A Modest Proposal For The Development Of A Trans-Siberian Railroad Tour

I first became familiar with the Trans-Siberian Railroad because of two different contexts.  First, my reading of Russian history as it related to World War II and the Russo-Japanese War discussed the difficulties that Russians had in moving men and material from their European heartland to their Siberian hinterlands in those areas familiar only to players of Risk, areas like Kamchatka and Yakutsk and Irkutsk, with their air of obscure foreign languages and harsh names for harsh climates.  The second context was a fondness for a song by the band Trans-Siberian Orchestra [1] that I had first heard as a teenager among a context album dealing with the divisions within Bosnia during the early 1990’s, appropriately called Dead Winter Dead.  Throughout my reading, the railroad would occasionally pop up as being a place for decidedly low-tech travel around the world, being the most obvious way to quickly travel across the wide expanses of the Eurasian continent.

Since I have some online penpals who happen to live in Siberia, through no fault of their own, it was striking to me hear their complaints of how no one ever came to perform in their cities.  From time to time I have been known to go to concerts [2], and I have long had an interest in the infrastructure of music and transportation, and I have never heard of anyone who had ever done a tour in Siberia.  It is clear that Siberia may not be the most fun or exciting place in the world, but it is a place that has some fairly large cities, and given the absence of anything else happening, it is quite possible that the novelty value of having artists come through their cities may draw some interest from the inhabitants of the cities along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which may make it worthwhile to do a mini-tour of the area.  I would like to look at the logistics to making such a tour work both within the major cities along the railroad and then look at the placement of such a tour in a larger context that would make it worthwhile for a band or musician to undertake.

It is most likely that an American musician would start the mini-tour of the Trans-Siberian Railroad at Vladivostok [3], with a population of over 600,000, then continue onward to Ussurisyk (population about 150,000), Khabarovsk (population about 580,000), Birobizhan (capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region, with a population of about 75,000), Chita (population over 300,000), Ulan Ude (population of just over 400,000), Irkutsk (population almost 600,000), Taishet (population about 30,000), Krasnoyarsk (population over 1 million people), Novosibirsk (population almost 1.5 million), Omsk (population over 1 million people), Tyumen (population over 500,000), Yekaterinburg (population over 1.3 million), Perm (population around 1 million), Kirov (population almost half a million), Nizhny Novgorod (population at 1 and a quarter million), Vladimir (population around 350,000), and Moscow (population over 12 million).  While some of the towns along the way are a bit small, most of the cities are well-worth visiting in terms of their population, and they are certainly large enough to serve a sizable concert stop.

In terms of the stadiums available, Vladivostok hosts an annual music festival that has attracted international bands [4].  Khabarovsk has a large enough arena to fill about 7,000 seats [5].  Little Birobizhan is looking to build an indoor arena [6].  Chita too is planning an indoor arena [7].  Irkutsk has regularly hosted international bandy tournaments and has the infrastructure to support crowds in the tens of thousands [8].  Other cities [9] too have large enough arenas to support large crowds of fans for concerts.  Obviously, the towns have the logistics to support a concert mini-tour if there was interest, and though I must admit that I do not know the musical tastes of the people of Siberia, to be sure they have radio stations and probably listen to a lot of music from Russian and international musicians, and assuming ticket prices were reasonable, there would likely be a lot of goodwill to see bands and musicians that the townspeople were familiar with already, especially if the tour stops included cultural visits and meeting and greeting, to make people feel less isolated along the route.

There are at least a few other reasons why this route is such an obvious one for a tour.  For one, the port facilities of Vladivostok and the ability of the railroad to carry container vehicles makes for an easy infrastructure for transportation, probably more convenient than traveling by bus and certainly more profitable than merely flying over the area without stopping at all.  Given the fact that the Trans-Siberian Railroad is a natural route to serve as a bridge between an Asia-Pacific Tour based in East or Southeast Asia and a European Tour going from Moscow further west in Europe, the Trans-Siberian Railroad would offer a few days of quirky performing in historically significant areas that are fairly isolated from the larger connections of culture that exist in the world.  With straightforward logistics along the railway and large enough towns to be able to support concert touring, it is surprising that no one has thought of this idea before.  In less than two weeks one could see several towns and it would likely be an unusual enough experience to be worthy of a touring documentary.  Someone needs to get on this, as quirky opportunities to tour in areas that would appreciate people visiting them and that serve as distinctive places to stop are not all that common, especially when the logistics of bringing stage equipment and moving from town to town cheaply and distinctively are so straightforward and obvious, at least to someone as quirky as I am.

[1] https://youtu.be/mYLGsC3TN5Q

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/concert-review-mosby-06-26-2014-st-helens-oregon-columbia-view-amphitheater/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/concert-review-hit-machine-07-31-2014-st-helens-oregon-columbia-view-amphitheater/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/concert-review-guster-kishi-bashi-03312015-portland-or/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/concert-review-robin-thicke-ludacris-kid-ink-04-08-2015-domopalooza-salt-lake-city/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Siberian_Railway

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladivostok

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platinum_Arena

[6] https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rusbandy.ru%2Fnews%2F9130%2F&sandbox=1

[7] http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://news.chita.ru/44490/&prev=search

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irkutsk

[9] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Stadium_(Krasnoyarsk)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_Omsk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartak_Stadium_(Novosibirsk)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Stadium_(Yekaterinburg)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zvezda_Stadium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirov,_Kirov_Oblast

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lokomotiv_Stadium_(Nizhny_Novgorod)

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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3 Responses to A Modest Proposal For The Development Of A Trans-Siberian Railroad Tour

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