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World Lithuanian Song Festival returns to Vilnius

5th June 2007 Print

After a four years gap Lithuania’s largest cultural event – the World Lithuanian Song Festival - will take place on 5th to 8th July in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and, the first time, in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city.

The tradition in Lithuania of national celebrations of song and dance goes back a hundred years and has given rise to the most important cultural event in Lithuania. It attracts thousands of singers and dancers and also vast numbers of visitors.

“This year events and concerts will feature traditional dance and song culture from a new perspective and the festival has been given the title the Circle of Life”, says Saulius Liausa, one of the organizers and a director of the Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre.

He adds “This year’s festival represent a challenge for Vilnius: How can the capital welcome more visitors and tourists in 2009, when Vilnius will become the European Capital of Culture and Lithuania will commemorate the millennium anniversary of its name.” By the way the Lithuanian capital is the first city in the post-Soviet block to have this reputable title.

In 2003, the traditions and symbolism of the song festivals of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) were awarded the status of masterpiece to be inscribed on the UNESCO Oral and Non-material Heritage List.

Lithuanians gathered at the first national Day of Songs in 1924. In the interwar period of independence, national Song Festivals were held every second year, while regional and local festivals were held annually. Song Festivals continued during the Soviet era with folk songs and patriotic songs included in the programmes. Once the artistic programme for a song festival is finalized, preparations in the regions start by holding local song festivals. Only the best-performing folk groups are invited to the Song Festival in the capital Vilnius.

Modern Song Festivals consist of three parts: the Day of Dance, the Afternoon of ethnographic and folk music groups, and the Day of Songs, which is the most spectacular of all. The Song Festivals are held every four years and on occasions they are held at the same time as events of national importance. More than 30,000 performers, including over 400 choirs take part. The most recent Song Festival, the sixteenth, was held in 2003.

The Festival is organized by Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre. For more about the Festival visit:

For more about Vilnius, which will become the European Capital of Culture in 2009 visit: and

For more about Lithuania visit: and

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