Around the world in 4 years - exclusive

The most anticipated festival in Moscow ended not so long ago. This year there were 6 sites. Not all of them were so interesting, but judging by the festival in general: it definitely thundered on a grand scale! And now there will be history.

And this story will not be about what was at each of the sites in details and details. This story is about a group of like-minded people who struggled against the system and went to great lengths to get the best photos from the light show. This story is also about the most reckless visit to the "Circle of Light". As crazy as it can be. Edge to edge and to the bone. Go.

Crimean embankment. 2012.
Since 2012, we have made it a rule to make our way to this amazing event, at a price: no matter what. In 2012, I found myself in the circle of light by accident: I heard that a party was going to the opening on the roof opposite the Luzhnetskaya embankment. I asked to go there. The fireworks were launched in the immediate vicinity (30-50 meters) from the building from which we observed this spectacle. There were countless people on the roof. 50 people for sure. Basically: everyone from the Roofer party, which leaked infa about a large-scale pyrotechnic show. For some reason, this infa caused a great resonance. I found out about the event and I decided to take a look.

When the fireworks ended, a whirlwind of emotions raged in me. To say that it was great is like being silent. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life. After that, I realized one interesting thing: if you watch the fireworks from the roof, then you need to do this only from the first line in front of the site from where the launch is coming from.

Luzhnetskaya embankment. 2013.
Every year, closed areas appear on the circle of light, which can only be accessed by invitation. And the devil would understand where to get these invitations. I was lucky to solve this case with a photo contest in the official VKontakte group "Festival of Light". The funny thing is that I won it thanks to a photo I took at the same festival last year. As a result: I had two invitations to the opening of the light show. The opening itself took place in Luzhniki. Main topic: Evolution of Light. I thought there were few things that could impress me more than last year's fireworks. But this show was something with something. This is probably the best multimedia show in the history of the festival, with a plot, special effects and interesting facts. We watched the closing fireworks from the mast of the stadium of the Palace of Children's Youth Creativity. Not very close, but it seems to have been the best high point this year.

Ostankino. 2014.
Having gained experience from last year, but being late in order, we ran to the roof, which, as it seemed to us, was "like nothing." We did not prepare in advance, hence all the unforeseen troubles came from. Of course, we did not listen to the fireworks, being stuck in the elevator (as it was once on May 9), but the viewing point was far from the best. But all the same, when the first volleys struck, everyone was numb. No one would have thought that the fireworks were mounted not somewhere out there, but on the TV tower itself. We couldn't get invitations to closed venues this year. But, anyway, the next day we decided to try our luck and arrived at the Ostankino pond, where a multimedia show was taking place. It was possible to break through to the stands in one tricky way: since the platform of the stands stood close to the Ostanki television center, you first had to get into the territory of the television center, and then squeeze between the fence bars and reach the stands. We were looking for a place in the fence for a long time, which allowed everyone to squeeze between the rods, in the end such a place was found, and we easily overcame both fences. Stands, hello! Have not seen each other since last year! The show itself was fun, but it wasn’t close to last year. Main topic: Travel around the world. Either these impressions have faded, and my opinion is too subjective, or the organizer could have tried a little better. But the fireworks, of course, were out of competition.

Some photos of the 2014 stands light show:

We also stopped by VDNKh a few days before the start of the festival. For two days, light installations were already working there, but there were no people at all! I advise everyone. Several photos from VDNKh:

The Bolshoi Theater was also not ignored. Yes, they show the same thing every year, but this year turned out to be special. The lobby of the Teatralnaya metro station was undergoing cosmetic reconstruction. On this occasion, scaffolding was very tempting on it up to the roof. We also used this:

Crimean embankment. 2015.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Crimean embankment. Crimean embankment. Crimean embankment. Like a proofreader in a book publication, meticulously trying to identify a typo, I once again reread the address of the fireworks site at the closing of the festival this year. It was already the third year that I dreamed of seeing the fireworks from this site again, and, here it is, it came true! We have prepared thoroughly. They came in advance and checked the roof, disguised all the passages on it and waited for the coveted date. And while everyone was languishing in anticipation, it was time, according to tradition, to drop into the closed area.

I did get the invitations this year. In the VKontakte group, another competition was held in which they could be won. In my opinion, it was the dumbest competition that could be. You just had to count the circles in the picture. The whole difficulty of this nonsense was that you get lost while counting circles. This problem is solved quite simply: this would-be puzzle is thrown into Photoshop, and the already counted circles are painted over in the course of the counting. For those unfortunate people who do not have the skills to use Photoshop, there is an easier solution: a printer and a felt-tip pen. But back to the show itself. The show with a projection on the Department of Defense was hardly more interesting than the competition in which the invitations were won. If you compare this with what I saw in 2013 and 2014, then it was not even close. Although, we must pay tribute, it looked fascinating.

