On Friday, August 17th Riga City Festival 2018 — the celebration of the city’s 817th birthday — will begin with the concert “Era and Music” at Vērmanes Garden Park and the evening of songs by Imants Kalniņš at Grīziņkalns, the concert cycle “Song Bridges” and the light show “The Story of Water in the Moonlight”. During the three days of celebration Riga’s inhabitants and city guests are invited to visit the diverse programme of events at 11. novembra krastmala and Vērmanes Garden Park, in cultural institutions, parks and squares, in the city centre and the neighbourhoods.
As every year, on the first day of the Riga City Festival traditionally is held an event honouring couples from Riga who have been married for 50 years. This year the reception by the Chairman of Riga City Council in honour of the Golden couples will take place at the Culture Palace “Ziemeļblāzma”.
This year Riga City Festival celebrates Latvia’s Centenary and the 150th anniversary of the Riga Latvian Society and to commemorate them an extensive programme of events will be organized at Vērmanes Garden Park allowing visitors to feel the atmosphere of the turn of the 20th century. The celebration will begin with the concert “Era and Music”, in which will perform Riga Latvian Society’s Anniversary Chamber Orchestra. Compositions that were popular in Latvia, Riga and the Riga Latvian Society a century or more ago will be played in the concert. The Chamber Orchestra will perform music created by Franz Adam Veichtner, Gioachino Rossini, Wilhelm Richard Wagner, Alfrēds Kalniņš, Jāzeps Mediņš, Emīls Dārziņš, Jānis Kalniņš and Ringolds Ore. The concert will feature soloists Evija Martinsone and Kalvis Kalniņš; the conductor will be Andris Veismanis.
Whereas in a different park in Riga — Grīziņkalns Park — on Friday evening visitors will have a chance to enjoy music by Imants Kalniņš. Austra Pumpure’s students and successors called Austra’s Children — Ieva Akuratere, Arnis Miltiņš, Kristīne Sudmale-Locika, Kristaps Sudmalis, Uldis Ozols, Silvija Silava, Anta Eņģele, Inta Pauļuka, Andris Mičulis and others will sing songs by composer Imants Kalniņš, who spent his childhood in Grīziņkalns neighbourhood. Special guests at the event will be Ainars Mielavs and Aigars Voitišķis with their musical programme of songs by Imants Kalniņš. At the conclusion of the event will perform Marts Kristians Kalniņš and band “Autobuss debesīs”. The evening of songs will be hosted by musician Goran Gora who will also perform some songs by Imants Kalniņš that are close to his heart.
As every year during the Riga City Festival, there will be the Port Festival with events taking place in Kronvalda Park next to the Freeport of Riga Authority building. Along with the usual events of the Port Festival, this year everyone is invited to come and watch the musical show of fountains and water lights called “The Story of Water in the Moonlight” and visit the educational and entertaining interactive installation “Aquatorium”. From 23:00 to 3:00 every half an hour on the shores of the City Canal next to the Freeport of Riga Authority lighthouse festival visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a short but romantic 10 minutes long story of the port of Riga.
On the first day of the Riga City Festival visitors are welcome at Station Square, where the participants of the concert cycle “Song Bridges” will perform on Origo Summer Stage. At the concert on Friday there will be performances by the violin ensemble “Kantilēna” from the VEF Culture Palace and male vocal quartet “Harmonija Rīgai” from the culture and recreation centre “Imanta”, a concert programme “In the Tower a Clock Counts the Moments…” featuring Marts Kristiāns Kalniņš, Kristiāna Stirāne and Līva Kalniņa and a popular dance tune programme “In Retro Rhythms” by the folk instrumental orchestra “Sadko” from VEF Culture Palace. A folk music group from Chile “Montemar” will close the concert.
The cinema lovers are invited to the Riga Film Museum at the Latvian Academy of Culture where by watching recording from year 1917 to 1930 — newsreels, documentaries and staged films — people will be able to travel back in time and see Riga as it was approximately a hundred years ago. The screening of cinema recordings will be complemented by a programme for children and improvisation theatre performances.
During the Riga City Festival everyone will have a chance to come and see specially prepared exhibitions, enjoy concert programmes, attend several fairs and events for children, have lunch in the Riga City Festival Restaurant, participate in sports activities and spend time in some of more than the 40 festival event locations.
On festival days — August 18th and 19th — Riga city public transport will be free of charge.