RIGA - Every year since 2007, the quaint little fishing town of Salacgriva on the northern coast of Latvia has been home to the Baltics’ biggest contemporary music festival “Positivus.” In 2009 it was nominated as “Best Overseas Festival” in the UK Festival Awards, thus gaining even more international media coverage and attracting a star studded line-up again for the 2010 edition on July 16-17.
The headline acts this year are British rockers Muse, and Scissor Sisters from New York, both having recently played at the arguably most famous modern music festival “Glastonbury” in England, and better known events throughout the world. Other performers in the program are said to be up and coming acts we will be seeing much more of in the years to come. Experimental artist Kira Kira from Iceland, indie pop band Stornoway from England and experimental post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar from Northern Ireland are just a few names on the extensive list of acts set to perform in the beautiful, pine tree covered seaside festival grounds.
While foreign acts receive big bucks to come and play, for Latvian artists participation is more on a voluntary basis, with money set aside just for petrol costs. Satellites LV are the only local band to have played at all previous festivals and will be returning this year, too. Other Latvian bands appearing in 2010 will include 100 White Souls and Triana Park.
International act Fatboy Slim, who performed at the second year of the festival, had only good things to say about the event: “Great location, great beach, great crowd. The perfect combination for my kind of party.”
Local businesses are overwhelmed with customers as festival goers look for places to grab a quick bite, seek a hangover cure or just use a clean bathroom with running water. In 2009, some restaurants were turning people away at the door as they had literally run out of food to serve.
Unfortunately, not all locals seem to be happy about the goings on, particularly those of elder generations who have been known to disapprove verbally of the swarms of people flooding their town and behaving rather raucously, often under the influence.
While last year festival guests had to stumble across the busy, unlit trans-Baltic highway to get to their tents, this year organizers have promised to relocate the official campsite to a potentially safer spot. Those who choose to stay at the campsite pay an extra few lats for their ticket, but get the added bonus of toilet facilities and free coffee. Many, however, choosing to save money, opt for setting up camp in any of the many surrounding fields or in among the pine trees along the coast.
For those seeking a few hours of peace and quiet in between concerts and late night dancing the festival offers a chill out zone with hammocks strung between pine trees and a cinema tent. There is also a large selection of food stalls serving up affordable meals to satisfy anyone’s taste buds. A great way to get your energy back is taking a dip in the Baltic Sea. The festival itself has a beach area with a bar and dance tent, but the surrounding beaches are all available for those wishing to escape for a while. Sponsors and invited guest organizations also offer a variety of activities, like yoga and spas, to relax and refuel for a second night of festivities.
Tickets are still available for the modest price of 29 lats (41 euros). There is public transport from Riga to Salacgriva that tends to get sold out long before the festival, so other arrangements are strongly recommended.