Summer in Latvia is short therefore no day should be wasted. Every sunny weekend from June to August, is of golden value – swimming, sunbathing, camping or gardening. Most of these activities can be combined with a cultural event.
Experienced festival-goers have all their summer weekends booked in advance, because there is a fantastic event somewhere around the country throughout the summer. To let the visitors enjoy both the weather and the culture, most of the summer festivals take place outdoors – on the beach, in a meadow or forest, in parks or medieval castle ruins.
Riga Opera Festival – June 8 – 18, 2017, Rīga
At the closing of the opera season, the Riga Opera Festival offers an overview of the season’s new productions, best bits from previous season’s productions, as well as luxurious Gala concert – a rendezvous with beloved local and international opera stars. This year, the festival is titled Viva romantica, paying tribute to the romantic opera.
Summertime – Inessa Galante invites. June 9 – 13, 2017, Jūrmala
The resort town of Jūrmala once again becomes the stage for the annual summer festival by the Latvian opera diva, Inessa Galante, gathering together diva’s musician friends from around the globe in her home town. This year’s opening concert is devoted to love duets, revealing depths of its emotional spectrum – tenderness, passion and playful coquetry will be present in performances by Latvian and international stars. Inessa Galante’s fans will enjoy her singing in duets with the internationally recognized bass-baritone Egils Siliņš and the bright baroque countertenor Sergejs Jēgers. An integral part of this musical feast is the Festival orchestra, in which the best musicians of Latvia are brought together, performing in the unique Dzintari Concert Hall.
Rīgas Ritmi Festival – June 28-July 1, 2017
Rīgas Ritmi Festival is one of the most beloved jazz events in the Baltic region. The festival’s stages at different locations in Riga feature both world-famous and award-winning, as well as young and undiscovered musical talents. The festival idea by founding father of the festival, jazz musician and producer Māris Briežkalns, is that Riga deserves its own international contemporary jazz and improvisation music festival. Today, Rigas Ritmi Festival is a real musical celebration with performances of outstanding artists like Bobby McFerrin, Diane Reeves, “Take 6”, Richard Bona, “BBC Big Band”, Freddy Cole, “The Yellowjackets”, Victor Wooten, Jojo Mayer, Medeski Martin & Wood and many others, as well as the greatest Latvian musicians, and new talents.
The LAMPA conversation festival – June 30 – July 1, 2017, Cēsis
Being the people of the North, Latvians are not very talkative, especially about the things that matter. Therefore, LAMPA invites people to engage in conversations that lead to understanding, diversity and its acceptance. It is a platform for everyone who is ready to engage into vigorous and enthralling conversations about Latvia and the world. The LAMPA idea was hatched and nurtured by the Foundation for an Open Society DOTS, Swedbank and the sustainable change agency SPARK from Denmark. It was inspired by similar democracy festivals in Denmark, Sweden and Estonia . The LAMPA conversation festival home is the Cēsis castle park. Entrance to the festival is free of charge.
The International Early Music Festival – July 6 – 8, 2017, Rīga & Rundāle
Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy medieval and baroque music at one of the most charming cultural events this summer! During the festival, the churches and concert halls of Riga and the Rundāle Palace host performances and concerts at luxurious locations. The Rundāle Palace, also known as the Versailles of Latvia, offers unforgettable experience and atmosphere. At the festival’s concerts, the masterpieces by Percel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Gluck, Handel and other Baroque masters are revived – in the historical settings, with gorgeous period attire and authentic musical instruments. Smf.lv
Zobens & Lemess – July 7-8, 2017, in Lone, Viesīte municipality.
Translating as “Sword & Ploughshare”, this folk / pagan / metal open-air festival is gaining popularity not just at home, but far beyond the borders of Latvia. Line-up of over 20 bands, workshops of ancient art, fire sculptures, clubs of historical reconstructions, knight battles and medieval games is what attracts visitors to this festival, taking place as close to the nature as possible – in a meadow on the Zemgale plains. Let the pagan spirit rule!
Positivus – July 14 – 16, 2017, Salacgrīva
Excellent music, good company, fresh pine-forest air and sunset by the sea in Salacgrīva, just 110 km from the capital Rīga – Positivus is the ultimate summer experience for the festival crowd in Latvia. Started as a small summer music weekend for friends and friends of friends in 2007, Positivus has grown into the biggest music festival in the Baltics. During the 10 years, artists like Muse, Scissor Sisters, Fatboy Slim, Ellie Goulding, Timo Maas, Moby, Sigur Ros, Kraftwerk, Placebo have performed on its stages, and many of them keep coming back for the positive vibe, plentiful entertainment options and lively atmosphere. Electronic dance music is a significant part of the festival with prominent DJs from around the world. The idyllic location and beautiful coastal region are praised both by the festival visitors as well as the performing artists.
