Events guide: launching the festival season!

LSM's culture editors have compiled a list of suggestions for finally getting into the festive mood of summer this weekend. Try out some of these recommended events if you're not sure what to make of yourself as we usher in the season of outdoor activities!

Welcome the summer fests!

Latgale’s cultural center Rēzekne is holding its third arts and music festival Seven Hills 2015 Friday and Saturday. The attractions include plenty of contemporary artworks (two of which will transform the facades of local buildings) and various musical performances by regional acts as diverse as endearing Latgalian popsters Dabasu durovys from Daugavpils, Supernova song contest odd contenders Kapļi and Rēzekne’s own heavy metal bard and professor of classic languages Sovvaļnīks. But there’s plenty more to see and hear besides, with guests from Rīga of the feminine persuasion Mntha, Triānas parks and self-proclaimed ‘band of fairies’ Sus Dungo. From still farther away – Lithuanian retro-rockers Garbanotas Bosistas and Indocile from Belgium.

Meanwhile in Riga on Friday and Saturday the hard rock club Melnā Piektdiena is hosting its mini-festival 2DMFEST of new rock ranging between the genres of post-rock, grunge and alternative.

But for something completely different, the Riga Dom will hold a concert by the Sinfonietta Rīga orchestra under the direction of conductor Sigvards Kļava Saturday featuring the signature compositions of classical music superstars Pēteris Vasks (Latvia), Arvo Part (Estonia) and Giya Kancheli (Georgia).

Children’s Day

June 1 is International Children’s Day, so there will be events to mark the occasion all day Saturday and Sunday. In Riga’s left-bank districts on May 30 kids and their parents are welcome at the Kalnciems quarter for the festival “Do it yourself”, featuring experimental workshops and performances by children’s vocal groups and musical theatre groups. Also Rīga’s beach neighborhood of Bolderāja hosts a storytelling festival at the local Children’s and Youth Center, while the Imanta Cultural Center will treat the young ones to a dance and music concert.

Then on Sunday kids and families can head across town to the Ziemeļblāzma Culture Palace and Park in Riga’s northern district for the annual traditional kids’ festival, chock full of major attractions for the minors, including a performance by the clever pop-rapping duo Musiqq.

But, wait, there’s more. Events geared towards the kids are also being held at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum, the Small Guild Hall, culture center ‘Ritums’, the Spīķeri quarter and the Riga Central Market.

Warming up for the Youth Song and Dance Festival

In Kuldīga on Friday at the town culture center there will be a showcase of the local district groups participating in this year’s Youth Song and Dance Festival. Then Saturday the same thing takes place at Valmiera’s open-air venue starting at 17:00, topped off by a dance-party afterwards.

But on Saturday Jelgava is marking the 120th anniversary since the 4th Latvian Song Festival at the Zemgale Olympic Center with more than 2000 mixed and men’s choirs from around the country, plus a cavalcade of ethnic and classical music stars who will perform special programs of songs first sung in 1895, plus some original works making their premiere Saturday.

Big gigs to close one season

For some the season is launched, for others it’s put to rest. The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra closes its season Friday at the Great Guild Hall in Rīga, while the new Vidzeme Concert Hall in Cēsis celebrates its first anniversary with a showcase of Latvian opera talents.

Also worth noting is the pair of concerts at the newly-restored Dzintars indoor concert venue in Jūrmala, where Friday the Kremerata Baltica, violinist Baiba Skride and Ēriks Kiršfelds perform and on Saturday composer Raimonds Pauls and vocal group Framest present a program of his many favorite hits from the 1960s.

Look to nature!

The Botanical Gardens of the University of Latvia has launched its Rhododendron Festival of over a hundred different types of blossoms and fragrances which last only these few short days. But many will come for the blooming and intoxicatingly sweet-smelling lilacs, which the Botanical Gardens features in 55 different species.

The Open-Air Art Museum of Pedvāle will open its 23rd season Saturday with the outdoor sculpture garden’s exhibit of stones, being planted like seeds by the museum’s founder Ojārs Felsbergs (who even shipped a boulder from the landscape of Castagnola in Switzerland to plant in the rolling central Kurzeme landscape).

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