When the days in Lithuania brighten up and the spring rains wash off winter’s dust, we start getting ready for long evenings out in the fresh air. The stages of the street welcome those who leave the winter halls behind, singing, jazzing and strumming guitars. Art, design, folklore, Lindy hop, sutartinės, hot air balloons, and kids shouting with joy take to the streets. Reverberating with musical instruments and variegated voices, Street Music Day is expanding out of Vilnius – to other parts of Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine, and with echoes in Georgia, England and Ireland. In Kaunas, the Hanseatic Days foster old traditions and knight fights, the bank of the Nemunas is bedecked with colourful kites, and runners, walkers, cyclists and weightlifters breathe in deeply. It’s impossible to resist the call of spring!
This is something you have to see! Every spring, hundreds of kites are launched into the sky. Their bright colours disperse in the green valley, flying over the Nemunas and the wonderful Gothic church that has stood next to the river for centuries. Everyone will find something to do here, with kite and aeroplane competitions, kite workshops, lotteries, concerts, entertainment, and a postcard post office for adults and children alike. You can get to the Between the Earth and the Sky festival that takes place every spring by car, or you can take a boat from Kulautuva or Kaunas.
Let’s meet on the third weekend of May. When our cities ring of music. Everyone who knows how to make music grabs an instrument and goes out into the streets. Children and adults, professionals and aspiring artists, with microphones or without, with drums, violins, harps, double bass, or DJ controllers. Classic and jazz, the rumble of African drums and the barely audible echo of a flute, electronic music and folklore, rock and sutartinės. The music draws you in, inviting you to submit yourself to the rhythm, to sing and dance, to join in an improvised percussion parade, or to sit on the cobblestone of the Old Town so you can close your eyes and dream. Originally held in Vilnius, Street Music Day has moved not only to other Lithuanian cities and towns, but to Lithuanian communities abroad as well. And Riga, Minsk, Tbilisi and Dublin have followed Lithuania’s example.
Kaunas celebrates its birthday with a bang in spring. A medieval city appears around the Kaunas Castle, with camps for knights and riders and tents featuring old crafts. The sound of music, lights, excitement and smiles fill the Old Town. The traditional Kaunas Hanseatic Days are a great opportunity to dive into the river of time that flows through the ages. It is a place where medieval and ultra-modern rhythms intertwine. It is a time when the parties in Kaunas go on until dawn, and when the days are filled with adventure – street dance battles, medieval tournaments, strongman competitions, biker shows, unique educational courses in Family Meadow, and surprises waiting for you around every corner.
Kaunas would lose half of its spring charm and jazz lovers would lose the entire season if Kaunas Jazz, the traditional international jazz festival, suddenly didn’t take place. But that hasn’t happened in nearly three decades, and fans of good jazz flood into Kaunas to listen to their favourite music. Jazz takes over the city streets as the festival brings together world-renowned jazz stars and critics. Lithuania’s best jazz musicians take the stage, as do our young performers, for whom this is a great chance to get their feet wet in the waters of global jazz. Anyone who has ever been here will talk about the extraordinary atmosphere of the festival for a long time to come.
.Inspired by the nature awakening in spring, people also came out of the homes and hold one of the largest and most beautiful fairs – Saint Casimir's Fair (Kaziuko muge). The three-day event held in major cities of Lithuania turns their central squares into a colourful feast of verba (Palm Sunday flowers), adorn with pot paintings and wood carvings, and flavours of delicious bagels. The fair is filled with songs, dances, voices and echoes with good emotions and contagious laugh – check out the festival at the end of winter and celebrate together.
The largest and most important film event in Lithuania will be inviting viewers to cinemas in 2019 for the 24th time. Over the course of two weeks, the festival presents more than 200 short and feature-length films, including both strong debuts and the work of recognised masters. The country’s most important film premieres also take place at the festival every year.
Kino Pavasaris is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the latest trends in the cinema world, to see the most popular films, to interact with recognised film-makers, and to meet and exchange experiences with like-minded people.