Does anyone actually like Russian pop music?
Well, I already know the answer to that — in the Baltics, all sorts of people. And who am I to judge?
So, if you happen to like cheesy Russian pop or shaking your rump to techno beats until dawn, you’re in luck this weekend as all three Baltic states have one or the other.
Once again, Estonia and Latvia’s offerings are considerably more impressive than Lithuania’s, so the fact that they are getting a much higher amount of tourists this summer comes as no surprise. If you build it, they will come, so the man says.
Latvia has the New Wave song contest, an all-out extravaganza of Russian pop stars playing on Russia’s favorite beach, Jūrmala on Tuesday.
Meanwhile for electronic music there’s the Baltic Beach Party in Latvia, the Airport Jam in Estonia which is held on a former Soviet military base and Spartakiada in Lithuania, a DJScene.lt organized festival featuring an impressive line-up.
Friday, 9 p.m.
Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Film Museum, Vilnius
Is this déjà vu? Perhaps. Maxim Fedotov just can’t get enough of Vilnius it seems, and that’s fine because you very well may have missed the talented violinist when he played a few weeks ago. Tickets: 43-103 litai (€12-€30)
Tolieja country retreat, Molėtai
Three stages of rock, chill out and hardcore electronica will be full of acts all weekend in the boondocks of Aukštaitija. The festival grounds are right next to a lake and forest, so if you need a break for quiet, that’s easy to do. Headliners include Jahcoozi, Happyendless and The Advent. Tickets: 50 litai (€14) in advance, 60 litai (€17) at the door for all three days.
June 24, 7 p.m.
Polish Royal String Quartet
St. Catherine’s Church, Vilnius
On of Poland’s finest classical ensembles, which has played all over Europe and even done a special performance on the BBC will be performing Schubert and Szymanowski in St. Catherine’s Church, easily the most atmospheric music venue in Vilnius. Tickets: 20-50 litai (€6-€14)
July 24, 8 p.m.
Music and Poetry Festival
Amber Museum, Palanga
No, this event is not in English but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. On the terrace of the beautiful 19th century Tiškevičiai Palace an ensemble of Lithuanian classical musicians and actors will perform a mixture of Russian classical music and Russian poetry for what should be a most European of evenings. Tickets: 23 litai (€7)
July 29, 7 p.m.
St. Catherine’s Church, Vilnius
Lithuanians seem to universally love accordion players, so I suppose it shouldn’t seem too odd that Grayson Masefield came all the way from New Zealand to perform at St. Catherine’s this Thursday. Expect him to play a wide variety of music with his squeezebox. Tickets: 22-52 litai (€6-€15)
July 23, 7 p.m.
European Union Baroque Orchestra
St. John’s Cathedral, Riga
Brussels’ finest, conducted by Welshman Huw Daniel will play Heinrich Biber’s “Battalia” and Molière’s “La Malade Imaginaire” in the gorgeous St. John’s Cathedral. A must-see for classical enthusiasts. Tickets: 5-25 lats (€7-€35)
July 24, 1:30 p.m.
DC Shoes Drift and Drag Race
Vaiņode municipal park, Vaiņode
Drag racing, motorcycle stunts, airplanes, dancers, the DC Shoes Drift and Drag Race will have a lot to offer for those who don’t mind the heat. Very family-friendly. Tickets: 4 lats (€5.70) with discounts for children
Baltic Beach Party
Liepaja Beach, Liepaja
Hard rock act The Rasmus, boho hip-hoppers Madcon and electronic superstar ATB are among the headliners for this year’s Baltic Beach Party. The weather is supposed to be perfect, so if you’re in Latvia there’s little reason to pass this up. Tickets: 12 lats (€17) for one day, 18 lats (€25) for both days
July 27-Aug. 1
New Wave song contest
Jūrmala Beach, Jūrmala
Latvian nationalists/patriots gripe about it, but if your a Russian pop fan the New Wave song contest in Jūrmala is pure bliss. A mixture of a standard music festival and American Idol, this year doesn’t have anyone as big as Roxette playing but has a list of international pop acts. Tickets: varies by day
Continuing throughout week
Organ Music Festival
Dome Cathedral, Riga
No, Ray Manzarek isn’t playing but that doesn’t mean the ongoing Organ Music Festival isn’t worth checking out. This week features Jevgenija Ļisicina, Robert Hanson and Anastasija Čertoka. Check the website for more information.
Saaremaa Opera Festival
various locations, Saaremaa Island
If you like opera, you’re in for a treat this weekend as there are over 10 different performances over two days all over the beautiful island of Saaremaa. Tickets vary by performance, check the website for more info.
Viljandi Folk Festival
Castle Hills, Viljandi
One of Europe’s best folk music festivals started on Thursday but most of the action is this weekend with acts from all over the continent getting medieval on your ass. Musically, of course. Ticket prices vary on how many shows you’re attending, check the website for more info.
undisclosed forest, near Võsu
Have you ever been to a psytrance rave? The music makes for a challenging listen, but if it’s your thing Manatargaq is pulling together a number of European psytrance DJs for a show that’s located, with last minute change and secrecy typical of these types of gatherings, in a forest they’ll bus you to. If you like the darkest, trippiest and least commercial form of trance music and arguably the most true to what trance was when it debuted in the early 90s, you should go. Just be sure to check the website and perhaps email the organizer to see if the venue hasn’t changed again at the last minute. Tickets: 175 krooni (€11.20)
former Tõrva North airbase, Tõrva
For those with more mainstream tastes in electronic music, there’s the Airport Jam this Friday which takes place in an abandoned Soviet military airbase. Cool, right? The two-day festival features Sidney Samson, Katana, commercial house and even a dubstep stage. Tickets: 400 krooni (€25) for both days
Another indie rock festival, not that there’s anything wrong with that, will bring a number of international groups with small names but big talent to Estonia this weekend. The festival takes place all over the place, so check the website for more info.