever you desire, as long as you’re respectful of other people,” says Stas Tweeman, musician and founder of VESELKA.