Tight-wire act kicks off Capital Days festival

  • 2007-08-29
  • By Kimberly Kweder

RING OF FIRE: A special performance by the "Circle of Fire" group in Kaunas is one of the events planned for the opening night of the Capital Days festival, which runs Aug. 30 - Sept. 2.

VILNIUS - French tight-wire artist Didier Pasquette says he's looking forward to his first performance in Vilnius 's  he'll be crossing 15 meters above the capital's prized landmark, Cathedral Square, while thousands of spectators crowd around below him to watch in amazement.
Pasquette's daring feat, which takes place Aug. 30 at 9 p.m., is the opening act for Capital Days, the city's biggest annual open-air event. The festival will run through Sept. 2, offering a full program of art exhibitions, fashion shows, carnivals, street theater and films, as well as a plethora of jazz, folk, pop and traditional Lithuanian music.

For the world-famous French acrobat, crossing national monuments and landmarks on a wire is nothing new. He's thrilled festival-goers by traversing a wire strung between the towers of the Basilica in Champagne Ardennes, France, and has made special trips to Italy and Japan for other performances and celebrations. 
In 1997, he made it into the "Guinness Book of World Records" by crossing the Thames River in London 's passing another tight-wire colleague along the way 's on a cable that was 430 meters long and 45 meters high, stretched between two cranes.
"When I'm on my wire it's the only place where nobody can come with me. It's a retreat," Pasquette told The Baltic Times.

Immediately after the tight-wire stunt, British band ZEEP will heat up the summer night with electric guitars, samba percussion and pounding drums in a tropical-style, Brazilian-inspired concert. A fireworks display at 11 p.m. will start off the weekend's events with a bang or two.
Capital Days, the city's annual celebration, got its start in 1993. Since 2004, the event has been organized by Vilnius Festivals.
What makes this year special is less emphasis on foreign performers and more focus on Lithuania's own musicians, artists and the national heritage of the country, said Vilnius Festival spokeswoman Aiste Gasiulyte.
On Aug. 31, the Lithuanian Children and Youth Center will welcome visitors on Vilniaus street with a 4 p.m. concert, followed by the folk music band Sutaras, who will be singing traditional songs about Vilnius, albeit with a modern twist.

Most of the festival's action takes place along Gediminas Avenue from the Cathedral Square to Savivaldybes Square, and on Vilniaus street. The city will resound with live music 's folksy tunes to modern pop 's along with line dances, plays and puppets.
Well-known Latvian band Brainstorm rounds out the schedule, playing the Grand Closing Concert on Cathedral Square, Sept. 2 at 9 p.m.

Capital Days
Aug. 30 - Sept. 2
Gediminas Avenue, Cathedral Square, Vilniaus street
Attendance is free