Record Turnout for “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival

Record Turnout for “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival
Mārtiņš Otto, Riga 2014
The “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light, which continued from the 14th through 18th of November as part of the “Riga 2014” Programme, was visited by about 500,000 people – an absolute attendance record for the festival.

The organisers of the festival are grateful to all participants in the festival, especially those who took part in the “Riga Carnival” public participation campaign, responding to the call for creating light installations at their homes to make the entire city brighter during the festival.

In total, more than a hundred people participated in the “Riga Carnival” campaign, but judging from what we have observed, the actual number must have been much higher, which means that not all of these light installations were registered at the official festival website.

This is the first time such public participation campaign is organised during the “Staro Rīga” festival, and the response it has generated gives us hope that the campaign could become integral part of the festival in the future.

On the festival’s website, visitors could give marks to the light objects participating in the “Riga Carnival” campaign. The most popular light objects were “365 Nanometres to Enlightenment”, created by the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Latvia, and the “Beam Warmly!” object created by “Lattelecom”, the main partner of “Riga 2014”, which marked a new WiFi hotspot near the bus station at the Cabinet of Ministers and Riga Regional Court building.

Participants in this year’s festival of light were acclaimed light artists from Europe and the world, who agree that the festival in Riga has given them new invaluable experience and inspiration, and praise the artistic and organisational qualities of “Staro Rīga 2014”, as well as the international dimension of the festival and the patriotic component, which was particularly apparent as the festival drew to a close.

On the closing day of the festival, the November 18th Independence Day of Latvia, a special Sun Symbol was created at the Daugava Embankment with the help of festival visitors holding candles, to create the “Staro Rīga 2014” object “My Latvia”.

“Lattelecom”, the main co-operation partner of the “Staro Rīga 2014” festival, set up a new WiFi hotspot at the bus and trolley-bus stop near the Cabinet of Ministers and Riga Regional Court building, meant for the visitors to the festival. This in addition to the more than 1,000 free WiFi hotspots in Riga – the European capital of free WiFi. On the other hand, the “1188” directory assistance, as usual, created an online map of all “Staro Rīga 2014” exhibits, which was convenient to use also in mobile phones and tablet computers.

Insurance company ERGO, the official insurance partner of “Riga 2014” and a supporter of the main cultural events in Latvia this year, was the insurer for this and other key events in the European Capital of Culture programme of Riga.

The “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light is financed by the Riga City Council, the festival’s partner “Lattelecom” and other co-operation partners, the “Connecting Cities” network of the European Union’s programme “Culture 2007-2013”, and the EEA/Norway Financial Instrument in Latvia. The festival is organised by the “Riga 2014” foundation.

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