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15. June, 2023

The XXVII Nationwide Latvian Song and XVII Dance Festival in 2023
The XXVII Nationwide Latvian Song and XVII Dance Festival, which marks the 150th year of the Song Festival tradition, will take place in Riga from the 30th June to the 9th July, 2023. The Festival week is the culmination for which the organisers — the Latvian National Centre for Culture — and amateur groups have been preparing since the end of the previous XXVI Nationwide Latvian Song and XVI Dance Festival.

During the week of the Festival, 40,000 participants from 43 Latvian administrative regions, as well as other countries where Latvians maintain and develop the Song and Dance Festival tradition, will come to Riga. Over ten days, they will take part in more than 60 events: choir, dance, wind band, kokle, folk music, vocal ensemble, folklore and other concerts; a Latvian folk costume exhibition; a folk craft art exhibition; and amateur theatre productions. Half a million visitors will be able to see the events in person (in free and ticketed events) — Latvia has a population of 1.96 million.

The Song and Dance Festival will take place throughout the territory of Riga. Special set designs will transform the event spaces; suitable stages will be built; big screens will be dotted throughout the city; spaces will be landscaped to allow visitors to enjoy the Festival in full. The main choir and dance events will take place in their historic Festival locations: the Silver Grove stage at Mežaparks and Daugava Stadium. Both locations have been renovated for the audiences and participants of the 2023 Song and Dance Festival.

Main events
The XXVII Nationwide Latvian Song and XVII Dance Festival will begin on the 30th June, 2023 with the traditional raising of the Song and Dance Festival flag, honouring the Chief Conductors and Chief Dance Leaders, and the Sacred Music Concert at Riga Cathedral.

The Festival Participants’ Parade through the streets of Riga will take place on the 2nd July. The several-hours-long parade of participants dressed in their bright folk costumes will end with a special Opening Event for the Song and Dance Festival participants.

The Wind Band Concert, titled Laiks iet pāri (Time Flows Over), which will take place this year in Andrejosta, will delight listeners not just with the passionate playing, but also the open-air party for all attendees. Meanwhile, the Kokle Concert, titled Laika upe (The River of Time) will take place in the Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre.

One of the most anticipated events in the Festival is the Dance Concert, which this year has the title Mūžīgais dzinējs (Perpetual Motion) and will sparkle in the colours of the regions of Latvia. The concert is conceived as a dedication to curiosity and the eternal search for growth, and will reflect the experiences, feelings and conclusions of those who have travelled around Latvia in different eras.

The 150th anniversary of the Song Festival tradition brings back the opportunity for the massed choir to perform a separate a cappella concert at the Silver Grove stage, Mežaparks. The foundational concept of this concert, titled Tīrums. Dziesmas ceļš (The Field. The Road of Song), is folk song arrangements and original pieces inspired by folk songs.

The culmination of the Festival week is the Grand Finale Concert, called Kopā Augšup (Upward Together). It will be dedicated to 150 years of Song Festival tradition and will serve as a bridge to future Festivals. Mixed, women’s, men’s, senior, children’s and youth choirs, wind bands and kokle ensembles will resound at the Silver Grove stage, Mežaparks, under the leadership of experienced Chief Conductors and Honoured Chief Conductors, while dance groups will shimmer in the colours of Latvia’s regions. Over three hours, the 15 favourite choir songs as selected by the choristers themselves will be performed as if in one breath, and gems of Latvian choral music from many periods of history — from the classics to modern day — will sparkle.