Lithuania — Festivals and Events
Like its neighboring Baltic states, Lithuania is quite a festive nation. However, this probably comes down to the fact that before 1991, it was part of the Soviet Bloc. Many of the festivals today are only 20 years old, beginning shortly after the country’s independence from Russia. Three days of fun and excitement are found at July’s Sea Festival, which boasts music, food, and plenty of performances. For a unique experience, visit Lithuania during May to find out what Street Music Day is all about.
The Klaipeda city’s Sea Festival occurs every July, and is as the busiest and largest summer celebration in the country. The event lasts for three full days and sees more than half a million people flock to the port to dance and listen to music. People from all over Europe make their way here every year, so advance reservations are important.
Since Lithuania’s first independence from communist Russia in 1991, the Kaunas Jazz Festival has lured thousands of jazz lovers from around the world.
Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival
Started in 1994 by the Klaipeda University’s Jazz Music Department, the Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival is one of the city’s most acclaimed attractions. Held in the warm month of June, the event is free, and music is usually played at some sort of open-air concert venue.
Held annually in August, the warmer weather is a backdrop to good beats. Thousands of visitors come to Lithuania for the music, but stay for a range of other entertainment options, including drawing, spas, workshops, and dancing.
Blues Nights is a festival held at the beginning of July, in the out-of-the-way town of Varniai, on Lukstas Lake. The beautiful shores are transformed into a modern Woodstock-type landscape, with tents blanketing the area with fireworks and games like basketball.
Pazaislis Music Festival
First established in 1996, the Pazaislis Music Festival often ranks among Europe’s best events, drawing even the current Lithuanian president in attendance. Both modern and classical tunes are fused together in Kaunas and other cities around Klaipeda.
Vilnius International Film Festival
The Vilnius International Film Festival is among Europe’s most popular film events. Held each March, this majestic celebration brings together avid film buffs, critics, producers, and actors from across the continent and globe. It began in 1995, but quickly rose to prominence, attracting more than 50,000 people every year. The festival is also held in other cities around Lithuania.
Street Music Day
Held on the first Saturday in May, Street Music Day is one of the largest events in the country. Parks, gardens, streets, concert halls, and schools radiate with music, making it one of the most memorable days on the Lithuanian calendar.