We continue the column “The Vobla Festival is 23 years old”. And today, two Konstantin, Markelov and Guzenko, share their memories and impressions. Both are famous in Astrakhan. Konstantin Markelov, now ASU Rector, and former Vice President of the Regional Government. Konstantin Guzenko is also a musicologist, associate professor at the conservatory, a journalist and a longtime host of the festival.
Konstantin Markelov: The festival is an integral part of our lives in Astrakhan
– Konstantin Alekseevich, since we are talking about voble, do you remember when you first picked up a fishing rod? And what does fishing mean to you personally?
– I was born and raised in the Volga, in a fishing village, and my father was a fisherman, my relatives and friends were fishermen. So I do not even remember exactly when I lifted the rod. My father took him with him from a young age. And fishing for me is not just a hobby, it’s probably a part of life. Fishing is not just about catching fish. There is so much more here! Enjoy nature, see the beauties of the delta, meet friends, sit in the early morning, dream, think … This is a kind of special life. No wonder they say that a day spent fishing is not counted by the Lord in life. And right!
– With the will of fate you had to solve the problems of the fishing industry, being regional prime minister. And the period in the late 90’s was very worrying.
Yes, there are always problems. Some things have been resolved successfully, and some things have not yet been decided. From what we have achieved, I would give an example of rationalizing quotas for commercial fishing. At that time, we cooperated very seriously with the federal structures in establishing rules for recreational fishing. By the way, they defended some indulgence for the inhabitants of the area, for those who live in the river, who are fed by the river. One of the most important problems we solved then was the restoration of the program of restoration works on fish pods – dredging. Then, at the end of two centuries, these projects were not carried out, just money and equipment were not available. Fish canals were muddy, catches were declining, commercial and amateur. Fortunately, Rosvodresursy, the federal government and the president listened to us, the programs continued.
Naturally, there were flood monitoring issues. The issues of low level and flood crossing planning are annual problems. Well, of course, they solved the problems of supporting the tourism industry. They tried to make fishing fashionable – not to catch fish, but just amateurishly, civilized – by releasing large fish back, by preventing the catch of young, according to the rules and regulations. Then we laid the foundations for Astrakhan to become a fishing paradise for nature lovers, for a comfortable family vacation. It is necessary to be very careful with the resources that nature has so generously given us.
– And this is one of the program goals of the Vobla festival. Do you remember how it started 25 years ago?
– It was a great idea of a group of enthusiasts, which was supported by a lot of people. Here, after all, immediately – and the development of tourism potential, and drawing attention to the environment, because the rules were adopted immediately sparingly. It was probably not easy for the organizers at first, the festival changed the venue, but the idea itself took root. And of course. It is wonderful that today the festival has become a trademark of the region. In addition, it is known not only in the country but also in the world – the level has increased! The guests come from all over the world! And I brought my friends, celebrities at the federal level, who also contributed to the popularity of the event.
As a result, the festival proved to be really popular, it is attended by both adults and young people, men and women, professionals and beginners. Holidays for everyone, an excellent Astrakhan brand!
– What are your wishes for the festivals of the future?
– Today the festival is firmly on its feet, it has stable and serious partners, which is wonderful. I would like to wish the festival to develop further and become even more massive. Probably there should be some kind of targeted program of support both from the leadership of the region and from large industrial structures. Vobla in particular should be supported by all those working in the fisheries and tourism sector. As this is a popularization of civilized beautiful fishing and respect for nature. The festival has not only sports and entertainment importance, but also educational, educational, because children also participate in it. This is a very important feature. The Vobla festival has already become an integral part of our lives in Astrakhan and I am sure it will continue!
Konstantin Guzenko: “We fought for the purity of fishing!”
– Konstantin Vladimirovich, what associations does the word “vobla” evoke in you personally?
– I think this word is familiar and very nice to all absolutely the Astrakhans. And not only them. Vobla is our brand, although it is fished not only here, but also, for example, in Kazakhstan. Vobla and Astrakhan are synonymous words. And I, like many of our compatriots, when I travel somewhere else, I will definitely take some cockroaches with me. This chalochka always elicits a polite smile from colleagues in other cities: “Oh, the Astrakhans have arrived!”. In the past, of course, in the 80’s, they used to bring caviar when they came to visit, but now it is impossible, at such a price. And the cockroach remains accessible to everyone. And I hope it continues to be popular and accessible. By the way, thanks to such events as the Vobla festival, which is already 25 years old.
– You have been the permanent host of the festival for many years, defining a kind of “fish presentation”, creating an atmosphere of celebration. How did you see the action from the stage? How did the cultural program join the competition?
– Yes, for 20 years I was the host, for which I am grateful to the organizer of the festival Igor Belyakov. Sometimes we hosted a program with the wonderful actor Sergei Taraskin. The concert is an important part, but the festival is primarily a sporting event, a priority in it. The excitement, the spirit of competition, because sometimes the cockroach walked in cold water, was not enough, you still have to catch it. People did it! And we also saw that excitement, we watched the emotions … Especially when the first casting took place, which was done by Governor Anatoly Petrovich, may his memory be blessed … Those moments, I remember, even jokes were heard in the crowd: “Yes, divers are sitting, they will plant them now!” . Then the governor left the fish that had been caught in the water and this became a good tradition. In general, many good rules and traditions were set then, which today determine the good name of the Vobla festival. There was a system.
And the program of the concert was more secondary, accompanying, it created a mood. Although everything was done. Once, for example, a particular leader claimed that our music sounds “not like that”. He even called the police. He showed vigilance … Of course there were no violations, but … nevertheless we came to conclusions. In the following years, they began to use more “local” music – Astrakhan bards, including, of course, classics such as Alexander Sakhnov. He was also an avid fisherman and his voice over the Volga gave the holidays a special flavor.
In general, we gradually evolved into a kind of “chip” – the participation of local creative groups. Such, for example, as the team of Roman Bekkulov. And Nadezhda Babkina played, it is our homeland. They shaped the atmosphere of Astrakhan. People really liked it, especially the older generation. Besides, at the same time I was reporting on the radio, approaching the audience with a microphone. Absolutely everyone rejoiced, thanked, said kind words!
– Then your opinion is interesting as a guardian and as a creative person. How should the festival be further developed to become even more popular and beloved?
– I will say without passion that the basis of the festival was the environmental component. We have always talked about the importance of conserving the nature and livelihoods of the Volga-Caspian Sea, about the need to release small changes and not need too much. We fought for the purity of fishing! We must continue this! And, I think the festival has already done so well that it will be done as long as there is a cockroach.
Yes, probably the form will change, the rules will improve. Maybe a new place will appear, although I really do not imagine where it can be kept, I’m probably used to the Komsomolskaya embankment. There may be some “branch festivals” in the regions, such efforts have already been made. There may be some kind of winter continuation of cockroach fishing on the ice. New presenters, new performers and most importantly young fishermen will come! We need to make sure they have enough voblas. So I look to the future optimistically!