The first international Bridge sports and music festival organized by Gazprom International was held on 14 June in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. The festival was a company pilot project aimed at supporting and developing corporate culture, and strengthening interaction among Gazprom Group entities and partner organizations. The main slogan of the festival was “Connecting Cultures”.
In total, about one hundred employees of Gazprom International’s affiliate companies and branch offices in different countries, as well as employees of Gazprom Holding Cooperatie U.A. (the Netherlands), representatives of the German company Wintershall and WINZ (Wintershall Noordzee B.V., the Netherlands) took part in the event.
"Bridge Festival is our company’s first project on this scale. I hope it will become a unique platform for sporting events and revealing the creative potential of employees. It will help them to get to know each other better and make new friends," said Andrey Fick, Gazprom International’s Managing Director and CEO, during the opening ceremony.
The festival consisted of two programs: a football tournament and a music contest.
Eight corporate teams from Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Algeria, Bolivia and Nigeria vied for the championship cup on several pitches at the Amsterdam Ajax Arena, the largest stadium in the Netherlands. All participants demonstrated beautiful football gamesmanships, excellent training and supreme skills. The championship final saw two teams competing – Wintershall (Germany) and Gazprom International Services (Russia). During a stubborn struggle, the German team managed to beat their Russian counterparts 4:2 to win the tournament. The Dutch teams of WINZ and Gazprom Holding Cooperatie took the third and the fourth places.
The winning Wintershall team won the chance to attend the 2017 Confederations Cup match in Saint Petersburg and watch the game between the national teams of Portugal and New Zealand in the VIP lounge at the Saint Petersburg Arena Stadium.
"From the very first qualifying games, the teams tried to demonstrate their strong character and good football. There were quite a few interesting moments and many goals were scored. This indicates the very high level of the tournament and given that this is the first project of its kind, it's just fantastic," commented the famous Russian coach Sergey Kiryakov who was a guest of the tournament.
The festival continued with a music contest on Ocean Diva liner stage. Employees of the Gazprom International Group and Gazprom Holding Cooperatie presented a number of original creative performances to the professional jury, headed by Euvgenia Parakhina, the nine-time Dutch champion in sports ballroom dancing.
Ilya Shaposhnikov, an interpreter from the St. Petersburg branch of Gazprom International, and a brilliant pair from Bolivia, Morehon Milton (Chief Geologist of Gazprom International in Bolivia) and Baldivieso Yvette (secretary) shared third place. Ilya performed a very unusual number – the Yo Yo dance, while the Bolivians amazed the audience with original and temperamental Latin American dances.
The second place was awarded to the Managing Director of Gazprom Holding Cooperatie Petr Bakaev in the vocal and guitar class. His touching performance of the "Cuban dance", "Actors" and "Song about Belgorod" won him the glory of a true bard. Diana Shpak (piano), assistant to the Managing Director of Gazprom Holding Cooperatie, immersed the audience in the lyrical atmosphere of Frederic Chopin. She performed his famous Nocturne No 20 to win second place.
Alexey Maliy (guitar) from Gazprom Holding Cooperatie, tax specialist, and accountant Lilyana Vinokurova (vocals) were the absolute favorites in the music contest. Alexey literally stunned the audience with his performances of such famous hits as "Let the Music Play" by Barry White and "Born to be Wild" by the Canadian Steppenwolf. Lilyana, impersonating a burning passionate gypsy, performed the famous folk songs "Nane Tsokha" and "Rucheyek".
The audience’s hearts were won over by the piano performance by Igor Kobochkin, one of the drivers, of Louis Armstrong’s jazz composition “Summer Time”. They were impressed by the drumming performance of Konstantin Tarasevich, Deputy Head of Business Process Automation Department, and wooed by the talented vocal performance of Evgeny Yadryshnikov, Deputy Head of Public Relations Division, who sang the evergreen hits of the Beatles and Elvis Presley. All three contestants work in the Gazprom International Branch in St. Petersburg.
Addressing the festival participants, company CEO Andrey Fick noted that this culture and sports project would become a fine tradition for Gazprom International. Next year Bridge Festival will reveal even more talents and become a real bridge of friendship between people, companies and entire countries.