On Friday, August 16th Riga City Festival will begin with Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music 100th anniversary season’s opening concert “Crossing Time”, the Big Picnic in Mežaparks, several concerts and festival “SUPiāde”. For three days Riga’s residents and guests are invited to visit a diverse programme of events at 11.novembra krastmala and Vērmanes Garden, and also in parks, squares and different neighbourhoods. This year the Festival is dedicated to Riga’s legends.
Festival will begin with the 100th anniversary season’s opening concert “Crossing Time” of one of Riga’s legends – Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA). At the concert two stylistically different but brilliant collectives will step on stage at Dome Square – JVLMA Baroque Orchestra and Riga Dome Choir School Big Band. The JVLMA Baroque Orchestra will be joined by soloists Elīna Šimkus, Ilze Grēvele-Skaraine, Terēze Gretere, Monta Martinsone, Rinalds Kandalincevs, Maija Kļaviņa, Kristīne Stumbure and Mauro Pinciaroli. Whereas the Big Band will be joined on stage by soloists–instrumentalists Kārlis Vanags, Indriķis Veitners, Madars Kalniņš, Dominykas Vyšniauskas, Neff Irizarry, Pēteris Liepiņš, Artis Orubs and singer Evilena Protektore.
This year, Riga City Festival will introduce several new events and one of them will be the Big Picnic in Mežaparks. There visitors will get the chance to sample refreshing drinks and dishes from different countries, purchase goods made by Latvian craftsmen and local domestic producers. Visitors will also be able to enjoy performances by group “Dagamba”, composer and instrumentalist Raimonds Tiguls, kokle player Laima Jansone and “Ceremoniju Orķestris”. The favourite fairy-tale characters will entertain children with fun diversions and interesting games.
On the first day of the Festival, another new event will take place – Freeport of Riga SUP Festival “SUPiāde 2019”. On Friday evening at Kronvalda Park next to the Freeport of Riga Authority building the SUP carnival will take place, the Festival village with a recreation area will start working, the band “Bur Mani” will perform and visitors will be able to watch the fountain show “The Story of Water in the Moonlight”.
As every year, on the first day of the Riga City Festival, it has become a nice tradition to hold an event honouring couples from Riga who have been married for 50 years. This year, the celebration of the Golden couples will take place in Culture Palace “Ziemeļblāzma”.
On Friday, visitors are welcome at Station Square, where the performers of the concert cycle “Song Bridges” will join together in the concert “Song Bridges Unite People” on Origo Summer Stage. Another festival concert cycle “Musical Legends of Old Riga” will begin at St. Mary Magdalene's Church of Riga.
On the first day of the Festival, there will be several exhibitions, musical performances as well as sports activities and the opportunity to visit Latvian craftsmen’s fair “A Piece of Latvia” in Esplanāde.
This year, Riga City Festival is dedicated to legends because legends and history flow throughout the streets of Old Riga and its historical buildings, miraculously coming back to life every time Riga celebrates.