Disco Fever fails to grip Almaty
By Paul Bartlett
Almaty’s diehard disco fans will be frizzing up their hair and dusting down their bling on July 31 as a host of names from the golden age of disco perform in the parking lot of a city shopping mall.
The Gold Disco Festival will bring together luminaries from the 1980s and 1990s disco scenes in North America, Europe and the Soviet Union. Headlining is Dutch diva C.C. Catch, who was hugely popular in the dying days of the Soviet Union with songs such as I Can Lose My Heart Tonight and Heartbreak Hotel.
Other acts include Ottowan, best-known for their 1980s hits D.I.S.C.O. and Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart); and Londonbeat of I’ve Been Thinking About You fame. Yuriy Shatunov of Soviet boy band Laskoviy May, most famous for Beliye Rozy, will represent Russia.
While these acts are mostly forgotten in the West nowadays, they still find an eager audience in the EurasiaNet heartland. Disco never faded away in Almaty, Kazakhstan's financial capital, home to the Disco 80 nightclub.
Any self-respecting covers band performing in the city’s bars always includes the aforementioned Ottowan standards with the opening bars of D.I.S.C.O. acting like a magnet to pull the audience onto the dance floor.
festival organizers are hoping to attract up to 20,000 ravers to the event, but sales of tickets – at 20 dollars a pop – have so far been sluggish. According to the festival website, only 501 tickets had been sold at the time of writing, according to Eurasianet.