The most remote Sakhalin 1 Facility, the oil export terminal, is in Ulchi District located near De-Kastri Village. Ulchi is almost 40 thousand square kilometers and half the size of Sakhalin Island. The population of Ulchi District is less than 16 thousand people, which is thirty times less than that of Sakhalin. Villages and settlements are scattered like small islands throughout the district and separated from each other by many kilometers of wild forests. Travelling to visit friends and relatives as well as business trips prove to be difficult. The the capital of the district is Khabarovsk, and it is quite challenging to make it there in one day.
Geographical remoteness does not positively correlate with cultural isolation though, especially with respect to children, for whom the ability to communicate with each other is priceless.
That is why the annual Stars Over the Straight Festival, which has become a tradition over the last two decades, is an exciting event for the area. It originated in the district center, Bogorodskoye Village in 2005, but later moved to De-Kastri where the oil export terminal construction was in full swing at that time. The management of Exxon Neftegas Limited (ENL), the Sakhalin-1 Operator, eagerly supported the initiative of the Ulchi District Administration and the Village Culture and Recreation Center to organize the event. Since it began, De-Kastri has enjoyed hosting the festival that highlights the creativity of children of the Ulchi District. ENL’s financial support allows the organization of the event, provides prizes for participants, purchases lighting and audio equipment, and covers other costs needed for the event.
In June 16 and 17, all district communities including Bogorodskoye, Ukhta, Bulava, Susanino, Solontsy, Reshayuschiy, Tsimmermanovka and others sent their children teams to De-Kastri. Two hundred and eighty young artists showed their talents in different fields of performing arts. The jury selected the best performers.
Each participant received a prize, but there was only one Grand Prix which consisted of a paid trip to the regional festival in Khabarovsk or Vladivostok, whichever the winner chose. A vocal ensemble from Solontsy Village was rightfully awarded the Grand Prix.
Now the winners prepare as they look forward to performing at the regional festival.
The Stars Over the Straight Festival has already proven that talent can be found even in the most remote locations.