But the most anticipated this year was, nevertheless, the fireworks. To our great surprise, there was no such excitement on the roof as in 2012. In total, no more than 9 people went up there. We came early: about an hour before the start. The barges this year stood much closer to the shore, and the embankment was blocked. This foreshadowed a bigger fireworks than in 2012. And so it happened! Some volleys even made it to the roof!

As usual, all launchers work at once for the final salute volleys, and the sky is strewn with burning lights:

This year was probably the most productive. We managed to visit almost all sites. We were on the rowing channel twice. A few photos from there:

We watched the light show on the rowing canal from the roof of a three-story building, right next to the canal. From there we were constantly chased by cops (despite the fact that in addition to us from the same point, another 20 people watched the fireworks - employees of the building), but each time we sent our valiant law enforcement officers to work, and not to deal with nonsense, but returned ourselves.

We tried to find out about the fireworks a month before the start of the event. When there was no information about the festival program anywhere. Then they told me: "there is absolutely unverified infa, but the fireworks will be at Moscow State University." And that's all. Shortly before the beginning of the circle of light, the information was confirmed. But in order to find a good angle in advance, specificity was needed. It was necessary to clearly understand where exactly the batteries of fireworks are. Two days before the show, we went to find out. As it turned out, the batteries were located on both sides of the main building of Moscow State University, as well as on the building itself. It was a completely disappointing fact, since I didn't want to watch the fireworks from the roofs of buildings located a kilometer from the State Park. At that moment, when we walked in the direction of the metro, and wondered what to do, the monolithic bricks of the Faculty of Chemistry of Moscow State University floated to our left. Suddenly, one of us saw something that changed a lot in everyone's mind. It was a classic, comfortable foot-to-foot fire escape, stretching from the bottom to the top. No cut-off sections, coils of barbed wire or other goodies. The staircase nestled temptingly in the chemistry department's courtyard, where there were only two entrances. But only one was used. With an important air of real students - chemists, we headed towards this entrance, passed the guard post, and moved towards the fire escape. It was all too easy and promising. The only thing that gave us some rotten thoughts was the unfinished sections of the additional fence, stretching along the chemistry department. We did not attach much importance to this, well, in vain.

Circle of Light, MSU site, day 1.
The light show started at 20:30. We agreed to meet at 18:30, but everyone was half an hour late. As soon as our entire team got to the chemistry department, a surprise awaited us. The same fence was finally assembled, and the police were stationed every 25 meters. In total, there were 4 checkpoints on the territory of the fence (from the metro side). At each of them, students were allowed on the student basis, and only at two of them were the spectators of the light show by invitation. Both options were a failure, since we forgot the students at home, and we simply did not have time to pick up the invitations. Accordingly, improvisation began. At one of the checkpoints, we began to fill in about the fact that we were studying here, and we urgently need to get to the hostel, where our student cards remained. Hundreds of arguments were given why it was necessary to let us in, but the guards did not give in to any. The whole shit lasted 30 minutes, which was quite a lot. After all, such a thoughtless waste of time reduced our chances of success of alternatives. The team exchanged glances, nodded, and rushed away from the checkpoint, after saying goodbye to the guards in the classic phrase: “Fuck your ass, we'll get there anyway. Right now, let's take and climb over the fence yonder * gesture towards <there> * ". Plan B was used. After running twice along the perimeter of the fence, we found more or less "empty" space. The distance from the police officer to the police officer here was slightly more than usual. On the command “get into position”, three of them built a “wall”. Almost the same as in the elections in Rostov, only slightly more modernized. One person closed the worker “from the rear” (from the path along which people walked), and two others watched so that the police on the other side of the fence would not notice us. This wall worked as successfully as possible, and after 20 seconds the coupling of the two fences was untwisted and removed, and a "black hole" formed in the fence. Let me explain why. As soon as we hid the mechanism holding the two sections of the fence together, the police moved towards our makeshift "wall". But the most interesting thing: they walked on our side of the fence, that is, exactly where, crowded together, there was a woe-wall. Only when they came close did it become clear how many there were. It was a whole STORY of police officers. We expected anything, but definitely not what happened. The "black hole" sucked in all the policemen without exception. One of them managed to squeeze out something like "just don't repeat after us ...", but it was already too late. So we ended up on the territory adjacent to the chemistry department. By this time, the clock was already 20:30, which means the light show has already begun. Now we have a goal for speed: to be in time for the fireworks.
Hiding our silhouettes in the shade of trees, we moved to the building of the chemistry department. When everyone bypassed the faculty, they ran into another fence. It is completely incomprehensible why, but the inner courtyard of the chemistry department was fenced off with an additional fence. We didn't even take it apart, we just climbed over. The police were a little further here, about 40 meters away, so you could afford it. It would seem that the victory is already so close, it remains only to get to the fire escape ... But another surprise awaited us: the three-meter entrance gate to the courtyard was closed, and the guard was sitting right at his checkpoint on a bench. If it were not for it, the gate (with difficulty, but still) could be climbed over. However, he is, and is clearly not going to go anywhere. The only option that remained was to climb over the second gate. But everything was no less fun there. Only 15 meters from the gate was the perimeter of the first fence, at which, of course, there were police officers. Since such a bright light oozed out of the second gate, the guys would have to try hard to remain unnoticed by the police.

