Riga has dressed itself up for the upcoming festivities, and, with a broad programme of midsummer night introductory events, each resident of the capital is invited to enjoy the festive atmosphere with traditional songs and dances, wreath plaiting and outdoor cinemas in various neighbourhoods of Riga until 22 June.
“The local government of Riga wishes on this year's Midsummer Day: may the whole world bloom! The Celebration of Midsummer's Day in the city will be accompanied by flowers and greenery – at the Mežaparks Green Theatre, Dzegužkalns and Grīziņkalns, with the traditional Herb Market entertaining the local residents beforehand. At the same time, a number of the midsummer night introductory events, urban decoration and many other surprises in the squares of the city, meadows and parks will create atmosphere of blooming celebration in the city, some of which have already begun. Furthermore, the magic of celebration will not disappear any time soon in Riga, because, right after the Midsummer Day, activities related to the Nationwide Latvian Song and XVII Dance Festival will begin in the city”, says Mr Mārtiņš Staķis, Mayor of Riga.
During the period of this solstice, Riga will flourish, and the urban environment will be covered with meadow flowers. On the Midsummer Day, the wreath is one of the most important elements – a symbol of protection, sun and strength – therefore, with the help of stands in the urban environment, the city will be symbolically plaited in a blooming circle of protection. City flag designs will be decorated with solar elements.
On 15 June, the introductory events of the celebration at the Aristīds Yard will be launched by the folklore groups “Grodi”, “Garataka”, “Vilkači”, and post-folklore band “Rikši”. Meanwhile, in the cultural space “Strops”, at the Riga Central Library’s garden of the Čiekurkalns Branch Library folk music group “Teikas muzikanti” and the vocal group “Fortūna” will perform.
On 17 June, revellers will be welcome in the cultural space “Strops”, at the Pāvuls Jurjāns Music School outdoor venue. During the event, wrath plaiting workshop with the folklore band “Zari” will be organised. On the same day, at the Dirty Deal Teatro electronic music night “Līgõ”, the summer solstice will be launched by the band “NeiUm”, Oskars Upenieks, Platons Buravickis, DJ with Finno-Ugric ethno-electro music.
Just for one day, the central garden of Riga – Vērmane park – will turn into the Līgo Garden, where various activities will be organised on 19 June. Learning various methods of wrath plaiting will be available, as well as midsummer celebration songs, games and dances, birch besom (broom) making, guess the magic midsummer herbs, making a torch for the shortest night of the year, and getting familiarised with the basic principles of Livian cuisine. Folklore groups of the Culture and Popular Arts Centre “Ritums” and other specialists of the field will be at the activity areas. At the end of the evening, concert of Katrīna Dimanta and Laima Dimanta will take place at the Vērmane Garden outdoor venue.
Also, on 19 June, everybody is invited to a concert at the event “Come, Midsummer's Day” in the garden of the Cultural Centre “Mazā ģilde”, where the choirs “Ausma”, “Sonore”, youth choir “Balsis”, women's folklore group “Vilcenes”, and kokle player band “Kokļu klubs” will perform.
A day later, on 20 June, in Doma Square, during the great folk dance concert “Midsummer Vitalities”, the mystery of the longest day of the year will be danced by the following dance bands: TDA “Līgo”, VPDK “Līgo” and “Sen Līgo”, DA “Daiļrade”, and middle generation dancers of the DA “Daiļrade”, as well as the VPDK “Daiļrade”, children’s TDA “Dzintariņš” and the folk dance band “Līgo absolventi” will perform in the concert. Elsewhere, in the park of the cultural castle “Ziemeļblāzma”, in the event called “Midsummer's Day Came Proudly!”, every participant is invited to the concert including performances of the youth TAD “Pērkons” and the traditional singing group “Burdons”.
On the summer solstice, in the evening of 21 June, in the cultural space “Strops” on Lucavsala, cult film “Limousine in the Colour of Midsummer Night” will be shown in an outdoor screening. Additionally, folklore group “Putni” will perform in the cultural space “Strops”, at Pļavnieki Green Birch Grove. On the same day, everybody will be welcome to the midsummer night introductory events “Beat, Little Jānis, Copper Drums” at the Cultural Centre “Imanta” to engage in activities together with “Lielās koka spēles” and watch the concert including performances of ethno company “Zeidi”, dance groups “Imantieši”, “Mazais Andžiņš” and “Artava”.
Traditionally, on 22 June, in Doma Square, residents of Riga and visitors of the city will be invited to attend the “Herb Market”. Products made by Latvian farmers will be offered for sale in Doma Square, oak leaf and flower wreaths and midsummer herbs from aromatic summer meadows which give a special atmosphere to the Herb Market.
The programme of the midsummer night introductory events will come to an end on 22 June, before the Midsummer Night, with introductory events of the cultural space “Strops” at Ķengarags, in the territory of the Latgale Suburb Music and Art School, and the concert of the youth folklore group “Banga”.
On the Midsummer Night, 23 June, from 20:00, residents of Riga and visitors of the city are invited to three venues of celebration: Mežaparks Green Theatre, event “Riga open-air dance party”, where a number of popular musicians will perform: Marts Kristiāns Kalniņš, bands “Citi zēni” and “Jauno Jāņu orķestris”, Ivo Fomins, and the band “Apvedceļš”. Also, at the event “Līgo Riga at Grīziņkalns!”, the celebratory atmosphere will keep going with music by the musical society “Raxtu Raxti”, popular music band “Teikas muzikanti”, as well as folklore groups and a special DJ programme for this day to be played at the Riga ethno party. Meanwhile, in Dzegužkalns, just like every year, all the revellers willing to celebrate in a traditional mood are invited – with midsummer night activities, performances from the post-folklore band “Iļģi”, games together with the Riga Dance Club, the ritual lighting of the Midsummer Night fire, the dispelling of darkness with the rhythms of the musical society “Rahu the Fool” and the merry welcoming the sun together with the folk-rock group “Laimas Muzykanti”.
The events are organised by the Riga local government in cooperation with the cultural centres and societies. All the summer cultural events in Riga, organised by the local government, are available on the website 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: email@example.com