9th Positivus festival kicks off Friday

Held from July 17 to July 19, Positivus, the largest music festival in the Baltics, will bring about 30,000 people to the sandy coastal town of Salacgrīva. Some 150 performances by over 1000 participants will be held this weekend from artists - as you can find out on the festival website.

Although music is the name of the game, literature, cinema, drama and dance will be represented there too, and those with smartphones can also download the Positivus apps, available for iPhones and Android phones alike.

The festival started 9 summers ago, attracting 15,000 visitors in the first year. The number has since soared to 30,000, which, as one of the organizers Ģirts Majors told Latvian Television, is the optimal number for the location - and the atmosphere of the festival would suffer if it were to become gigantic. 

Positivus is the largest event of the summer in the Baltics. And not just for Latvians - last year, about 9,000 foreigners visited the festival, of which 6,000 came from Finland and strategically placed Estonia, the border of which lies just 15 kilometers away from Salacgrīva.

Not everyone was, so to say, too positive about the festival back when it started. For example, the municipality discussed whether to cancel the event after the first festival was held, as local officials voiced concerns over Positivus taking over the town.

However, it seems now that the municipality has embraced it, as plans were announced for building a star alley that commemorates the artists who have performed at Positivus. The alley will be opened by the Salaca river in Salacgrīva next year. 

Dagnis Straubergs, the chairman of the Salacgrīva regional municipality, said that the festival is a good reason why some companies want to be in Salacgrīva and offer their services during the festival. It also brings a lot of monies to the state budget, as about 4 mln euros are spent during the festival.

Among others, artists that have attended the festival include The xx, Moby, Kraftwerk and Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. 

As it will be a large event -- though the Youth Song and Dance Festival had more participants than there are attendees in Positivus -- both Latvian and Estonian police will be present. They have already issued some warnings, including information about traffic jams

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