Over 9,000 flock to LAMPA conversation festival

The LAMPA conversation festival this year attracted thrice as many visitors, with 9,000 flocking to the Cēsis Castle Park to exchange views on democracy and watch politicians get roasted with humor and arguments, the organizers told the press Tuesday. 

The festival culminated with high-standing politicians being roasted on the main stage, where MPs Mārtiņš Bondars, Ilze Viņķele, Imants Parādnieks, alongside Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, were subjected to questioning and good-natured fun by Latvia's funniest comedians acting as roastmasters. Organizers thank the politicians for their courage.

The discussion on Donald Trump, with Buzzfeed's editor-in-chief Ben Smith present, pulled a large crowd as well. 

"As organizers, we're pleased that LAMPA is becoming a place for meeting, exchanging opinions and for mutual understanding between people with different views, political stances and expectations from society," said Ieva Morica, organizer of the festival.

"Here, united by a thirst for knowledge, Russians and Latvians, liberals and nationals, patriots and former refugees from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan all argued and accepted one another's views, breaking down the barriers between the concept of 'one of our own' and 'the other'," she said.

The festival featured 150 events in a variety of formats and centering on different topics and passed July 1 and 2 at the Cēsis Castle Park. A total of 80 organizations participated with the goal of strengthening democracy, and culture of discussion and disputes in Latvia. 

Next year's LAMPA will take place from June 30 to July 1.

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