Frightened Pavel at the last gate:

Fortunately, the moment we crept up to the gate, the cops were so into the game of hitting the neighbor a-ha-ha that our chances of going unnoticed did not seem so slim. And, yes: everyone climbed the fence unnoticed.

The final dash up the fire escape ... And we are on the roof. Shortness of breath. Victory! There were 20 minutes left before the fireworks.

When the first volleys rang out, everyone was numb. We knew the chemistry department was the closest point to watch fireworks, but we didn't expect the nearest launch battery to be located just 10 meters from the edge of the building. Throughout the pyrotechnic show, burning salute volleys flew onto the roof, and we barely had time to dodge them. Nevertheless, the brightest photographs were obtained on this day, and we remained intact.

Volleys exploded right in front of us:

The following pictures are not even the end of the fireworks. When we saw this, he decided to descend into the building of the chemistry department for the final volleys, since we were without any protection and took great risks.

All the sparks from the fireworks were blown off by the wind onto the roof:

Circle of Light, MSU site, day 2.
The main fear was that the fences would have reinforcement. Formally, if we overcome the first fence, the other two will no longer present difficulties. Having learned in advance what time the students pass is closed (20:30), and taking our student cards with us (and each had their own: Pleshka, HSE, Financial, and only the only one: Moscow State University), we agreed to meet at 18:00 in order to have time for everything. ... However, the mistakes of the previous day did not teach us anything, and as a result, the whole team gathered only at 20:00, which was quite risky. There were just dofig people in the metro and on the street: 3 times more than yesterday, and all fears about the strengthening were confirmed, now the police were standing every 7 meters on the other side of the fence. Almost at a run we got to the checkpoint, and found ... that it was already closed. But what the hell? The time is 20:15, there are still 15 minutes before closing. It turns out that the time was moved half an hour earlier, amazing. As a result, we found ourselves in a very bad situation. The option to go through the students crashed to smithereens, and again we did not have time to pick up the invitations. An attempt was made to find at least one place where one could seep through the fence, but the police convoy turned out to be too dense. Then we tried to crawl past the guards in the place where we passed by invitation, but since this time there were 6 of us, nothing came of it. The team spirit gave way to panic. After all, this development of events led to only one outcome: we miss the fireworks. However, in addition to a clear statement of goals and objectives, our team was notable for damn luck. When one of us tried to break into the show territory with an invitation from the previous day (and he was not allowed again), some kind passer-by gave an extra invitation directly into his hands. Then the trash began, which the ticket control system did not foresee this year. All 6 people in turn passed the invitation, which a passer-by brought us, then bypassed the security, and, literally 2 meters away from her, passed the invitation to the next one. This spectacle lasted no more than a minute, until the whole team was on the territory of the event. It seemed that the matter was small. But the most interesting thing was yet to come ... We were moving with a stream of people towards the stands, casting an unobtrusive glance at the fence on the right. This was the second of three fences on the territory of the chemistry department. The problem was that he also had police officers on duty. Fortunately, they were negligible in comparison with the first fence. We kept walking and looking for a suitable piece. Soon one was found. In order not to waste time, it was decided not to spin the section, like last time, but just sneak under the fence. But the problem was again that there were 6 of us. The most massive one climbed forward. The fence shook with a crash. After 20 seconds, two police officers materialized next to our would-be party. Naturally, with the power of magical charisma, the police officers pulled out the most massive fence on the other side. Then we very quickly went further in order to break away from the police and try again. After passing another 100 meters, we saw the cherished goal! There was a gap between the sections of the fence, half a meter wide! The only thing that confused us (a little less than the police) was the promoter girl who blocked this doorway with herself. We started a conversation: - Girl, are you doing an internship here? - No, I work ... - Do you get paid a lot? Well, I do it, for myself. I just wanted to get a job here too. - 150 rubles per hour. - Would you like to earn a little extra money? All you need is to quietly let all of us vooon into that crack behind your back. - Oh, so I don't protect her in any way. - that is, can we get through? - Come in ...
Only one of us managed to squeeze through the crack. The same one that climbed under the fence a minute ago. As soon as his silhouette disappeared behind the nearest tree, 15 meters away from us, all the same law enforcement officers materialized. They confidently walked in our direction, and did not leave us any opportunity to be on the other side of the fence. Then the team split up: three walked briskly towards the stands, and two towards the police. The police did not notice the group of two people at all. Instead, she stood at the hole, into which the first hero had already squeezed, and began to guard her. 30 seconds later, the duo of adventure seekers was already squeezing their butts under the fence from where they drove us for the first time. The police saw this, but did not manage to reach us, because we had already climbed through and disappeared in the shadow of the chemistry department. While I was walking towards the last fence, where the first hero was already waiting for us, the remaining three called me. You ask where. Already at the last gate - I answer. Exactly 15 seconds pass, and we observe something like the following: a body seeps into the gap between the two sections with a crash, accompanied by shouts: “stand still !!! Come back !!! ”, knocking down all the trees in his path, runs past us, and hides somewhere near the chemistry department. Apparently the police had already figured out our ingenious back-and-forth strategy, and as soon as they realized they had missed the duet, they headed back to the troika. Only one of them managed to slip through. The rest remained directly under the scrutiny of the police. We phoned them on the phone and asked if the police were scouring the territory where we were. Having received a positive answer, we decided to leave the last two heroes and continue the remaining path without them. The last fence was overcome without any difficulty. The four flew into the fire escape and climbed it to the roof, as it seemed, twice as fast as yesterday. This time we came more prepared: in German gas masks and helmets (fortunately, a lot of volleys flew to the roof, from where the shooting was carried out). We planned to shoot through the program, connecting the camera via USB to a computer. But the preparation took place "in a panic", as this time we had time to fireworks back to back. When we connected the camera to the laptop, the first volleys were already heard.