Saulkrasti Jazz – July 17 – 22, 2017, Saulkrasti
The open-air Saulkrasti Jazz Festival’s focus has always been on educating the young jazz musicians. This year, the festival’s Baltic Drummers’ League competition will show who is the best new drummer in the Baltics, as well as offer masterclasses with experienced jazz musicians from around the world, including musicians of the Polish fusion band, Walk Away. The opening concert is going to be particularly special – for the first time, jazz music graduates of all three Baltic music academies will perform on one stage the same evening. And it all – in the beautiful beach town Saulkrasti.
Dabas koncertzāle / the Nature Concerthall – July 17 and July 30, 2017
Are you interested to learn something new about certain species and their habitat, combining education with leisure and cultural experience? If so, the Nature Concerthall is a festival for you – it offers symbiosis of nature, music, science, visual art and poetry. Each year a specific species is selected as the year’s hero through which the event is created, with interactive workstations, discussion between poets and scientists on stage to capture main themes, and a concert with a light/video performance. Combined, this event gives the practical information and emotional charge to produce empathy and the public’s deeper understanding and appreciation of nature. 80% of visitors noted that the event has given them new knowledge about nature and sustainability. The “star” of 2017 is Lumbricus terestris, or earthworm. The performances will take place in Dviete on July 17 and in Burtnieki on June 30. Entrance is free of charge.
RojaL – July 27-29, 2017, Roja
RojaL (pronounced the same way as the English word “royal”) is a film and art festival taking place in the small fishermen town of Roja on the Northern coast of Kurzeme. The idea of the festival is simple – to invite friends and friends of friends to this idyllic seaside town and watch good films on a big screen right on the beach. This year, RojaL is focusing on the French culture and its huge impact European culture and the world, which means – we will be celebrating life and doing it as charmingly as possible. The creators of the festival say it is a “pathologically successful event” because since its creation in 2011, its popularity has grown beyond the expectations of its founders.
Summer Sound – July 28-29, 2017, Liepāja
Latvians take full advantage of its 500 kilometres long sea coast. Summer Sound festival in July is the grandest beach party in Latvia – music and dancing till the sunrise on the sandy beach of Liepāja. Summer Sound ranks among the largest music festivals in the Baltics with an attendance rate of 20 000, featuring a line-up of local and international acts on five stages – an intense two-day experience of rock, pop and electronic music. The festival offers plenty of activities, all sorts of food, an amusement park and much more.
GG Fest – July 28-30, 2017, Ventspils
The Ghetto Games festival (or simply GGFEST) is an international youth culture and action sports festival that annually brings together the world's most notable action sports athletes to the seaside city of Ventspils, in Western Latvia. An especially impressive show is expected at the BMX Freestyle and Inline skating competitions. In addition to all the action sports activities (skateboarding, BMX freestyle, inline skating, streetbike freestyle) there are tournaments in street basketball, street floorball, street football along with competitions of street dance, arm-wrestling, powerlifting and the „Baltic Open” Street Workout Championship. If you are in for some sweaty, adrenaline-filled experiences, see you at the GGFEST!
The International Sigulda Opera Festival – July 29-31, 2017
If you are an opera fan, reserve the last weekend of July for the International Sigulda Opera Festival – summery performances by acclaimed Latvian and international opera stars in the picturesque area of the Sigulda Castle ruins and at the Sigulda New Castle. The highlight of the Festival will be an open-air original performance of the outstanding Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi opera "Falstaff". The Festival’s Young Talents concert will take place in the Sigulda New Castle Garden on July 29, and Sacral Music Concert will take place in Sigulda Evangelical Lutheran Church on July 30. Since the town of Sigulda is a part of the Riga-Gauja European Region of Gastronomy 2017, the region’s top chefs will serve excellent dishes to the festival’s guests at the Sigulda Castle gardens.
LabaDaba – August 4 – 6, 2017, Ratnieki, Līgatne Parish
LabaDaba (or GoodNature) is a family-friendly leisure festival close to nature, offering unconventional musical programme and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Apart from concerts, Labadaba offers a cosy camping experience. This year, the festival gathers more that 60 bands and DJs, and opportunities to take part in various sports and art activities suitable for different age groups, including families with children. The nearby forest, an orchard, a pond – to make your “summer in the country” experience complete. See you all there!