Latvian Song and Dance Festival

June 30, Saturday - July 08, Sunday 12.00
Mežaparks (Forest park)
Meža prospekts, Riga

The Song and Dance Celebration is the greatest cultural masterpiece of the Latvian people, and has withstood the test of time. The Celebration has become an event of national and international importance, bringing together people of different generations and nationalities, and uniting Latvians throughout the world.

From the first Celebration in 1873 where 1000 singers participated, the celebrations have evolved into a powerful movement—around 40 000 participants from 3421 amateur ensembles are preparing to participate in the XXVI Song and XVI Dance Celebration.

In order for 12 000 singers and 17 000 dancers, and thousands of musicians, masters of folk and applied arts, as well as folklore and amateur theatre ensembles can participate in the Celebration, effort is systematically invested on a daily basis for five years—rehearsals, continuous revisions to the repertoire, recitals, contests, exhibitions, seminars, and concerts.

And then, every five years, all of these artists and musicians from Latvia’s towns and rural territories flow into Riga, creating a powerful grassroots movement.

Latvia's Song and Dance Celebration tradition has contributed significantly to the national consciousness, and to maintaining the idea of an independent Latvian nation during difficult periods of history. This has been recognised at the international level and in 2003 the Song and Dance Celebration was included in UNESCO's list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The XXVI Latvian Song and XVI Dance Celebration 2018 The XXVI Latvian Song and XVI Dance Celebration will take place in Riga from 30 June to 8 July 2018 in the spirit of the Latvian Centenary. The Celebration week is the culmination of what the organisers—the Latvian National Center for Culture—and the amateur ensembles have been preparing for since the XXV Latvian Song and XV Dance Celebration.

During Celebration week, Riga will host 43 000 participants from 118 Latvian municipalities, and from many other countries where Latvians continue to uphold and develop the traditions of the Song and Dance Celebration. For seven days they will take part in more than 65 events—choirs, dance ensembles, brass bands, kokle players, folk musicians, vocal ensembles, folklore ensembles, and others will perform in various events, the Latvian folk costume exhibition, the Latvian applied art exhibition, and amateur theatre performances. 500 000 celebration-goers (roughly ¼ of the Latvian population—1,96 million) will be able to attend (ticketed and free) events.