Today as well as yesterday - volleys regularly flew to the roof.

The shooting of the fireworks was fully automated. The photographer only had to adjust the shutter speed from the computer depending on the brightness of the fireworks. This is how the scheme went:

Circle of Light, MSU site, day 3.
Finally, everyone gathered at 19:00. This is exactly one hour before the closing of the student gates. The plan was to strike on all fronts. Therefore, we moved to the GZ to pick up free invitations as a fallback. These were issued to students of Moscow State University (of whom this time there were only two). The first and most difficult fence was overcome in 15 seconds. In total, there were 7 of us, and 6 out of 7 had student students (I remind you: a variety of universities). All managed to get through. Next, we had to get to the GZ, from where, taking the invitations, we could go directly to the chemistry department. Not everyone has overcome the university entrance checkpoint. A stupor occurred on a girl without a student, behind which there was another lady with a student at the financial university. The guards absolutely calmly let the students of HSE, Finashka, Pleshka into the territory, but after the girl without the student became more vigilant. Not really. After the ladies were turned to the exit, they waited 5 minutes and went through the same checkpoint through the students of the guys who had already broken into the GZ. In general, I managed to slip through this checkpoint on my student's two times: before an attack of vigilance and after, together with the ladies. Since there are such pies, everyone thought, let's try to get to the chemistry department not through the fire, but through the main entrance. The heat in the stove was added by the fact that on Sunday at 8 pm there should have been no one in the building of the chemistry department. However, what do you think? The first 4 people went inside without any complaints from the guard, simply waving half-open student ones in front of his face, like a magic wand in front of a pumpkin, so that it turns into a carriage. At the 5th student, the security officer nevertheless decided to ask what was going on here. He uttered the following: - Guys ... Is it possible to find out in general where you are in so many helmets at 8 pm on your way? - To which we gave him: - Do not worry, we are in such and such a laboratory, they are waiting for us there. - Who waits? - Our scientific advisor. - Can I find out your manager's last name? - Uh ... Savchenko. Don’t worry, we don’t deceive you, we go there and back. Well, everything, we went, otherwise we are already late ...
So we ended up on the roof 1 hour and 15 minutes before the fireworks. This time a strong wind was blowing upstairs and it was much colder than on the previous days, so we adjusted the camera and went to while away the time before the fireworks in the attic.

By chance, we had a bottle of budget domestic champagne with us, so time flew by even faster than we expected.

Shortly before the fireworks, two of us went to explore another part of the roof, but we settled in the same place as in the previous days.

When it was 10 minutes before the fireworks, we made ourselves comfortable and raised our heads. 3, 2, 1 ... The show begins!

Final volley of the last day:


We have not visited the stands this year, just like any other areas of the circle of light. All due to the fact that the observation point for the fireworks was mega-cool, and the shooting process was incredibly exciting. This festival has been my favorite event in Moscow since 2012 to this day. We are looking forward to 2017.


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