RIGA - Sometimes in Latvia the word "festival" is muddled up with the word "concert." And sometimes the word "concert" gets muddled up with the word "gig." And sometimes the word "gig" gets mistaken for the word "gigabyte." And it can all get a little confusing after a while.
But rest assured that Liepeajas Dzintars (Liepaja's Amber) is a full-on summer festival, for the simple reason that it's a well-established event, and it lasts for more than a few hours. In fact, there's a whole three day's worth of it.
From Aug. 6 - 8 the picturesque port city will be playing host to several guest bands, as well as several bands who'll be thrashing it out in a competition.
The festival opens with a concert at 8 p.m. by the 17-year-old Siberian wonder Pelageja, who has won the praise of the mammoth tenor Luciano Pavarotti, among other distinguished admirers.
Pelageja sings old Slavic songs in a distinctly modern manner by fusing them with techno, reggae, rock and jazz.
Then, in festival tradition, the opening concert will be followed by some of the groups in competition. This year the first four of the eight bands to do battle will be: Hospitalu Iela (Riga), Malo Mesto (Belarus), Post Factum (Liepaja) and Land (Lithuania).
Once that's out of the way, two guest bands will keep the audience on its toes until the early hours. Stearcia is a rock band from Italy, while Credo is a popular homegrown act that is no stranger to the festival circuit.
On Aug. 7, the party gets underway at 8 p.m. again with a concert by guest band Arkaim. Then the last of the competing bands will warble it out on stage.
Vic Anselmo (Riga), Saules Kliosas (Lithuania), Double Faced Eels (Riga) and Tony Clifton (Sweden) will all hope to conquer the famously fastidious Liepajan audience in order to win the prize for best band.
The guest acts later on that night are Tito and Tarantula, the veteran Latin rockers whose music was enthusiastically put to good use by Robert Rodriguez in the films "Desperado" and "From Dusk Till Dawn" and the legendary Latvian band Livi.
The festival comes to a close on August 8 with a concert by Tumsa and the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra at 7 p.m.
The winner of the best band competition will be announced afterward, and the whole thing will be rounded off with that time-honored Latvian tradition of shooting a sizable amount of fireworks off.
Liepaja is often referred to as the home of music in Latvia, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your taste. But either way Liepajas Dzintars is certainly one of the best summer festivals on offer, so head on over there, and don't forget to have a good time.
Liepajas Dzintars, August 6 - 8
Tickets 3 lats (4.50 euros)
For more information visit www.liepajasdzintars.lv