VILNIUS - Nothing could deter people from enjoying last year's Stable of Culture festival, despite the miserable weather. What was a bit of heavy rain, after all? People just stuck some plastic bags over their feet, and danced around in muddy puddles. It's not for nothing that the festival is sometimes referred to as "Lithuania's Woodstock."
In fact, the Stable of Culture festival is the only noncommercial open-air music festival of its kind in the country. And every year, along with an ever-intriguing lineup of musicians, the event attracts a range of top artists, making it a truly cultural experience, and not just another wham-bam, thank-you-maaaan musical orgy.
This year's festival takes place on Aug. 27 - 28 and combines music, video and photographic art and should make as good a way as any to bid farewell to yet another brief Baltic summer. Numerous Lithuanian artists, as well as several foreign acts will be strutting and strumming their stuff in the ruins of a horse-stable that was once part of Count Tiskevicius' glorious palace. Indeed, it's partly thanks to the wonderful ambiance of the festival setting, which combines historical architecture and beautiful landscapes, that the festival is so popular.
One of the undoubted highlights this year will be the performance of 5nizza ("piatnica" - Friday) from Ukraine. Blending reggae, soul, hip-hop and traditional Russian music, 5nizza is particularly popular in Lithuania.
The group started out as an underground band playing in Ukraine. Its first album -"Unplugged" - was a thoroughly home made effort which was literally distributed from hand to hand, until it was finally "discovered." Now the nightclubs of Moscow regularly rock to the group's music and the duet keeps growing in popularity.
The success of 5nizza lies in its creative sampling of other acts, its sunny music and its creative lyrics, which borrow from Bob Marley, Erykah Badu and Jim Morrison. The group always starts a concert with Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" and closes with the Soviet anthem performed reggae-style.
Another foreign star featuring in the festival is Lyapis Trubeckoi, which is the most popular rock band in Belarus. Inspired by the first post-Soviet rock festivals, Lyapis Trubeckoi appeared on Minsk's underground scene at the beginning of the 1990s. With its debut album in 1996, the band became the vanguard of Belarusian rock, as well as winning over a lot of fans in neighboring countries.
Mignon, a group from Berlin, will also be performing at the festival. Characterized as an electro punk band, the group's vocalist is commonly associated with Ozzy Osbourne, when the singer was at his most demented back in the 1970s. Mignon is anything but cute.
Music aside, there will also be some interesting alternative art projects to revive your brain after listening to the likes of Mignon. In particular check out the installation entitled "Ziguliukas" (after the Soviet-era car, the Ziguli). The project aims to mock the past while recapturing the kitsch style that was so integral to Soviet-era automobile design. o
Kulturos tvartas 2004
(Stable of Culture 2004)
(shuttles from Vilnius available)
Tickets: 25 litas (7 euros) - 45 litas
For more info visit