The eighth LAMPA Conversation Festival, on the 1st and 2nd of July, will shine like a beacon in Cēsis with more than 250 events on 33 stages. It focuses on topics relevant to society on practical and philosophical issues of individual and national importance, from crisis preparedness and election choices to samurai teachings and respect for one's own body. As always, the festival will be available free of charge.
"At a time when the war in Europe is a hand span away, the mission of the LAMPA Conversation Festival is more important than ever. Democracy, freedom of expression and dialogue are the values that form the basis of our society, and we must protect them together. So, we invite everyone to meet and talk! Conversations allow you to better understand other people's viewpoints as well as your own position, but they are not intended to prove your point of view is right or reach a consensus. A good conversation allows you to come up with new solutions and insights, reminding you that exchanges are important. Sometimes it's important to know what not to say and where to draw the line. The art of conversation is what we learn together from year to year, and we invite everyone who values good and dignified conversation to join," says Ieva Morica, Director of the LAMPA Conversation Festival.
This year, as in previous years, the LAMPA Conversation Festival will offer a rich program in Latvian, Russian and English, but the range of event formats will be even more diverse than before. In addition to discussions and the now traditional events like the Politicians' disco and the Politicians Roast, the women's stand-up about men will generate a few laughs, and you can warm up for the day with queer morning yoga. Or, what about environmental issue questions in a speed dating round with green activists? Try your hand at various games - mind puzzles on sustainability and sexual health or role-play about bullying and empathy. At the same time, every visitor will be able to take part in a workshop about the professions of the future, as well to heartily speak their mind in the newly created LAMPA Conversation Site on education, democracy and other issues, and take part in a special round table discussion for men about the role of the father in the family.
This year too, the festival will be able to find topics that appeal to every taste and interest offered by the organizers of 220 events. Some of these events will address issues that have become particularly acute since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, like security, freedom of expression, reducing resource consumption and achieving energy independence from Russia and many others. They include an opportunity to look at what is happening through the eyes of war reporters.
Many event organizers will invite you to the Sustainability Stage hosted by the festival's co-founder Swedbank. A wide range of topics will be offered - what is impact investment, can we afford not to incinerate waste, what can we expect from futuristic agriculture, what do contemporary art and ecology have in common, how can we resolve eco-conflicts, and how to avoid green-splaining.
Furthermore, the festival will also not lack practical discussions on the everyday and, therefore, very crucial topics ranging from inclusive kindergartens to the inclusion of former prisoners into the community, the integration of Russian-speaking youth, the relationship between LGBT people and Christianity, sexuality in old age and adolescent mental health. LAMPA will also cover various issues related to the economy, current technological issues, educational topics and more.
In preparation for the 14th Saeima elections this autumn, LAMPA will present a number of thematic events - an overview of the mess brewed up by the 13th Saeima, a discussion on which candidates to "swipe right" or, election tinder", women's representation in politics and who needs elections anyway!
A special range of questions at LAMPA will be dedicated to life in rural Latvia in cooperation with the British Council Representation in Latvia on the Regional Stage. It will address issues such as the benefits of administrative-territorial reform for the population, the challenges for re-immigrants to realize their dreams in their homeland, and talk about LGBTQIA + communities in the regions. It will also stimulate a discussion on what is the cost of the vital role of volunteering or active participation in the local community in small places.
The smallest visitors of the festival have been thought of too. This year, miniLAMPA returns to the festival with a diverse program for children who will be able to get busy in the space information centre and watch theatre performances. There will be engaging activities for children on other stages as well. For example, in the Temida tent, they will be able to empathise and draw their own conclusions about the guilt or innocence that is apparent in the improvised bunny trial presided over by real judges, prosecutors and advocates. This year, LAMPA will also have an exciting program for young people with open microphones, a film evening and sustainability challenges in food, fashion and green themes. This will be shoulder to shoulder with influencers and social media content creators.
On the festival website, it's possible to create your own program using the tool "My program". There you can select events according to the category you like and create a list of current events in a simple, transparent way, which can also be easily viewed on your phone.
While enjoying the opportunity to meet in person in Cēsis, at the same time, most of the events will be available live on the festival's website. Additionally, the tradition of gathering together to watch the festival event live from a common venue will continue. There will be 22 communal watching places in different parts of Latvia, where people are invited to gather and watch live broadcasts of the festival events and hold talks about them.
The festival program is available at www.festivalslampa.lv and, in preparation for your visit to LAMPA, we invite you to download the festival app on Google Play and App Store (available only in Latvian).