Riga glows for five-day festival of light

As dusk turns to dark this Friday evening at 18:00, special installations of light will flicker on as the city’s seventh annual festival of light – Staro Rīga 2014 – ignites across town (switching off at 23:00).

Organizers promise particularly spectacular shows this year to spotlight Riga’s stint as a European Capital of Culture, now nearing its closure, as well as the Republic of Latvia’s 96th Independence Day celebrations next Tuesday, November 18.

Diāna Čivle, festival curator as head of the Riga2014 foundation this year, said the event would be northern Europe’s largest festival of light, with an explicitly international focus this time, as many foreign artists have been invited to participate with visiting installations.

Telecom provider Lattelecom, the festival’s main partner has sponsored a 3D animated light show depicting the Republic of Latvia’s coat-of-arms on the façade of the Cabinet of Ministers building.

At the square adjacent to the Cabinet, Lattelecom is also hosting a WiFi hotspot for residents and visitors to easily share their most memorable shots of the glimmering exhibits set up around the city with their friends online around the world.

Staro Riga 2014 is also being hailed as an attractive lead-up event to Latvia’s looming Presidency of the Council of the EU, with many foreign visitors expected to view the spectacle in the town set to become the site for many more European leadership activities from January until July next year.

Also on the Staro Riga 2014 must-see list is the technically-daunting ‘Circus of Light’ by Portuguese team Ocubo, projected onto the Astor Hotel façade. The object has already participated in various festivals of light elsewhere in the world, most recently Lisbon and Jerusalem, but for the Riga festival, several characters associated with the city have been added – the Black Cat, the Golden Rooster on the steeple of St. Peter’s Church, and another of Riga’s favorite creatures, the Beaver.

The “Circus of Light” will also have a special role for Sigulda, the partner town of Riga as the European Capital of Culture, and the residents of Sigulda.

The “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light will continue for five evenings from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the 14th to 18th of November. The “Staro Rīga” Festival of Light will experience a positive “force majeure” during the European Capital of Culture year, becoming a platform for international and national multimedia light and technology art projects. 2014, the festival also launches the public participation programme “Riga Carnival” for the first time that, with the motto “Light Up Your City!”, urges companies, government and municipal institutions, and residents to create colourful light installations in the windows and on facades of buildings until the 18th of November.

View the full program of light shows and objects on view at staroriga.lv

 

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