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Latvian Song and Dance Festival officially under way

RIGA, June 30 - In what could be called "the event of all events" in Latvia, the XXV Nationwide Latvian Song and XV Dance Festival opened officially at 11 a.m. today in Riga's Dome Cathedral with a multi-denominational service - and in the Small Guild with the start of the competition for vocal ensembles.

The week-long festival will have 62 concerts and other events, with 41 of them free of charge.

The number of participants is 40,600 - 603 folk dance groups and 388 choirs.

Latvian singers and dancers from foreign countries will be in record number - 1,300.

Last night, an unofficial start for the festival was the traditional "Battle of the Choirs", for the right to wear the crown as the best choir in Latvia. From all reports, it was a tough call for the jury, but nonetheless, the winners were announced at 12 midnight.
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