Fast Facts

  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Significance: Art Festival
  • Attraction Type: Music, Carnival, Performances, Celebrations, Art Festival
  • Timings: May to July. However, get your tickets for the ballet and opera performances booked beforehand as there is a great deal of rush.
  • How to Reach: St. Petersburg Airport is extremely well connected to almost all major international and national destinations. You can also reach here through train from other parts of Russia.
  • Nearest International Airport: St. Petersburg International Airport

The White Nights Festival, a gala event with plenty of music, art, and ballet performances, culminating the grand Seven Sails Night, is the greatest even in St. Petersburg and one of the greatest in the whole of Russia. The event is held between the months of May and July under the sunlight that remains for long periods of the day. Although Russian performances are highlights of the event, there are quite a few guest appearances and performances as well. Due to its popularity and prominent place in the public imagination, the White Night Festival has served as a prototype for a number of similar events now held around the world, collectively called the Nuit Blanche festival.

Classical Performances in White Nights Festival
The White Night Festival begins typically in the middle of May. Ballets, music and classical opera. These are the most important and traditional aspects of the festival. Russia has always held classical music close to its heart, and ballet is accorded a place of supreme value. These performances in the White Night Festival showcase the best talents not only from all around Russia but from around the world as well. Alfred Brendel, Maxim Vengerov, Bryn Terfel, and Thomas Hampson were some of the star performers of the 2008 edition of the White Night Festival.

White Nights Carnivals
Apart from the classical performances, carnivals play a major role in the White Nights celebrations. These carnivals are conducted in the form of pageants, with participants dressed in period costumes enacting famous historical scenes from Russia’s past. It is not unusual to find people dressed like someone from the times of Peter the Great or Catherine the Great. These carnivals are usually held in the Catherine Palace and the Pavlovsk suburb of St. Petersburg.

Palace Square Performances
The Palace Square of St. Petersburg is reserved for the star performances during the White Night Arts Festival. It is not unusual to see guest performances from outside Russia being held there. International stars from the world of Rock and Pop music are the usual favorites. The fact that Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, and the Scorpions have performed there clearly shows the kind of entertainment people expect in the Palace Square. It always adds a great degree of variety and color to the festival.

The Scarlet Sails Celebrations
The Scarlet Sails celebration is the event of the event — the icing on the cake of the entire White Night Festival. It celebrates the official closing of the school year, and derives much of its symbolism from Alexander Grin’s children book ‘Scarlet Sails’. A large number of students and general people gather together for an absolutely rollicking time during this festival. The ‘Scarlet Sails’ appearance is the most popular part of the entire White Night celebrations.

Accommodation in St. Petersburg
There are plenty of accommodation options in St. Petersburg, beginning from the budget and inexpensive accommodations to luxury star hotels. There are a number of hostels and bed and breakfasts as well that provide luxury facilities at considerably lower prices. Angleterre Hotel, Astoria Hotel and Europa Grand hotel are some of the luxurious and expensive accommodation options. Tourists looking for cheaper options can opt for Labirint, Na Muchnom, Neva and Oktyabrskaya Subsidiary Hotel.

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