Svētku plakāts pilsētvidē

To commemorate the city's 822nd anniversary, Riga will be hosting a dazzling celebration, opened by the largest drone show in the Baltics on the evening of 18 August at Lucavsala. On 19 August, stages throughout the Old Town will offer an array of concerts, circus and theatre performances for children, a baking competition to find the most delicious cake, courage talks and joke sports games.

“Dear residents and visitors of Riga, it is a great honour to greet you on the week of our great city's 822nd birthday! Let's have a fun celebration that’s a bit different than usual. The traditional fireworks show will be replaced by the largest drone show in the history of the Baltics, telling the story of our city through the ages. Families and friends are invited to celebrate this magnificent event in the Old Town of Riga as well as in the neighbourhoods. May our shared joy and smiles allow Riga to flourish and thrive!” said Laima Geikina, Chair of the Riga City Council Education, Culture and Sports Committee.

The celebration of Riga's birthday on 19 August in the Old Town is one of the central events of the Riga Summer Culture Programme 2023. This year, Riga's birthday is conceptually dedicated to the topic "Courage and Joy", emphasising the importance of contemporary spirit, engagement, civic activism and togetherness. Courage and joy are born on Riga's birthday! One of the main elements of any birthday is giving gifts – a reciprocal process, uniting the joy of giving and the joy of receiving.

The history of Riga, as told by drones

A spectacular 10-minute audio-visual performance featuring 500 drones will tell the story of Riga throughout the ages, emphasising its continuous development. The story accompanying the show is structured as a conversation, involving artificial intelligence as an integral part of technological progress. The show’s concept was co-authored by Roberts Rubīns, Kaspars Eglītis and Reinis Sējāns.

The drone show was produced by Basemotion, a Latvian company highly recognised in the industry which has designed and programmed drone shows for brands and events such as the Super Bowl, Grammy Awards, Pepsi, Avatar, Boeing, Porsche, F1 and many others.

The event will also feature a cultural programme with popular bands. The bands “Dziļi violets”, “Pirmais kurss” and the duo “Bujāns” will perform on the Lucavsala stage, while the host Artūrs Mednis and DJ Magnuss Eriņš will entertain the visitors between performances.

The event in Lucavsala will take place from 18 August 21:00 to 19 August 00.30, with gates opening at 18:00.

In case of bad weather, the event programme is subject to change. Please follow Riga City Council on social media for updates.

A grand celebration in the Old Town on 19 August

The opening of Riga's birthday will take place in Town Hall Square. Transformed into the Square of Courage, here, the journalist Kristīne Garklāva will host courage talks, and Riga will receive greetings from its multinational communities and its twin city Tartu, the European Capital of Culture 2024. At the end of the day, there will be joint singing in Latvian and Ukrainian languages with the choir “Maska”. The Town Hall Square will also host the Parade of the Professions of Courage, featuring chimney sweeps, firefighters, medics, and the State and Municipal Police.

Several concerts will be held in Dome Square, featuring both Latvian artists and international guests. The concert will be opened by the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest winners, the spectacular “Kalush Orchestra” from Ukraine. Afterwards, the festival stage will host performances by popular Latvian bands such as “The Sound Poets” and “Carnival Youth”, and the competition for the most delicious cake will take place.

The cultural programme of the celebration will be brought to a splendid close by the concert performance “Songs of Courage and Joy”, featuring nationally renowned and popular musicians: Miķelis Putniņš, the choir “Maska”, Gustavo, Aija Andrejeva, Ieva Akuratere, Kristīne Pāže, Ilona Bagele, Daumants Kalniņš and Jānis Apeinis.

Various activities for children will be held in the Old Town and the Dome Garden, including creative workshops, theatre performances for all ages, and concerts.

The children’s programme will be opened by the theatre performance Lemonade for children from the age of 3, while the youngest visitors will be able to enjoy the concert “The Baby Hears the Music”. Children aged 4 and up are invited to the play “Turd and Spring”, followed by the performance “Full Load” for youngsters.

