COMPETING FESTIVALS: Capital Days combines with basketball to bring the crowds to Vilnius.
KLAIPEDA - With the high tourist season inching to an end, Vilnius is to kick off its annual Capital Days (Sostines Dienos), a spectacular traditional festival offering a variety of dazzling cultural and gastronomical events in the main Vilnius hubs - Cathedral Square, Vingis Park and other open-air locations. Capital Days are organized by the public enterprise Vilniaus Festivaliai (Vilnius Festivals), which is involved not only in the organization of Capital Days, but also in an array of other trendy festivals in Vilnius.
Capital Days, undoubtedly, is the capital’s biggest festival, attracting folks not only from all over Lithuania, but from abroad as well. This year its events coincide with the beginning of the European Basketball Championship in Lithuania, urging the organizers to respond to the needs of abundant sports fans – erecting a huge TV screen in City Hall Square.
“Considering the sports event, our goal this year is to offer the extensive audiences of Vilnius especially diverse, grand and high quality performances of art, gastronomy and basketball. We see the festival as an excellent opportunity to spread the reputation of the city of Vilnius nationally and internationally,” Remigijus Merkelys, director general of Vilnius Festivals, the enterprise in charge of Capital Days, said to The Baltic Times.
The festival will start off on Sept. 2 on Gediminas Avenue, the main prospect of Vilnius which, for three consecutive days, will turn into the sole venue - The Buzzing Gediminas Avenue, luring everyone to try out their creativity and seek fulfillment of their fantasies.
To ease your wandering around in the massive 1 kilometer-long buzzing open-air art workshop, the organizers divided the Buzzing Gediminas Avenue program into 4 thematically different venues of action.
First, welcome to the Singing, Dancing and Drawing Vilnius on the stretch of Gediminas Avenue from Cathedral Square to Vilnius Street. It will offer an array of art exhibitions, displaying artworks of professional painters, craftsmen, with the events led by “serious” music concerts.
Those who may fear being “consumed” by the buzz should definitely stroll over to the National Drama Theater, where mostly solo performers – beardy little crazed bards and promising Lithuanian actors – relating heart to heart, will seek your attention.
Is that not to your musical liking? Well, in this case, Vincas Kudirka Square, which will become a huge stage for trendy popular musical star performers, is the spot to be! With your belly letting you know about the other kind of buzz, a specific gurgle in demand for some really good traditional Lithuanian food, one will follow the trail of the nose-tickling smells right to Yummy Vilnius, on a stretch of Gediminas from Jogaila to Jakstas street. Capital Days organizers promise one will have literally to carry out their belly in their hands after visiting the yummy Lithuanian food fiesta.
Are you hinting that you are not up to bodily gluttony? Then the venue organizers ask you to take a walk to another stretch of Gediminas Avenue, from Jakstas to Vasario 16 Street, which will turn, for three days, into a huge open-air bookstore. It will offer soul food - not only thousands of books, presented by most Lithuanian publishing houses, but also meetings with Lithuanian well-known, or only aspiring, authors who are eyeing their spot internationally.
The concerts by musical groups Empti (Lithuania) and Gus Gus (Iceland) in Cathedral Square on Friday evening, Sept. 2, will mark the grand kick-off of the festival. “We want to combine different activities, intertwining different tastes and propensities and making Capital Days a large coherent event, not forgetting personal needs. Our goal is to have everyone happy and enjoy the variety of the events,” Merkelys maintained.
As before, this year’s Capital Days festival will offer some new events, like Silute Region Days at Lukiskes Square. Silute, a border municipality in the west, holds the title of Capital of Lithuanian Culture in 2011. Therefore, the region is going to represent its best dancers, singers, craftsmen, artists and gourmet food experts in the square. “Silute events will introduce everyone to a variety of marine themes, ranging from preparing fish soup to the painting of sea tint-laden canvasses. The regional feature of Capital Days is a new thing this year,” the Vilnius Festivals director general stressed.
With the clock ticking on the basketball courts, churning forward basketball frenzy, the Capital Days organizers invite basketball fans to Town Hall Square, where sports lovers will be able to watch direct broadcasts from the basketball courts.
Cinema goers are invited to come to Town Hall Square on Saturday, Sept. 3, where a special program of the movie festival “Cinema Spring,” and the best movies of the film festival “Cannes Lions,” will be shown.
On Sept. 3, Cathedral Square will host a live concert by BrassBastardz, the Lithuanian band that reaped the prestigious “The People’s Music Awards” award this year, and also Club des Belugas, a German musical group, which is considered to be the biggest star of this year’s Capital Days.
This world famous group will produce the charming, indelible vocal faculties of the awesome Brenda Boykin, masterfully mixing up funk, jazz, swing, soul and Brazilian bossa nova accords.
The festival, heeding the needs of the most vulnerable layer of society - people with disabilities - invites everyone to the Republican Festival of Disabled People, which will take place in Cathedral Square on Sunday, Sept. 4.
The grand Capital Days closing concert in the same square on Sunday evening will host the most famous Lithuanian opera singers, led by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra. Oh, to tell the truth, it may be overshadowed by the hoops frenzy in anticipation of the duel between Lithuania and Spain, which will be broadcast live from City Hall Square starting at 9 p.m.
“Capital Days organizers understand that, in Lithuania, particularly, it is very hard to rival the basketball fuss; however, I believe we will succeed in combining both events, turning Vilnius into a hustling-and-bustling hub of culture and sports-thirsty folks,” Merkelys promised.