It is not planned to withdraw from the School Youth Song and Dance Festival this year, but it is planned in an unconventional format. No specific measures have been decided on yet.
The festival will be organized in such a way as not to endanger health in any way. Pupils will be able to gather for song and dance festivals in municipalities and parishes, where the epidemiological situation will allow them to do so, the minister said. Traditional festival events in Rīga – the march and concerts in Mežaparks – will not take place.
Reinis Znotiņš, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM), explained: "The residents have to understand clearly that the festival of songs will not take place in the sense we imagine. Under no circumstances can the Ministry of Education and Science see the possibility of bringing together the full Mežaparks stage with people."
"The traditional Latvian song festivals started in exactly the same way – from the municipalities. They did not start in Riga. And if we are talking about the beginning of the Song Festival movement, it was in this way that the songs and dances took place in municipalities, parishes, relatively small collective groups," the Minister for Justice Jānis Bordāns said.
There are two main reasons why Song Festival should also be organized in a pandemic environment, both because children need social networking and the need to continue the tradition.
The government will follow carefully until the epidemiological situation develops. The Minister for Justice said that in the second half of the summer, when the festival was planned, the situation could be better and vaccination would also reduce morbidity.
On the other hand, in the Latvian Television program “Today's Question”, Dzintars Mozgis, representative of the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC), pointed out that smaller measures could take place at the morbidity level of 20 ill people per 100 thousand inhabitants. In his opinion, such an indicator would mean that the risk would be low, but given the current figures, it could not be achieved even in the second half of the summer. Currently the figure is at 383 per 100 000.
Initially, XII Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Celebration was scheduled to take place from 6 to 12 July 2020, but due to the spread of Covid-19, it was decided at the end of March last year to postpone the festival for 2021.
As previously reported, the 11th Youth Song and Dance festival was held in 2015. The festival's concerts were attended by some 66,600 people, while altogether events drew about 200,000 visitors to the festival. Some 37,890 young singers and dancers participated in the festival, which serves as a downsized version of the Song and Dance festival (the latter is also held every five years).