Haivky: Kosa Kolektiv’s Spring Festival Revives More than Tradition…

Kosa’s Festival Revives the True Meaning of a Festival.

Preamble: this post is part of a larger discussion on the traditional uses of art to empower, foster community, and resolve conflict – a driving force to MusiCamp’s programming. Also note that while this post is from 2015, the date, location and egg-decorating workshops listed at the bottom of the page are updated for 2016


When one mentions “festival” in this part of the world, people immediately think of it in commercial terms – big stages, sound systems, visiting artists, official schedules, ticket sales, wrist bands, CDs and many other forms of merchandising – from specialty foods to cultural wares. But this is not the sort of festival Kosa Kolektiv will be bringing to Trinity Bellwoods Park this Sunday. There will be no stage. No sound systems. No vendors trying to sell you food. No money will ever cross hands. In contrast, this is a true community celebration to welcome Spring back to Toronto!

Haivky is a traditional Ukrainian community celebration of renewal that occurs in the days after Easter. Kosa Kolektiv, the host organizer for this event, is comprised of a group of young women of Ukrainian heritage who are determined to make folk forms relevant to our contemporary urban existence. And true to their word, this event, while based on a Ukrainian peasant tradition, has been re-learned and revitalized for not just a pan-Slavic experience but for a multi-cultural Toronto experience. Ancient songs from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Bulgaria and Georgia will be calling forth spring. Rituals of washing away the crustiness of winter and children’s weaving dances and games played under the open sky will welcome the onset of longer days, the warmth of the sun, and regeneration that’s on the way. And adults will be entertained with fiddlers, a bassist, accordion and woodwind players from the Lemon Bucket Orkestra and Balfolk Toronto, who will be leading village-styled dancing from France, Briton and other parts of Western Europe and America.

Best of all, the festival will offer a pure acoustic experience, free of electronic mediation or amplification. This in itself should be celebrated as it is a rarity in our age of connectivity! It is this sense of community building through artistic forms, especially music, that I admire. This, in part, is the motivating force of my own professional and personal development, including MusiCamp. I’ll be at the festivities with my children, singing songs and dancing, and I encourage you all to come too, to experience the collective magic of song and dance in the beautiful outdoors of Trinity Bellwoods park, smack in the middle of Downtown Toronto. But be warned, no vendors will be there! This is a true festival– a community celebration – so come prepared with your own picnic basket and blanket to join in on and extend the fun!

Haivky 2013 3

Haivky is on Sunday, May 1, 2016
3:00 – 6:00 pm at Trinity Bellwoods Park
790 Queen St W Toronto, ON

Visit Kosa Kolektiv Hailky for more information.

In lead up to the festival Kosa Kolektiv also runs traditional easter egg decorating workshops.