The conversation festival ‘’LAMPA’’, held last weekend, attracted 3500 festival goers attending 60 different events, proving that a festival focused on discussion and debate is indeed viable. Festival organizers have announced that ‘’LAMPA’’ will be held again next summer.
“”The events taking place during the conversation festival ‘’LAMPA’’, and the audience’s reaction to them, is a reflection of society itself. Politicians had the opportunity to interact with festival goers in a relaxed, casual atmosphere, and engage in lively, uncensored discussions. Festival goers had the opportunity to engage in the type of conversations they had been yearning for. There was something for everyone – be it a conversation about whistle-blowers, or on the advertising market in Latvia. “ stated festival director Ieva Morica, commenting on the unique festival format and the civic engagement opportunities it presented. Morica is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Open Society ‘’DOTS’’.
The first ever political roast in Latvia was met with thundering applause and ovations. Comedians Edgars Bāliņš and Rūdolfs Kugrēns from ‘’Comedy Latvia””, and publicists Anete Konste and Elīna Kolāte, from the blog ‘’Texxti”” together with TV and radio personality Gustavs Terzēns roasted Latvia’s bravest politicians – Ingmārs Līdaka, Lolita Čigāne, Roberts Zīle and Sergejs Dolgopolovs. According to the organizers – a political roast is the next step in creating a healthier political culture in Latvia. “”It seems that this could be the first time since the re-establishment of independence that the electorate has honoured politicians with a standing ovation!” remarked Ieva Morica.
One of the brave – Member of Parliament Ingmars Līdaka agrees. He was one of the few politicians who agreed to subject themselves to a public roasting. ‘’Laughter is a test of maturity – only mature nations, mature societies are able to laugh at themselves. And laughing at your own elected representatives is the same as laughing at yourself! It is a pleasure to see, that with our participation we have contributed at least a tiny bit to this growing maturity in society.”” remarked Līdaka, sharing his pleasure with participation in the political roast.
The anchor events of the conversation festival ‘’LAMPA’’ were the former prime ministers’ discussion “What would I have done differently?” with Ivars Godmanis, Indulis Emsis, Māris Gailis and Andris Bērziņš, the discussion “The Anatomy of Latvian Values”’, gathering representatives of all parliamentary parties, the #idejasLatvijai discussion “’How can schools help those children, whose parents are unable to or don’t know how to help?, and the political roast. These events gathered large crowds and prompted vigorous debate during the festival itself, as well as in social media, where observers shared brutal criticisms as well as heartfelt complements.
Organizers of the conversation festival ‘’LAMPA’’ have already promised a new festival next summer in the scenic Cēsis castle park. The aim of the conversation festival ‘’LAMPA” is to promote civic engagement and to launch a new tradition, creating a new platform for conversations, discussions and debates on issues of importance to Latvia. The three festival stages offered a venue for conversation between former and current politicians, media representatives, artists, thinkers and experts from all walks of life.
The initiators of the conversation festival ‘’LAMPA” were the Foundation for Open Society ‘’DOTS”” and Swedbank. The event was organized by ‘’DOTS", the advertising agency ‘’Armadillo’’, the communication management agency ‘’Deep White”” and events agency ‘’Chocolate Events””.
Admission was free and will be free again next year.