Kometa is an open-air festival, a social and cultural experiment which invites to “see the invisible” and practice freedom through music, dance, lectures, workshops, circus performances and talks. It takes place from 7 to 9 July in Daugavgrīva Fortress, situated on a star-shaped island on the outskirts of Riga, near the Baltic sea.
On Sunday, the festival will traditionally be open free of charge to all and in particular to the local communities, seniors and families with children.
Offering as diverse and unique festival experience as the last year, this year’s festival will be set out in different inter-connected villages: Academy, Aware House, Biesentales Starcamp, Circus, Dreams Cinema, Higgs Boson, Nomade Temple, and the World.
PROGRAMME OVERVIEW 2017:
Through lectures, workshops, reading zone, night journeys and open mic Komēta Academy will challenge you to look at spaces, relations and concepts that are not usually visible. You might be challenged to step out of your comfort zone, but – is your comfort zone really comfortable to begin with?
Aware House is a village where the seemingly invisible techno scene from Georgia, Palestine, Latvia and elsewhere will collide in a 40-hour non-stop dancing experience. Put on your most comfortable shoes!
Biesentales Starcamp at Komēta will be co-created by Biesentales community of artists, musicians and craftsmen residing by a magic forest-lake near Berlin. A community of some forty people will come to Latvia bringing with them a sound sytem, tents, light installations and musicians to share with the Latvian public not only a nicely fitted-out village, their special vibe and music, but also insight in how to make the impossible possible.
Circus Village will be a colorful polyphony of established and upcoming contemporary circus artists who unite specially for Kometa Circus Village in order to create site-specific circus performances, as well as each of the participants will perform their own solo show, and organize workshops open to anyone attending the Circus Village.
Higgs Boson village will be a place where musical instruments meet thoughts, sounds – breath and body – space. It will be a musical improvisation on matter that will be present in the air, audience or in the sky above.
And it doesn’t matter where the roots of these musicians lie, as they will meet in equator where the sun shines right above their heads.
No classes, no brands, no rules, only live music.
Nomade Temple will be a portal in time and space where the past meets the future, where the organic meets the electronic, where slower contemplative beats meet wild dancing, where South American musical heritage meets modern production techniques. It will offer a fascinating glimpse into this emerging scene with notable acts from as far as Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, USA, Columbia and closer performing live and spinning DJ sets characterized by hybrid styles as varied and exotic as Andes-step, aya tech, cumbia digital, chill rave, slouse, keta-pop, sloth-disco, jungle boogie etc.
Sharing physical space with the Academy, the World Stage will be a representation of the world map drawn by musicians. This border-hopping, genre-defying stage will host bands and acts of a wild array of backgrounds, geographies and genres – from folk to afro, from bossa nova to tribal beats, and anything in between and beyond.
It will be a place where the space between pictures, sounds, words and time is born, captured and broken. Various manifestations will come together to create vivid, modern, aesthetic collaborations, all freely accessible on the transmedia-platform VOIIAGE. We will be questioning preconceived ways of being in ourselves and the world surrounding us while exploring a kind of cyber-spiritism.
The aim of the festival is to revive the Daugavgriva fortress as a place of culture and thinking and to stimulate public discussions about its future development.
The Daugavgriva fortress is the only construction of this type of fortification and one of the most significant military heritage sites in Latvia. It is a unique national monument, which dates back to the 17th century, but it has been neglected for years. Although institutions acknowledge that the fortress must be preserved, first, as state property and, secondly, as a cultural heritage, still its long-term development has not been a priority of any institution.
Since the beginning of 2014, a local non-governmental organization Bolderaja Group has been actively involved in the ideological revival and practical management of the fortress. Other organizations have also taken part in bringing life in the fortress by organizing concerts, movie evenings, White Night and Museum Night events. However, these separate events have not had the necessary capacity to draw the public’s attention to the fort and to stimulate debate about its long-term development.
The Kometa Festival has been widely covered in the media already in its first year. It received very good feedback from visitors and involved artists. Kometa becomes a unique example of the cooperation between the governmental and non-governmental sectors, the city and the private sector.
The Kometa is a unique festival because it offers cultural content with the potential to have a lasting impact on visitors after the festival. Festival encourages thinking, analyzing, evaluating as well as acting and promoting community-building, which in the current local and global political and social situation is likely to become more important than ever.
We dare to think that once humans will be more than consumers and polluters of this planet. We want to learn from nature where everything is in balance. We want to live in peace and harmony with the Earth, so we create Kometa festival in line with the following principles:
- No disposable plastic and waste
There is no garbage in nature. We want to use this as an inspiration for managing the festival’s waste. We sort the waste. We avoid creating waste and we are composting on the spot from fallen leaves and food leftovers.
- Organic food
Ecology of mind starts from the stomach. Food production is today one of the greatest contributors to environmental pollution, and we want to tackle this challenge by offering food produced without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and food produced by local farmers. Our mission is to feed people while taking care of farmers and rural development, animal welfare, our health and the health of this planet.
- Investing in the island’s infrastructure
We do everything to build, not to rent. Our infrastructure is built from recycled or donated materials. Stages, toilets, showers, etc. can be used for other events organized by local community, as well as facilitate the construction of next Kometa festivals.
- Living on the island
Put up your tent wherever you want to.
- Public transport
We encourage everyone to come by public transport or share a taxi. Riding a bike to the festival can be dangerous because the only route connecting the Island to Riga is narrow and with intense traffic. Cars are not allowed in the territory of the festival and the festival will not organize a special parking lot. The nearest unguarded parking places are within a 10-minute walk from the island.
- No advertising
When was the last time you did not see any ads for three days? There will be no banners in the festival area. All caterers and bars will lose their Riga’s identity. We will thank our supporters using our website and printed materials.
- Territory improvement
Each year we orgnize two or more collective work session to tidy up the territory by engaging local residents and businesses. In 2016, over 250 people put in at least one day into bettering the island.
We started this exciting trip last year. In spite of many skeptics, the first festival was organized in five months, and all visitors and participants became the testimony that our vision was possible. People were relaxed and open, the collaboration between artists materialized, and Kometa became a 72-hour session of sharing knowledge, wisdom and positive vibrations.
We welcomed artists from Mali, Ghana, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Argentina, Israel, France, Germany, USA, Latvia, and Lithuania. Some names:
Ajukaja, DakhaBrakha, Dorian Wood, Rocky Dawuni, OY, Sig, Yemen Blues, Vieux Farka Toure, Intiche, Noema, M. Rux and many others.
Guided by French independent film director Vincent Moon we allowed ourselves to immerse in the magic of religious ritual and music. In Kometa Academy we took part in discussions about a wide range of topics – death, sustainability, history, meditation, feminism, art, and politics. Together with architects and city planners in laboratory Zvaigzne, we created ideas for improving the urban environment in Riga.
The Kometa festival also received good reviews in media and from visitors and was nominated for the Latvian Public Broadcasting service (LSM) Culture Award as a Surprise of 2016.