International Folklore Festival “Baltica” Takes Place This July in Latvia
During July 6–10 this year, more than 200 folk music bands and ethnographic groups will meet in the international folklore festival “Baltica”. The program is rich and varied – with concerts, sing-along events, dance evenings, masterclasses and workshops, “dates” between various folk bands, storyteller gatherings, and other activities.
Traditionally, the festival begins with a “Baltic Evening” that unites Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian folk bands. They will sing in a concert “Kaimiņu būšana” on July 6, 18:00, in the Ziedonis hall of the National Library of Latvia. It will also be possible to watch the concert online in the webpage of the festival.
July 7 is the day of the official opening of the festival in the region of Sigulda. During the first half of the day, the participants of the festival will sing and play together in Inciems, Inčukalns, Jūdaži, Krimulda, Lēdurga and Mālpils. At 15:30 in the Turaida Museum Reserve, we will be able to hear the concert “Zelta spēļu saspēle” with traditional string instruments, but at 18:00 at the Dainu hill in Turaida, the concert “Spēlē šādu vakariņu” will begin. It will be followed by a sing-along event.
July 8 will bring the festival back to Riga. Throughout the day on two stages in Vērmanes park and the Brīvības square, folk bands from all over Latvia will demonstrate the variety of the local and regional traditions of singing and playing musical instruments.
On the way from Vērmanes park to the Brīvības square, the participants and guests of the festival will be able to attend various workshops of the living cultural heritage – to learn a few words in the Livonian language, to try the typical bread of the suiti region or the butter from Rucava, to compare the patterns of knitted mittens from different parts of Latvia, to see the legendary glassware produced in Līvāni, etc. At 16:00, the great sing-along of folksongs will begin in Brīvības square and will last for at least three hours. Everyone is welcome!
Meanwhile in the Riga Latvian Society, a tournament of the traditional Latvian card game zolīte will also start at 16:00. At 17:00, a storyteller gathering will begin, and at 21:00 – the Festival Party Night with dancing and singing rooms. Games and dances will be demonstrated by 14 folk bands from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
In the LMT hall of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, during 11:00–18:00 there will be masterclasses for beginners in playing harmonica, mouth harp, and the string instrument kokle. In the Great hall of the Academy, at 19:00 a concert of traditional multipart singing “Saskanēja man dziedot” will begin. It will celebrate the vocal diversity of the regions of Latvia, as well as of Lithuania and Estonia.
July 9 will be the day of regions, when the festival will move to Alsunga, Dundaga, Kuldīga, Skrunda, Pope, Talsi and Ventspils. Concerts, games, sing-alongs, dancing – there will be more than 20 events in the region of Kurzeme. Meanwhile, all the regions will “meet” at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum in Riga – there will be demonstrations of the culinary heritage, individual folk band concerts, and “dates” between various folk bands. The culmination of the day will be the sing-along competition where every guest of the museum will be welcome.
July 10 will see the closing of the “Baltica” festival with the concert "Krust` šķēr`s valodiņ!" in Talsi, on the open-air stage of Sauleskalns. Before the concert, a parade of the participants across Ķēniņkalns hill to Sauleskalns hill is planned.
For a more detailed program please see http://www.festivalbaltica.com/en/programme/. The entrance to all the events is free. Entrance fee in the Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum and in the Turaida Museum Reserve is as required by these museums.
The theme of the “Baltica” festival in 2022 is “PLAY” and its motto is “Come and Play!”. Since 1987, the festival is taking place in one of the three Baltic countries, jointly organized by governmental and municipal institutions and non-governmental organizations. This year, the festival is organized by the Latvian National Centre for Culture in cooperation with the Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum, Turaida Museum Reserve, the municipality of the Sigulda region, the municipality of the Talsi region, the municipality of the Ventspils region, and Ventspils Culture Centre.