LAMPA programme in the spotlight

In just a month, on June 28 and 29, the annual LAMPA Conversation festival will take place in Cēsis Castle Park. In terms of content and number of events, this will be the biggest festival in LAMPA’s history – more than 350 events over two days, offering a total of 700 hours of discussions and activities. This year LAMPA will be even more dynamic as it tries out new discussion formats, thinks green and trains its own “courage muscle” and that of others as well. Entry to the festival is free!


The theme of the LAMPA 2019 Conversation Festival is ‘courage’, emphasising courage as a precondition that helps not only the individual but also society as a whole to develop. Having the courage to be open-minded, listen to different opinions and welcome surprises that a conversation might offer – these are the only criteria for festival-goers.

“This year LAMPA will strengthen its courage and invite others to do so as well. We will clarify what is Latvia’s ‘courage DNA’ – how courageous we really are and what we should work on in order to strengthen our courage,” says festival director Ieva Morica. “In order to encourage people to join us in Cēsis at the end of June, and of course with the greatest piety towards our ancestors’ wisdom, we have taken a few Latvian proverbs that otherwise extol modesty and humbleness and transformed them into more courageous sayings. Thus, we believe that ‘you can never have too much of a good thing’, ‘he who jumps high, stays up’, and ‘fear may have big eyes, but courage has a big heart’! We want to show that, by making merely a small change in people’s attitude towards their regular opinions and ideas, we can increase the amount of courage in society and in each of ourselves. We hope that the approximately 30 festival events dedicated specifically to courage will also help in this endeavour.”

Festival themes – for all ages and all interests

The LAMPA programme has been created by more than 300 non-governmental organisations, state administration institutions, entrepreneurs, media, institutions of higher education, local government institutions, foreign embassies and international organisations as well as active individuals who have something to say. The festival programme is therefore especially rich this year and invites us to look at what’s happening around us from a variety of perspectives, even very unusual ones. At LAMPA, expect courageous conversations about Latvia’s development, the environment, personal growth and happiness as well as about how to live and feel well (for youngsters as well as those over 50). This year, introverts have been taken into particular consideration.

LAMPA events will touch on a wide range of topics: spiritual health, regional development, mobbing, taxes, safety, contemporary art, the media, diversity in nature, technologies and other topical issues for individuals, Latvia and Europe. Letters from prison, stories about diversity and a broad range of cultural events will set the minds of festival-goers thinking. This year the beloved Political Roast will be complemented by the Politicians’ Disco, in which six politicians will publicly share their taste in music.

LAMPA’s Short Circuit Youth Programme (“Īssavienojums”) will also be special, filling the festival with bright young minds and exciting ideas for the future. Twenty-three young people have been preparing this programme together with the LAMPA organisers, and, in addition to the regular conversation format, they will offer a variety of games, concerts, a nighttime hike, a youth media pop-up studio and a special orienteering trail. And as always, for the very youngest festival-goers, we offer the miniLAMPA programme with entertaining and educational activities.

In order to not become overwhelmed by all of the opportunities and make LAMPA a more personalised experience, the “My Programme” tool on the festival’s website allows festival-goers to select events that interest them the most and follow their personalised schedule on their phones.

New this year at LAMPA

“Only that which changes will endure” – the LAMPA team is aware of this verity, and therefore it courageously welcomes innovations to the festival. One of these is searching for new conversation formats. This year the festival introduces hour-long events in addition to the usual one-and-a-half-hour conversation model.

LAMPA also wishes to revive a century-old tradition in a new form – in the festival’s central square the Open Mic (“Brīvais rūpors”) will let each and every festival-goer summon the courage to speak publicly, just as people did in the early 20th century on improvised stages, and express his or her opinion about any topic under the sun. There are only three rules: no hate speech, no selling, and no longer than three minutes.

This year the festival is also taking several significant steps towards decreasing its ecological footprint. Together with its partners, the festival organisers are further developing the event’s existing sustainable solutions and implementing new ones, such as recycling of waste, a deposit system for drinking glasses, and sustainable planning in stage and tent setup, refraining from single-use decorations, banners, balloons, etc.

LAMPA will be green as well as inclusive: the festival grounds have been prepared so that they are as accessible as possible for people in wheelchairs or with reduced mobility. The festival will feature a sign language workshop with the goal of expanding our range of conversation partners; some events will provide simultaneous translation into sign language. With the help of the Tilde Balss technology, one of the festival stages will also provide speech recognition and transcription.

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