A party in the cattle-shed

  • 2011-08-03
  • By Antra Feldmane

ECO-FEST: In its fifth year, Labadaba brings the music into the forest.

RIGA - Located in the vibrant countryside of Ratnieki, near Ligatne, the International Music Festival “Labadaba” puts together the best of the Latvian alternative scene, offering also “green” holidays and fantastic eco-food. This is the place where children go and play with self-made toys, and this is the place where families can watch and listen to gigs together. For instance, they have a stage located in a cozy cattle-shed, grooving in reggae beats.

The idea of the festival was set up five years ago when Lienite Ormane and Gundega Tihi, two former organizers, decided to do something particularly different in the Latvian music scene. Thus, “Labadaba” was invented, and over the years the concept has been kept quite the same.
This year’s headliners of the festival are “Zion Train” from the UK, which has earned the status of legend back in UK when they melted into an acid house genre back in 1988. It is also worth mentioning their “Jamaican Reggae Grammy,” received for their CD “Live as One” in 2007.

The other headline band is Vavamuffin, from Poland. You can be sure that they are at the reggae crest in their country and will heat up the Latvian audience, too.
Of course “Labadaba” will also bring together Latvian indie-flowers, including “Voiceks Voiska,” “Satellites LV” and “Oranzas Brivdienas.” Not every summer event can offer literally the one and only show in Latvia, as it is for “Nohow.” They used to play a la “Placebo” glamrockish songs a few years ago, but then some of them moved to London.

Another block of interest could be classic stuff from “Balozu Pilni Pagalmi” and “How Much Personalities?” (or “HMP?”) which used to be a local “Rage Against the Machine” back in the ’90s. Another confirmed act is “19 Gadi Pirms Sakuma” (“19 Years Before the Beginning”), where music composer Daiga Mazversite is performing with her band. The project is interesting because it renovates their former sound in current aspects. Imagine good-old “Dzeltenie Pastnieki” doing their show in 2010, so this is pretty much it.

A huge entertainment block consists of activities and self-participation in the events. As Labadaba is located near the woods, a nature path is set up for walks.
If you want to have a new outfit, why not be a zebra for just one night? There will be an option to paint oneself from head to toe. If someone wants to sing a bit, this can be done, too. A folk band from Iecava will help to rehearse a chorus in the nearby woods (excellent for next-morning tiredness).

Last year there were people who cemented themselves into a special material by making moldings of their bodies. This year this will be available for visitors also, as well as a “Freestyle Race” with ‘well-educated’ dogs from Jugla Shelter, also in the event program and something that will definitely cheer you up.

“We try to establish the environment where our offer is as simple as possible, and even non-profitable. Our concept is to avoid branding, for example stages, displaying names of various companies. Everything is literally green and environmentally friendly for our visitors,” says Oksana Apsite, the representative of the event organizing company Pareiza Kimija. “We love what we are doing, as we see that our visitors love it too. This is pretty much the key to Labadaba,” she continued.

When asked which part of the organizing job is the hardest, Oksana mentions: “During the process there are so many little details that we need to keep in mind in order to put things together. There are stages, different workshops, as well as food suppliers. Everything needs to be prepared very carefully. There are also some financial problems, but, on the other hand, we can work more creatively by inventing more solutions on how to solve one or another problem.”

Getting to Labadaba is not as easy as it may seem. First, take a train or bus to Sigulda; then move to the Ratnieki complex, which is available with a transfer bus from Sigulda train station. It will run frequently, with the first trip on Friday at 14:50. The cost of a one-way ticket is 1 lats ([1.42 euros) per person. The same rate is from Ratnieki to Sigulda. Keep in mind that the way back from the festival is sometimes difficult because of the limited transportation. Getting there by foot could be quite a long walk - around 7 km on a dirt road before ‘civilization’ is reached. But if you wish to be a part of this festival of nature, you have to believe that nothing is impossible!

Labadaba 2011
Aug. 5-7, Ratnieki
More info: www.labadaba.lv