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10 Unmissable Summer Events In Vilnius, Lithuania
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10 Unmissable Summer Events In Vilnius, Lithuania

Picture of Diana Condrea
Updated: 9 February 2017
Vilnius is a city where great art and cultural events are the highlights of a busy and inspiring summer calendar. If you are planning to visit Lithuania be sure to include on your list the capital’s diverse and unmissable music festivals and celebrations. This is our guide to 10 of the best cultural events which take place in the summer.
Culture Night
Courtesy Culture Night

Vilnius Festival

Vilnius is the place to be for all classical music enthusiasts, who can attend one ‘of the most prestigious, solid and versatile classical music events’ in this country. The diverse program of the Vilnius Festival features both Lithuanian and international soloists and orchestras, spiced up with renaissance and baroque music and jazz concerts.

Let There Be Night

Starting from the belief that ‘darkness allows to immerse yourself into culture, let the imagination run free and enjoy the processes around you’, Culture Night invites visitors to its 200 performances planned in just one night, from dusk to dawn. A free-entrance event, Culture Night is a great chance to discover a different side of Vilnius, one in which culture and art are the main guides of the city.

Art Vilnius

Art Vilnius was conceived as an international contemporary art fair. It is a great opportunity to see exhibitions from galleries from all over Europe, from Georgia, Romania and Ukraine to France, Russia, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The Feast of Saint John

Preserving the magic of old traditions, the Feast of Saint John is a summer solstice celebration that brings wreaths floating down the Neris River and colourful decorations in Serikiskiu and Verkiai Parks. Also known as ‘Jonines’ or ‘Rasos’, the Feast focuses on pagan times, when Midsummer Days were defining moments of the year. A one-of-a-kind manifestation, this particular event is a perfect way to observe contemporary and ancient culture blending in an original celebration of the Baltic summer.

Crowning of King Mindaugas – Day of Statehood

A special anniversary for all Lithuanians, the Day of Statehood commemorates the founder of the state, Duke Mindaugas, a legendary figure of Lithuania’s history. On this occasion, locals and tourists can attend special demonstrations during the ‘Days of Live Archaeology’ and also numerous crafts exhibitions and parades, all while enjoying traditional music concerts performed around the capital.

World Lithuanian Song Festival

Song festivals are a national tradition in Lithuania, and this particular event goes back 90 years to 1924, continuing in different forms even between the wars and during the Soviet occupation. An ‘overall national cultural phenomenon and a continual purposeful creative process spiritually equal to ancient Greek Olympic Games’, the World Lithuanian Song Festival is held every four years. The event is structured in three main parts: a day of dance, an afternoon of ethnographic and folk music groups, and a day of song, with participants from Lithuania and all over the world and thousands of spectators. The Day of Songs is the most impressive part, with performances of over 14,000 singers from 400 choirs.

Kristopher Summer Festival

Kristopher Summer Festival is a two month music festival, the largest of this kind in Vilnius and one of the most impressive in the Baltic States. The festival promises a fabulous voyage across cultures with thematic performances from Romania, Georgia, Spain, Africa, Chile or France and world-renowned international artists. Previous years have seen the likes of flamenco guitarist Rafael Cortes, accordion player Martynas Levickis and jazz singers Vincent Peirani and Aga Zaryan.

Trakai Fanfare Week

The perfect music event for brass bands fans, the Fanfare Week takes places in the small and scenic town of Trakai. Trakai Fanfare Week distinguishes itself through its educational component with ‘brass, percussion and fanfare orchestra‘s masterclasses led by leading educators in their fields’ such as conductor Bert Langeler, saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas, trumpet player Tomas Gricius percussionist Bo Håkanson or jazz pianist Dmitrij Golovanov. The professors and their students give free concerts each night during the event.

Bartholomeu Fair

There’s nothing better than a festival like Bartholomeu Fair to take us back in time even if just for a day. A fair of arts, crafts and guilds traditions with a Renaissance-inspired theme, this event celebrates Saint Bartholomeu Day, a tradition stretching back to 1495 that honors the first guild of Vilnius, the goldsmiths. Nowadays, the fair revives tradition with live craftsmen demonstrations from weavers, cobblers, stained-glass makers, soap makers and blacksmiths, among many other craftspeople from a by-gone era.