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Major "Riga 2014" solstice celebrations planned for Mezaparks on June 21 and 22

Photo: LETA.
RIGA, May 22  - One of the largest "2014 European Capital of Culture" events in Riga will take place in Mezaparks on June 21 and 22 - "Riga 2014 Solstice" with a two-day program of festivities, the organizers of the event told reporters yesterday.

"Riga 2014 Solstice" will be an opportunity for any Riga resident and guest of the city to experience the celebration of light mystery and see firsthand the surviving summer solstice celebration traditions in Europe and the world, said Diana Civle, curator of the "Riga 2014" foundation's thematic line "Riga Carnival".

Riga Vice Mayor Andris Ameriks (Honor to Serve Latvia) stressed in turn that the Midsummer night celebration in Mezaparks will coincide with the "Ligo!" holiday events on the Daugava Embankment and in Dzeguzkalns.

The main event of "Riga 2014 Solstice" will be dance performance "Lec, saulite!" (Sun Be Rising!), featuring about 2,000 dancers, 500 choristers, other musicians and the bagpipe ensemble "Auli". The production has been in rehearsal for four years - the music and choreography are a present-day person's take on "Ligo!" traditions. The spectators' zone of the Mezaparks Grand Stage will be transformed into Janis Mountain, whereas spectators will be seated where the joint choir singers usually stand during the Song Festival.

The performance will be on June 21 and 22 at 10 p.m. About 4,000 tickets to the performance will be available in total, the tickets will cost EUR 10 to EUR 35.
During the day, the Mezaparks Grand Stage will host the "World Beer Parade" on June 21 and 22 from 12 noon to 10 p.m., presenting a variety of beer brands from Latvia and other countries.

The field next to the Mezaparks Grand Stage is where the "World Solstice Festival" will be taking place from 12 noon to 9 p.m. There, musicians from all over the world, will present their creative, contemporary vision of summer solstice celebrations. The festival will feature sun songs, dances and rituals, traditional cuisine master classes, a garland making workshop and much more. Participants in the "World Solstice Festival" include folklore ensembles "Kokle", "Laiksne" and "Oglite", the Bremen Choir, Estonian folklore ensemble

"Tarbatu", Macedonian traditional music ensemble "Tanec", Georgian jazz band "Tbilisi Big-Band", Tato Marenco and "via40" from Colombia.

In the meantime, "Riga Solstice Fair" will be taking place on the Mezaparks Alley for two days from 12 noon to 10 p.m., where vendors and craftsmen will sell their wares. The fair will also feature various creative and recreational activities meant for families with children.

"Riga 2014 Solstice" will close at 1 a.m. on June 22 after the "Lec, saulite!" performance will be followed by the "Riga Swirling in Dance" ball featuring the most popular "Ligo!" songs and dance routines from all over the world. Tickets to the ball currently cost EUR 3.

Insurance company "Ergo", the official insurance partner of "Riga 2014", urges visitors to the event to arrive by bike, as they will have the opportunity to leave their bicycles in a manned and insured, and free, bicycle parking lot.

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