The Russia Loves Football Festival – or RLF Fest for short – took place on 16 September at Moscow’s landmark Luzhniki Stadium. The event - organised by Department of Sport and Tourism and Russia’s State Directorate of Sports and Entertainment Events was timed to coincide with the reopening of Luzhniki, the historic venue of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games and which has just undergone major renovation in readiness to host the opening and final matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ next year.
Eventica, responsible for the concept, branding, marketing strategy and the programme of activations for the nationwide public movement ‘Russia Loves Football!’, acted as the operator of the festival. The family-friendly RLF Fest was dedicated to both the past and the future of Russian football and created a festive atmosphere in the Russian capital less than a year before the world’s greatest football tournament takes place for the first time on Russian soil.
The festival attended by approx. 10,000 people, formed the platform for a tournament of unprecedented scale, comprised of 624 amateur men’s and women’s teams of various age categories (under 16, 17-21 years, 21 years or older). A separate tournament was organised among the teams made up of officials, sports stars and celebrities.
The Head of Moscow’s Department of Sport and Tourism Nikolay Gulyaev in his opening speech noted that the festival aimed to help popularise football in Russia: “Football in Russia is more than a sport. We must do all we can to promote this wonderful sport in our country, and today this festival is one of the most effective ways to do it.” The event was filled with an eclectic programme of performances of music stars and dancers, autograph sessions with famous football players, exhibitions, workshops, children’s events, crafts, art installations, sports demonstrations, food fair and many other fantastic activities.
RLF Fest 2017 also showcased some stunning AV technology – some of which will be presented in Russia for the very first time. After the tournament award ceremony, the event programme culminated with a concert featuring Russian music star performers including Big Russian Boss, Dolphin and Noize MC. The day was rounded off by a stunning firework display – the perfect end to one the most eagerly anticipated events in Moscow’s festival calendar.