Some municipalities have already canceled the summer city festival; others are still waiting / Article / LSM.lv

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            As the coronavirus crisis develops, it is becoming increasingly clear that assembly restrictions will have to last longer than initially thought. One after another, the world's major music festivals are being abolished, and the Olympic Games have been postponed for the first time in history. And in Latvia, too, the calendar of public events this summer is becoming less and less rare. Some municipalities have already announced that the central event of the summer - the city festival - will not take place this summer; others are still upset and waiting for the government's decision, still others have already started planning how to celebrate the holiday in a completely different format.            </p><div>
            <p style="margin-left:0cm; margin-right:0cm">In February of this year, 350 years have passed since the Duke of Courland Jacob granted city rights to Jekabpils. Jēkabpils wanted to celebrate the semicircular anniversary for three days immediately after Midsummer.

“Various classical and popular music concerts, as well as outdoor theater performances for children and open-air cinema evenings were planned. Maybe I won’t go into more detail in the program so as not to cause heartache … “said Laura Trukšāne, a municipal public relations specialist, and explains that the state of emergency and uncertainty about what has caused the municipality to decide to postpone the holidays indefinitely.

“However, the priority now is the health and lives of our fellow human beings. We are better able to endure now than we are struggling with the consequences for a long time, ”the local government representative emphasized.

The holiday budget has not been redistributed for other purposes and is reserved for a later time. The same is true in Cēsis, where public events usually gather a lot of people in the summer.

“The medieval festival is one of the events we have given up this year. A folk festival was also planned, which we have given up; The Third All-Latvian Folk Song Night was also planned, which will unfortunately not be realized this year, ”Andra Magone, the head of the Cēsis Culture and Tourism Center, listed the canceled municipal events.

However, Cesis has not lowered its hands, and the municipality says: there will be a city festival!

Exactly how they will happen is still kept secret, but it is foreseeable that digital solutions will come to the rescue.

“It would be strange that Cesis, as one of the central cities of culture in Latvia, would give up the holiday! The working group is currently working intensively on the content and form of the festival, and a wider announcement of what the festival will be like is expected immediately after the May 4 festival. Then we will come up with the first city holiday activities, ”said Magone.

Meanwhile, the Ventspils city website still has a separate section “Festival in Ventspils 2020” with dozens of public events from mid-May to December, including the Medieval Music Festival, the Blast Festival, the Sea Festival and the City Festival.

“We asked the organizers – the Cultural Center – to tell them when to make a decision – yes or no. They have now told us that the decision must be made by May 15, ”explained Aivars Lembergs, the mayor of Ventspils (“ Latvia and Ventspils ”), who was suspended from office.

The rest will be decided depending on the government’s decisions on May 12, until which the state of emergency is currently extended.

Lembergs also admits that there will be no city festival in the traditional format.

“I think the city festival, 130 thousand will gather in one group – I think we will hardly allow it. This means that maybe the format will have to be changed, ”the chairman of the council said.

In its turn, Riga Municipality has announced for the time being that it will cancel the planned Midsummer celebrations in Daugavmala. But the plans for the city festival in August are not commented on in the Education, Culture and Sports Department of the Riga City Council, only indicating that it has been decided not to use the 11 November embankment as a venue for the events.

Several possible formats of measures are being discussed, the choice of which will depend on the government’s future decisions regarding restrictions due to Covid-19.

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