Music festivals: what to hear in Latvia this summer

Some already lament the looming end of the summer and fear it'll indeed end with the proverbial whimper. However, the best days are only ahead for those visiting Latvia. The two remaining summer months hold a lot of allure to music lovers of all tastes. 

Listen to jazz in the concrete polis of Rīga, catch the sun on the beach by the fragrant pine trees or go somewhere far away from all the noise.

For those planning to visit Latvia this summer, we've put up a list, in no particular order, of five distinct music festivals taking place during the two remaining summer months.

Rīgas Ritmi (The rhythms of Riga)

Rīgas Ritmi is an annual jazz and improvisational music festival that culminates in July but has sessions in the winter and spring season as well. The festival is a well-attended and much awaited occurrence as broad and inclusive as the music styles it represents. It has hosted more than 500 concerts and as many artists since its inception in 2001.

The festival combines concerts with workshops for aspiring and professional musicians, offering musical education along with superb acoustic delights.

This year, local talents and artists like Ramón Valle, Cyrille Aimée, Bugge N Friends, Ester Rada, and many others will take the stage in various locations throughout the capital.

July 1 - July 5. Info & tickets.

Positivus festival

Positivus is, of course, 'the' event of the summer in the Baltics, likely overshadowing Latvia's EU presidency in terms of popularity. The craziest parties, numerous drug busts, and the most popular artists in the world near the small town of Salacgrīva by the sea. It's a very inclusive festival, featuring contemporary rock, rap, electronica, and more.

Positivus is as much about enjoying music as enjoying life and having, well, a positive attitude towards it. Watch movies (with subtitles!), take a walk by the sea or nap in a hammock by the pines if you please. Much to do and much to see, much good to spread and to receive.

Artists like Kasabian, Placebo, Robert Plant, St. Vincent, Basement Jaxx and many more will perform for the largest crowd in the Baltics this year. Everyone stays positive in Salacgrīva from July 17 to July 19. 

Find out more on the official website. 

Ezera Skaņas (Sounds of the lake)

Boats gliding over the reflection of the moon in the middle of the lake. Ethereal sounds, so charming and soothing yet so sad. A pristine moment to accompany you for the remainder of your days.

Well, that's one way to describe the Ezera Skaņas festival, which combines boat riding with music played on the very surface on a distant lake. It will transpire on August 22 at 5 AM on the beautiful Kāls lake some 150 kilometers from Rīga.

Tickets are available here - choose a harbor, one of the three 'osta', and press the green button. They are only necessary for parking and a tent spot, and a place for your boat in the harbor. You might want to contact the organizers about boat rentals, of which there are some on lake Kāls.

LABADABA (Good nature)

This year there'll be a wedding! A Latvian couple have set out to say their marriage vows in the green and relaxed gathering that is LABADABA.

According to the organizers, LABADABA is "a summer festival which is always characterized by a welcoming attitude towards people, events and nature". Sounds like a hippie gathering, which it is, but it's also much more. Taking place in Ratinieki near Sigulda, LABADABA sports endless fun even before the actual festival as finding the place is pretty difficult.

Defining the festival is no less hard, as electronica, rock, SKA and punk are all equally well represented, so perhaps you could call it 'alternative'.

This year everyone is looking forward to The Fall's performance, but a number of talented local and international artists will make sure that your time is well spent, as will the friendly, laid-back crowd. 

July 31 - August 2, 2015. Info & tickets

Country Bauska 2015

The popularity of line dancing proves that Latvia has become a flourishing democracy, as it's hard to imagine a more democratic sport than that. And if you're one for cowboy hats and cowhide boots too, there's definitely something for you in this festival.

Country Bauska takes place on the outskirts of the lovely city of Bauska. It features international acts such as T.Graham Brown, Crooks & Straights, Ukus In Fabula, and many local acts. 

July 3 - July 4. Info & tickets

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