Latvia is best enjoyed at a slow pace, but it’s far from being slow when it comes to cultural events of all kinds. One of the most exciting attractions this year is the third Festival of light “Staro Rīga,” that will take place from 18 November to 21 November between 6:00 PM and 10 P.M. each night. It is a festival of light and art, set in the urban environment of the capital city, with works by numerous Latvian artists. The festival is designed to lighten the mood before the long Latvian winter, and to create a celebratory mood in advance of Latvia’s Independence Day on November 18th.
This year the festival will feature 35 lighting projects by various artists, like Kaspars Podnieks, Gundega Laiviņa, Klaus Gruenberg, Andris Silkāns, Matīss Šteinerts, Viktors Keino, Visvaldis Asaris and many others. The lights will gracefully linger on some of Riga’s city symbols, including the Radisson Blu Hotel, the Latvian Academy of Sciences building, the Daile Theatre, the DnB NORD Bank and more.
The festival is an excellent opportunity for contemporary artists to reach out to diverse groups of people and cut across socio-economic boundaries. The light, which transforms the urban environment, makes the ideal ambassador for Riga in this period. The light show will be supplemented by performances, musical and theatrical events, and the interactive involvement of the audience.
The long-term concept of the festival is to make Riga glow during the darkest time of the year, creating a festive atmosphere not only for the residents of the city but also for everyone in Latvia and visitors to the country. The organizers hope to make the festival the main event of its type in northern Europe, something no one visiting the country would want to miss.
Feature images courtesy Staro Riga 2010.