Rīgas drosmes un prieka vasara

The Riga Summer of Courage and Joy cultural programme in July and August will entertain Riga's residents and visitors with a variety of events–concerts, creative and art workshops and open air dance party for dancing. Already this week, the parks' cultural programme will be presented, and in a week's time the first neighbourhood festival in Ķengarags will take place, while in August, Riga's birthday will be widely celebrated. 

Līna Birzaka-Priekule, Creative Producer of Riga Summer of Courage and Joy, from the association "Art Bureau", emphasises: "Riga's Summer of Courage and Joy programme is organised in such a way that cultural events are accessible all over the city, that they have a personal scale and are oriented towards creating a sense of belonging to one's neighbourhood. Contemporary cultural events both highlight the history of a neighbourhood and create its identity. This is a reason to go out, meet your neighbours, listen to the concerts, participate, learn and enjoy – "Courage and joy are created wherever we meet!""

This year, Riga's Summer of Courage and Joy highlights the uniqueness of each neighbourhood. The graphic design of the cultural programme symbolically incorporates the characteristic signs of each neighbourhood, such as the former Zolitūde Hippodrome, Čiekurkalns water tower, Torņakalns railway bridges, Daugavgrīva Love Island or the spring blue flowers of the Brasa Great Cemetery. Riga celebrates the history and culture of each of these places. The neighbourhood symbols have been selected in cooperation with the Neighbourhood Residents' Centres and Neighbourhood Associations, and they have been designed by artist Valters Kalsers. Chairs and hammocks created by artist Miķelis Mūrnieks are also placed in Nordeķi Park, Esplanāde and Torņakalns, giving neighbourhood residents the opportunity to meet and spend time together in Riga's parks.

Happy Moments Park programme

This will be the second summer that Vērmanes Garden will be transformed into the Happy Moments Park as part of the Riga Summer cultural programme, which will be filled with music, joy and dancing every Thursday evening starting from 13 July. This summer's concert season will be officially opened by the Raitis Ašmanis Big Band. Kristīne Prauliņa and Daumants Kalniņš will join the Big Band as soloists. The concert will feature popular and well-known songs such as "Fly me to the moon", "Moon river", "New York", "What a wonderful world", "My way", as well as songs and compositions by maestro Raimonds Pauls. 

On 15 July, the Happy Moments Park programme in Nordeķi Park will be opened by Inta Ruka's photo exhibition "Pārdaugava", in which she has captured the residents of Iļģuciems and Āgenskalns neighbourhoods. The opening will feature a discussion with the photographer and the local people she has portrayed. During the day, a workshop for young photographers will take place with the aim of capturing the neighbourhood and its residents in the present day. It will be organised by artist Vika Eksta. In addition, there will be informal discussions to get to know local "everyday experts", as well as art workshops and sports activities for children and the young. In the evening, Polish harpsichordist Staņislavs Lopušanskis will perform the repertoire of works by Couperin, Scarlatti and Bach. The artist offers the concert as part of his initiative in support of Ukraine after Russia's brutal invasion in its territory. This will be followed by a performance by Simona Orinska and BUTŌ Lab. The evening will close with a concert by Jēkabs Nīmanis and the Jacob Noiman Festival band.

10 neighbourhood festivals 

This year's Neighbourhood festivals will be even bigger than last year, with festive songs and activities taking place in 10 neighbourhoods: Ķengarags, Čiekurkalns, Zolitūde, Dreiliņkalns, Ziepniekkalns, Jugla, Torņakalns, Centrs, as well as in the vicinity of Daugavgrīva and Bolderāja, Brasa and Vecāķi. 

The first Neighbourhood festival will take place on 22 July in Ķengarags Park, where everyone is invited to experience an exciting day of creative workshops, to visit the "quarter" of neighbourhood associations and businesses, to explore the neighbourhood in the "educational quarter" and to enjoy a variety of concerts and theatre performances throughout the day. The concert programme will be enriched by the band "Dzelzs vilks" and musician Žoržs Siksna and his accompanying band. Neighbourhood Festivals will take place in the capital until 26 August. 

Riga’s birthday celebrations

This year, Riga's birthday celebrations will take place in the Old Town on 19 August. It is planned that the festivities will be opened on the 18 August evening with an event and drone show in Lucavsala, which will be open to the public. On the festival day, everyone is invited to enjoy a varied and contemporary cultural programme in the Old Town. The programme offers performances by local and international artists, as well as workshops for children and families. Contemporary scenographic solutions and picnic areas will help to create a festive mood, and the festival will end with a newly created musical programme dedicated to the main motto of Riga's Summer of Courage and Joy "Courage and joy are created wherever we meet!".

Since June, the summer cultural programme has been actively complemented by seven cultural venues "Hives", located in the Green Grove of Pļavnieki, in the beach reading room of the Riga Central Library in Lucavsala, in the courtyard of the Riga Central Library Čiekurkalns branch library, on the stage of Pāvuls Jurjāns Music School in Āgenskalns, in the garden of the Latgale Suburbs Music and Art School, in the yard of the Bolderāja Music and Art School, and in the park of the Dauderi of the Latvian National History Museum in Sarkandaugava. "Hive" programmes include concerts, lectures and various workshops. The Riga Summer cultural programme also includes a number of contemporary cultural events organised by Riga NGOs. These events will take place in Riga's streets, parks and squares until the end of summer on 31 August.

All the summer cultural events in Riga, organised by the local government, are available on the website https://vasara.riga.lv/, and followed on the social network page “What’s on in Riga”.

Information was prepared by: Sindija Grāvere, Project Coordinator External Communication Division of Riga City Council, e-mail: sindija.gravere@riga.lv