Farewell to winter: Weekend events guide

Take note – story published 9 years ago

For our readers seeking some going-out options this weekend, the culture editors at LSM have compiled a list of events to choose from, whether you're still hankering for some winter fun or already set for spring. Head to the hills of Vidzeme to catch the last chills of winter, check out a new theatrical version of Paradise in Liepāja, or sway to the sounds of a single acoustic guitar by just staying in Old Town Riga.

The Great Gaiziņš Festival

Latvia’s highest hill, Gaiziņkalns, is hosting a final farewell to winter, even as the weekend promises to be the most spring-like yet this year. Madona town councilmembers this sunny Thursday were still full of optimism that the WINTERFEST SHALL BE, because the northern slope of Gaiziņš and the ski runs are still holding on to their snow covers, and besides there’s plenty of spring-time activity planned so the lack of snow won’t be a disappointment.

The festival kicks off Saturday at 10:00 am with events lasting all day long throughout the hill’s privately-owned parkland territory.  A specially chartered diesel train will provide transportation from Riga to Madona, leaving the Central Station at 7:40. A shuttle bus between the Madona railway station and Gaiziņkalns will run back and forth during the day.

The festival at Gaiziņkalns was inaugurated at the beginning of the 1980’s and in its heyday gathered thousands of attendees from all corners of the country. So this year the organizers decided to renew the tradition and make it into one of the biggest winter entertainment events in the Baltic states.

One of Saturday’s central events at the recreation center Gaiziņš is the non-traditional vehicle race. Enthusiasts of motorized aggregates will have plenty to see and do – quadracycles will compete on an off-road track in an especially challenging rocky terrain.

Meanwhile the recreation center Dāmu paradīze will host freestyle skiing showcases, while for the kids a bunch of winter fun activities like sledding and snowman building will be available.

The festival will close with a concert by Latvia’s punky folk-rockers Dzelzs vilks and Latvian-Canadian electrorock duo Astra the 22s, with fireworks and some impromptu drama from Riga’s improvisational theatre actors.

Sigulda: More, more, more…

Starting Friday, Sigulda is beckoning with the slogan: More sports. More arts. More fun. At 19:00 on the roof of the Sigulda District Cultural Center there will be a musical performance by local synth wizard Kaspars Tobiss, while inside there will be a screening of Sandijs Semjonovs’ new documentary about the Riga Dinamo hockey team and a meeting with hockey legend Sandis Ozoliņš, as well as an international exhibit of dolls titled “Winter dreams.”

On Saturday from noon until 19:00 the Sigulda Bobsled and Luge track will host the CAT Shovel Race Superfinal, featuring a bobsleigh championship, sledding races between Saeima factions, autograph sessions with Olympic athletes, and fun for the kids and adults alike with DJ Toms Grēviņš and the band Neon Saturdays.

Continuing on Sunday, the railway station square will host a skating event for residents and visitors of Sigulda while a gigantic wooden sculpture in honor of poet Rainis will rise from the imaginations of eight different artists. At 14:00 the band Triānas Parks will play to the festival market fair, while later at the Baltais flīģelis concert hall the Jakob Noiman Festival Band will play its mix of jazz melodies with Hebrew and Balkan folk music.

Katy Perry

Sunday night at Arēna Rīga US superstar Katy Perry will be bringing her Prismatic World Tour to Latvia. Doors open at 18:00, warmup act Charli XCX goes on at 19:30, and the headliner at 20:30. Katy Perry’s third album “Prism” was released in 2013 and became a million seller, helping land her a Super Bowl halftime show last month broadcast to more than 100 million people.

Concert travelers

Guitar virtuoso Ottmar Liebert brings his nylon-stringed solo show to Rīga Friday night at the Great Guild hall to launch his European tour. Boasting 38 gold and platinum records in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, plus 5 Grammy nominations, Liebert has worked with such stars as Carlos Santana, Celine Dion and Diana Ross. In the 1990’s he founded the group Luna Negra to originate a new style of flamenco music.

For those more inclined to hear a full band perform Latvian folk music and the works of composer Imants Kalniņš, his son Marts Kristians and colleagues from the band Raxtu raxti launch their spring tour in Jelgava Saturday night at the town culture hall.

Heartthrob male singer Dons continues his tour with three sold-out shows in Liepāja this weekend while female vocalist Aija Andrejeva brings her 10th anniversary tour to Gulbene’s culture hall Saturday.

Meanwhile, mother-figure to Latvia’s bard and singer-songwriter movement – Austra Pumpure and her followers will close the Austra’s Days concert series at the Anglican Church venue in Old Town Rīga Saturday, also sure to be singing classic songs of Imants Kalniņš as well as their own penned numbers, while on Sunday at the wooden architecture restoration center Wooden Riga at 13:00.

Paradise premieres at Liepāja Theatre

For the dramatically oriented, an interesting production is premiering Friday night in Liepāja – Ļubova Gruzinova’s “Seven days in the life of paradise”, which tells the myth of Adam and Eve with a modern twist, being the ‘new’ Adam and Eve introduced to Paradise after God has smitten the first couple out of the Garden of Eden already for having tasted the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Meanwhile on Earth constant war is waging, people have lost their values and respect for one another. Iconoclastic stage director Dž.Dž.Džilindžers will be interpreting this Paradise according to his always provocative visions.

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