Latvia was in full swing from June 26th to July 6th, for the eagerly awaited XXIII Latvian Song and Dance Festival 2003. For 130 years this song and dance festival has been a very important part of Latvian culture and is a tradition, which identifies the strength of folk spirit.

The Song Festival, which lasts for 11 days, is held every five years and is incorporated into various venues, two of which were the Skonto Stadium and Mezaparks Open Air Stadium. Over 30,000 participants, 300 different choirs, more than 500 dance groups, 57 brass bands, three symphonic orchestras, one chamber orchestra, as well as art exhibitions, parades, singing and dance performances took part.

All equipment was provided by Company NA, the Vari*Lite® dealer for Latvia. Before the festival began, Company NA was there to plan crew logistics, and to supply the lighting equipment from cables to control systems, to both the venues.

Skonto Stadium
Over 12,000 people gathered in the audience to listen to some of Latvia’s famous rock and pop stars as well as the rock band Time after Time. The audience enjoyed a symphonic orchestra and choir where 2,000 people sang famous Latvian pop songs and rock ballads.

Lighting designer Maris Meness lit the stadium with six of the new Vari*Lite VL3000™ spot luminaries, six VL3000™ wash luminaries, 18 VL5™ wash, as well as 22 VL2000™ spot luminaries. Conventional equipment included 32 PAR 64 six-way bars, 12 PAR 64s with color scrollers, eight 8-light DWE blinder, two Strong Super Trooper II followspots, two High End Systems F-100 and two Reel Efx DF50 smoke machines, and one MDG Atmosphere. Two Avolites Pearl consoles controlled it all. Crew Chief was Renars Haselshteins.

Mezaparks (Forest Park) Open Air Stadium
Here an audience of over 40,000 people could listen to female and male choirs, at the open-air stage within the Mezaparks. This night was intended as an integrated testimony to the national patriotism and love, which consisted of seven parts. These seven sections represented the importance of important phases in human mythical existence: birth, nature, love, marriage, war, death, and rebirth. The performers included 1,000 male singers, 2,500 female singers, as well as solo performers and the National Armed Forces and Navel Forces Bands.

The final night saw the finale of the whole festival with arrangements of Latvian folksong, classical choral music, as well as newly composed works. Participants included mixed choirs of 9,000 singers, female choirs totally 2,500, as well as 1,000 singers for the male choirs. Plus dance groups and wind bands.

Lighting designer Normunds Blasans lit this event with 24 VL3000™ spot and 24 VL3000™ wash luminaries. Conventional included 36 PAR 64 bars, 12 PAR 64 12-lights with color scroller, 24 PAR 64s, 36 8-light DWE blinder and scroller, eight 8-light DWE blinder, as well as four Robert Juliat Cyrano HMI 2500 and two Robert Juliat Aramis HMI2500 followspots, controlled by the Flying Pig Systems Wholehog III. The crew Chief was Janis Urlovskis.

Aldis Janevics, managing director for Company NA comments, “Our lighting designers: Normunds and Maris were surprised with light output of the new Series 3000 luminaires and were both pleased with the result of the shows.” Janevics continues, “The creative and production staff of this festival were also pleased with our companies services and lighting equipment. We were very pleased to be involved in this historic festival that means so much to our country.”