The 11th Youth Song & Dance Festival livens up the capital

The Eleventh Latvian Youth Song and Dance Festival starts today, and some 50 events will be held between July 6 and 12 in Riga. The festival, held since 1960 is an alternative to the adults' Song and Dance festival and offers a spectacular sensory experience with concerts held by thousands upon thousands of singers and dancers from Latvia and abroad. This year some 37,000 young people will partake in the festival. Although tickets are scarce, many events will be shown on Latvian Television, available worldwide with streaming from the LTV website.

Although most of the participants are arriving only Tuesday, Monday is marked by a number of memorial services and, at 14:00, the official 'chanting in' of the festival in Viesturdārzs where the first Song and Dance Festival was held.

A number of well-known local acts have been recruited to the cause of the festival, such as Goran Gora, who will participate in the Viesturdārzs opening conert, and Instrumenti, who composed music for the "Here we @re" concert (more on that below).

Of particular interest today are the evening concerts - at 16:00 folk dancers will tap their feet at the Daile theater and at 17:00 a huge dance festival be held in Ķīpsala, where the dancers will show off their newest tablets and smartphones in the modern-minded "Here we @re" dance concert.

But at 19:00 symphonic and chamber orchestras will take the stage at Lielā Ģilde, playing classical music, contemporary composers and new takes on folk songs.

Of particular interest to the passerby will be the choir battles, held every evening except Thursday by radio Pieci.lv at Stacijas Laukums (by the central train station), where choirs will duke it out, performing a song from popular music, a song from the festival repertoire and a song that'll be picked on the spot.

The main events will be held at the Mežaparks open-air stage, culminating in the closing concert held Sunday at 19:00.

See the festival program here (Latvian only), and remember that you'll be able to watch the main events on Latvian Television too.

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