Throughout the day, from 14:00 to 20:00, young visitors are invited to join various children's workshops, Processions of Joy and bubble activities at the foot of the Dome Church.

This year, Smilšu Street will transform into a stage for exciting jazz and classical music performances, bringing together both local talents and world-renowned musicians. The stage will host the bands “P.S.PMS” and “M.A.S.A” with musicians Rūdolfs Macats, Kārlis Auziņš, Ivars Arutjunjans and Elīna Silova. The programme also features a concert by the Polish band “Zubek & Pentz Piazzolla Duo”, performances by “Viral Mind”, and the Ukrainian artists Olga Lukachova and the band “Funk Reunion”.

The band “Dāmas un kino”, featuring Inga Šļubovska, Dita Krenberga, Inga Ozola, and Ilze Ozoliņa, will add a colourful note to the programme. The concert programme will also feature the Indian classical music band “Chaturveni”.

A fun and joyful transformation awaits Līvu Square – here, visitors will have the chance to participate in joke sports games, the worst joke competition, play mini-golf, watch circus performances and a concert by the band “Mazais princis”.

In the Old Town, Kristīne Brīniņa's show “Have We Met Before?” will be held at different times in different venues. Several fascinating circus performances featuring artists from Spain, Argentina, Belgium and the Netherlands will also take place during the day.

Neighbourhood festivals on 19 August

On 19 August, the Torņakalns neighbourhood festival will be held in Arkādijas Park. The programme is packed with fun, including performances, concerts, creative workshops, street musicians and discussions on current issues in the neighbourhood. It will also feature a show for families “Miracles Happen” by illusionist Pecolli, while the Āgenskalns-based Dirty Deal Teatro will offer the play “Drama Queen” at the theatre's premises. Free invitations to the performance are available at “Biļešu paradīze” ticket offices.

Younger visitors are invited to the children's play “The House Under the Rainbow”, the children's disco “A Journey in Torņakalns” with Ēriks Balodis, a soap bubble show, the children's puppet show “Have We Met Before?” and a performance by the ceremonial orchestra “Miers un Bērziņš”.

The neighbourhood festival will offer the chance to dance your heart out at the evening concerts with the bands “Oranžās brīvdienas”, “Rahu the Fool” and “Gapoljeri”. Actor Lauris Subatnieks will host the stage and make sure the guests are enjoying themselves.

This weekend, celebrations will also take place in the neighbourhoods of Grīziņkalns and Avotu Street. In Grīziņkalns, various contemporary art performances, guided tours and discussions will be offered to visitors, while the Avotu Street neighbourhood will host concerts, a local crafts and home producers market, guests will have the opportunity to climb the tower of St Paul's Church, take part in competitions and activities, and talk to members of the Riga City Council.

2nd Nordeķi Congress in Iļģuciems on 19 August

On 19 August, all are welcome to join the 2nd Nordeķi Congress at Nordeķi Park. The Congress will host discussions with representatives of the local government and neighbourhood associations and experts on issues relevant to the neighbourhood and Pārdaugava, as well as Inta Ruka's photography exhibition “Pārdaugava” and a dance class with acrobatic elements. Little ones will be welcomed in the art and movement workshop in Nordeķi Park.

In the afternoon, visitors are invited to join a literary walk around Nordeķi Park, while later in the evening, the festivities will be closed by an open-air dance featuring the ecological music orchestra “Ducele”.

All events organised by the Riga City Council for the Riga Summer and Riga Birthday Culture Programme can be found on the website, and followed on the social network page “What’s on in Riga”. All events are free to attend.

Information was prepared by: Sindija Grāvere, Project Coordinator External Communication Division of Riga City Council, e-mail:  

Rīgas dzimšanas dienas preses konference | 16.08.2023.