July is festival month in Latvia!

July is high summer in more ways than one in Latvia. As well as the pleasure of warm weather there is a dazzling diversity of festivals to choose from with the biggest and best listed below. 

Rīgas ritmi (Riga's rhythms)

From July 2 to 6 the Latvian capital will vibrate to the sounds of jazz and world music in the acclaimed Rīgas ritmi festival. The main events of the festival will take place at the Riga Congress Hall including performances by the three-continent union of musicians "Freedoms Trio", the prestigious Grammy prize holder from New Orleans Jon Cleary, amazing young talent and the winner of prestigious Thelonious Monk contest Jamison Ross, stellar powervocalist Judith Hill, French Flamenco artist Paloma Pradal, the new pride of Swedish music Jonah Nilsson, 19 year old piano supertalent from China and winner of this year's international young jazz artist contest "Riga Jazz Stage" A Bu and Chinese world jazz megaproject "Tianchang Band".

 

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Uz dziesmotā viļņa (On the wave of songs)

Reņķa Gardens in the port city of Ventspils is the venue on July 6 for a festival of music in the schlager style (though the Latvian definition of the term is rather broad, including a great deal of easy listening and middle-of-the-road music). More than 30 different singers and groups will be performing popular songs with Andris Baltacis, Jānis Moisejs, Liene Šomase and the groups Klaidonis and Dakota on the bill.

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Senās mūzikas festivāls (Early music festival)

From 10 to 13 July a cycle of baroque and early classical period music takes place at various venues in Rīga plus the spectacular surroundings of Rundāle palace in the south of the country. The International Early Music Festival describes itself as Describing itself as "the most charming, posh and smartest cultural event in Latvia." The program includes works by Handel and Vivaldi with the always brilliant Sergejs Jēgers among the performers.

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Ogle (Coal)

From 12th to 13th of July the festival “Ogle” will take place in Viesitė. As well as providing musical enjoyment its purpose is to draw the attention of visitors to mental health problems, which can sometimes make people take the fatal step of suicide. Along with various discussions on mental health issues there will be performances from bands including Singapore Satin, Double Faced Eels and Franco Franco.

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Kartupeļu palma (Potato palm)

On July 13 Salaspils Botanical Gardens are the unusual venue for the second music festival curated by music journalist Uldis Rudaks. Two stages will host alternative and indie acts including Voiceks Voiska, Martas asinis, Fuck Art, Nikto, Sigma, Evija Vēbere and Helēna Kozlovska.

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Ghetto Games hiphopa festivāls (Ghetto Games hiphop festival)

12 and 13 July sees the Ghetto Games bandwagon rolling into Ventspils for urban and extreme sport activities to a hophop soundtrack. Legendary Latvian rapper Ozols tops the bill, along with Edavārdi, Fakts and the brilliant Viņa.

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Country Bauska 2019

Dig out your stetson and prepare to get western. This long-established country music festival will have you thinking the wide open spaces of Bauska might well be located deep in the heart of Texas. As well as country there will be other traditional forms of American music such as blues and folk. Foreign guests include Cousin Hatfield from the Netherlands and Albert Lee from the US of A, but in our view the highlight has to be the prospect of a Hank Williams tribute from Lithuania.

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Tinte (Ink)

This event has grown from being the birthday party of Valmiera bar “Tinte” into a fully-fledged festival to be held on 13 July in Valmiermuiža, on the outskirts of Valmiera. A family-friendly day-long program includes numerous attractions and activities plus performance by Very Cool People with Kristīne Prauliņa, Intars Busulis, Carnival Youth, Double Faced Eels and Triana Park.

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Fono Cēsis

It is now a firmly established tradition that the annual Cēsis city festival features a music festival courtesy of the bar and club Fonoklubs . This year's line-up on 19 and 20 July will see The Sound Poets, Laika suns, Haralds Sīmanis and Franco Franco all taking the stage.

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Saulkrasti Jazz Festival

July 15 to 20 are the dates for the diary for all jazz fans out there. The seaside resort of Saulkrasti is perfect for the relaxed vibe of this international jazz event which started in 1997 with this year's line-up including several visitors from the USA in the form of Ciel Experience and Polish star Kinga Glika.

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Laima Rendezvous Jūrmala

Latvian singing legend Laima Vaikule oversees this music festival in Jūrmala from July 18-21 which this year features Grigorijs Ļepss, Sergejs Lazarevs, Valērijs Meladze, Lauris Reiniks, Intars Busulis, Sirusho, Jānis Stībelis and others.

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Jūrmalas festivāls

From 22 to 28 July the historic Dzintari concert hall is the venue for this gala-style classical music festival. There are some big names on the bill including Aleksandr Antoņenko, Kristīne Balanas, and various members of the Osokins family. An unusual event will open the festival, a “Sunrise concert” at Dzintari Beach at 4.00 am, while the world famous Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna performs organ music while the sun rises - so let's hope for a clear morning.

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Positivus festivāls

Now a huge international event, Positivus is a festival on a grand scale. This year's event takes place 26 and 27 July at Salacgriva and attracts pop and rock music lovers from far and wide. Headlining this year are British bands The 1975 and  Underworld. This year's Positivus will also be notable for including many dance performances too.

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Komēta

A wide-ranging music and arts festival located in the former Daugavgrīva fortress in Bolderāja, Komēta is enjoyably eclectic and surprising, describing itself as "a cosmic culture festival which shows that music, art and humans coexist in harmony with one another and Mother Earth." There will be live music from various corners of the Earth, DJ sets, contemporary circus, cinema, workshops, lectures, exhibitions and performances.

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Saldus saule (Saldus sun)

staking a claim to be Latvia's oldest rock music festival, Saldus saule is certainly one of the friendliest and well worth the journey to the small town of Saldus in the south of the country. This year's event will take place on 26 and 27 July with a strong bill containing Dzelzs Vilks, Carnival Youth, Ivo Fomins and Pērkons among others.

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