Yearly Summer Events in Riga
Whilst being in Riga, I have been lucky enough to witness some of the incredible events and celebrations that occur every summer in Riga. My favourite so far has been the ‘Song and Dance Festival’ in July. In this article, I will showcase some of the most famous events and festivals that occur annually so you can perhaps plan your trip to Riga according to the entertainment that is on offer.
Riga Opera Festival
This musical event takes place for two weeks in June. As the name suggests, you can expect to witness world-class opera talent from around the world. Since 2022, the festival has also welcomed ballet performers. This year, festivalgoers were able to see Francesco Cilea’s opera Adriana Lecouvreur and George Balanchine’s ballet Serenade as well as a performance for all at the Open-Air Concert Hall MĪTAVA. If you are a fan of timeless masterpieces that have stood the test of time, this festival is simply unmissable. Furthermore, the beauty of opera and ballet is that they are suitable for all interests and ages, therefore defying generation gaps and anyone who sees this festival will have a blast.
Midsummer, known as “Jāņi” in Latvia, is one of the most celebrated and cherished festivals in the country. It typically takes place around June 23rd and marks the summer solstice. Jāņi is deeply rooted in Latvian traditions and has both pagan and Christian elements. On this day, people gather in the countryside, by lakes, or in designated areas to build large bonfires. A pole, often adorned with flowers and leaves, known as the “Jāņi” pole, is also erected. People sing and dance around the bonfires and poles, creating a festive atmosphere. Flower crowns are worn, and dairy products like cheese, butter, and curd are commonly consumed, along with various types of bread. A special Jāņi cheese with caraway seeds is a staple. People also enjoy various seasonal dishes like herring, potatoes, and peas.
Rigas Ritmi was first held in 2001, making it one of the oldest jazz festivals in Latvia. Since then, it has been run annually at the beginning of July. Over the years, it has grown in popularity and stature, attracting jazz enthusiasts and musicians from around the world. The festival showcases a wide range of jazz styles, including traditional jazz, contemporary jazz, fusion, Latin jazz, and more. The program typically features both established jazz legends and emerging talents. The festival has been described to have had a ‘carnival’ like feel due to the vast array of jazz on offer, as well as the incredible atmosphere it produces.
Summer sound is aimed at those who love pop and electronic dance music. It is hosted in July and features a diverse lineup of DJs and electronic music artists. Attendees can expect to enjoy various subgenres of electronic music, including house, techno, trance, and more. Summer Sound attracts both renowned international headliners and emerging talent from the electronic music scene. Past editions have featured popular DJs and artists, including Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, and many others. It is considered one of the biggest festival in Riga and primarily attracts the younger generations.
For film lovers, Future Shorts is held at Kalnciema Kvartals in August. It is a global short film festival and network that showcases short films from around the world. This film festival is held around the world so you may recognise some directors from other countries if you have previously attended. In recent years, the festival has worked with exhibitions, art communities and open-air festivals in response to the increasing demand for film productions, especially pertaining to global issues and current affairs.
This blog was brought to you by Emily Gray, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz in Riga
These images were taken from Pexels