If you need an excuse to travel to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – the three Baltic States - then check out this list of events, festivals, and concerts. From opera in a medieval castle to the biggest electronic dance festival - numerous events are for your choice.
MAY 16 – OCT 11
Riga’s International Biennial of Contemporary Art retains its strong European focus and regional profile, based in the rich history of the Baltic States, allowing international artists to play with its cultural and historical context.
JUN 5 –14
The festival held annually in the Latvian capital is highly popular with both Latvian audiences and opera-lovers from abroad.
A magical night in summer, searching for the mythical fern flower which is said to blossom this night. Friends and families gather together in nature and mark the shortest night of the year. Many traditions surround this special night. A popular one is jumping over the fire to rid a person of misfortune.
Preparing for the festival, many families make their own cheese with caraway seeds and other traditional delicacies.
AUG 14 - 16
The festival is full of free events to mark the capital’s anniversary each year. Highlights include the open-air restaurant at Spīķeri Creative Quarter offering contemporary Latvian cuisine, the local arts and crafts market at Vērmanes Garden, and the fireworks in beautiful nature.
Free public transport during the festival makes it a good value weekend.
JUNE 12 - 13
Grillfest takes place in Pärnu in June, every year. For two days, a few hundred caterers from Estonia and abroad serve their best fare in outdoor restaurants and cafés. You can take part in the national fishing championship and food preparation competitions, enjoy performances by excellent artists of various music styles or simply enjoy the white sand beaches of Pärnu.
AUG 27 – 29
The music program of the festival offers a multi-genre mix from the edgiest sounds to chart pop, from dance beats to metal and from folk to contemporary classical.
JUNE 16 – 19
In summer, an exciting festival called I Land Sound is taking place on Illiku Islet inviting to enjoy the beautiful nature, great music and art, friends, and the Estonian summer. Unique time with the electronic nightlife pioneers, artists, and the locals will fill you with a never-to-be-forgotten memory.
JULY 23 - 26
Viljandi Folk Music Festival takes place every July in the Viljandi castle park. It has become one of the largest festivals of this kind in the Baltic and Nordic countries over the recent years.
Aug 07- 15
Birgitta Festival is one of the most important cultural events of the summer, bringing operas and ballets, oratorios and galas, guest performances and self-productions, classical and modern music all together under the charm of a medieval monastery. This is a high-level music theatre festival, taking place since 2005.
It is the annual international rock festival “Rock Nights”, which has deep rock culture traditions and is also the most significant rock music festival in Lithuania.
The first time “Rock Nights” was held in 2003 becoming more and more popular every year, showing that rock is not dead. The growing number of participants and bands from all over the world makes this festival summer’s musical highlight.
SECOND HALF OF NOVEMBER
The Vilnius Mama Jazz festival offers a diversity of jazz styles encompassing everything from all-star projects to contemporary post-bop, and arrangements of Led Zeppelin music accompanied by cabbage soup flavor. Quality and originality are the unifying factors defining the diversity of festival programs. Musicians such as Chick Corea, Christian McBride, John McLaughlin, Bill Frisell, Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Medeski Martin & Wood, and many other jazz stars from different countries of Europe and overseas have performed in this festival. Special attention is also paid to creative young musicians providing master classes with prominent musicians during the festival.
Every four years between JUNE 30 - JULY 6
This enormous and spectacular national festival of Lithuanian song, dance, and folklore has been running in various forms since 1923. It's primary purpose is the preservation of Lithuanian cultural heritage through the showcasing of its national song and dance traditions.
Smelts are the tiny fish delicacy that arrives on Palanga’s shores and to the Curonian Lagoon for a short period in February. During this three-day festival in mid-February, the smelts are prepared around town in all their glory. As an added attraction, hundreds of hardy souls brave the cold waters of the Baltic for a polar bear swim.
This three-day festival, held annually on the grounds of the first historical capital of Lithuania - Kernave, involves the presentation of the preserved old crafts: Stone Age fire-starting techniques, bronze casting, yarn dyeing, Viking age smiting and much more.
Dating back from the 17th century, this festival of craft and culture comes to the UNESCO listed Old Town of Vilnius on St Casimir’s Day, with stalls dotted along the medieval streets and squares. Kaziukas fair also features music and dance. The fair becomes a destination for tens of thousands of visitors and many craftsmen from all over the country and from neighboring countries, as well.