First River Daugava Festivity in 1979
In 1979, the Museum of the River Daugava (then the Dole History Museum) decided to organise the River Daugava Festival. The event was a great success, thanks to the involvement of many creative and competent personalities. Afterwards, the director of the museum was reprimanded by the authorities, because the festival did not have any Soviet content. Items in the collection reflect the festival and its political aftermath. The museum was formed in the 1970s in order to preserve the archaeological and cultural heritage of this part of the River Daugava, as well as Dole Island, which was partly flooded after the construction of the Riga HPP. It is located at the former Dole manor building.
Dolesmuiža, Latvia 2121
- The 1st River Daugava Festivity
Kilmė ir kultūrinė veikla
The collection of items about the First River Daugava Festival reflects the organisation, course and the aftermath of the event, organised by the Museum of the River Daugava (then the Dole History Museum) on 5 August 1979. In the 1970s, the museum was a branch of the Turaida Museum Reserve, but in practice it came under the Riga District Department of Culture. Due to its comparatively unimportant status in the eyes of the authorities, its staff had some freedom of operation that was not possible in larger museums. In 1979, Lilita Vanaga assembled all available material about how the River Daugava is reflected in folklore. As a result, the idea emerged that this material could be presented to the wider public in the form of the River Daugava Festival. Daina Lasmane, the director of the museum, asked the poet Knuts Skujenieks, who lived in Salaspils, to write a scenario. Uģis Brikmanis, a young and aspiring director of mass performances, was invited to stage the performance, but the visual side was elaborated by the painter Juris Toropins. One of the advisers was the ethnomusicologist Vilis Bendorfs. The festival was organised by many creative and competent cultural personalities, although they did not belong to the cultural elite of Soviet Latvia. There were no political overtones in the performance, it was pure folklore. The event was a great success, but afterwards Lasmane had to answer accusations by the Ministry of Culture and the Riga District Latvian Communist Party Committee that the event had not been properly submitted for approval by the Ministry of Culture. Although the authorities seemed to be very angry, no serious allegations of what was done wrong were put forward, and Lasmane was only reprimanded, a rather mild punishment. In fact, there were no serious grounds for a reprimand, because she did not breach any rules, and acted within her responsibilities. What could not be said overtly by the authorities was that ‘not the right’ people were involved in the organisation of the festival. Perhaps there were several reasons for the discontent of the authorities. The first was that the scenario was written by Knuts Skujenieks, who was a former political prisoner, and had been imprisoned in Mordovia in 1962-1969. The second was characteristic of the suspicious attitude of the Latvian SSR authorities towards folklore, and especially the ‘authentic’ folklore represented at the festival by the folk group Skandinieki. The third reason was that there were no attempts to Sovietise the repertoire of the festival. The event had no overt political message, and that was the reason why it looked rather suspicious to the authorities. An additional reason for the wrath of the authorities could have been that participants in summer courses for Latvian émigré youth were present, due to an initiative taken by the Committee for Cultural Relations with Compatriots Abroad. The festival looked too un-Soviet, which was perhaps enjoyed by émigré youth, but not by their minders from the KGB. The next River Daugava Festival was held under the close supervision of the authorities. Although it was organised mainly by the same people (except Skujenieks), it was described by Lasmane as ‘a failure’, because changes in the repertoire and scenario, which was now closer to the standard approved by the authorities, created an absolutely different atmosphere. Nevertheless, the Daugava River Festival continued, and when the movement towards the restoration of national independence started, one of the first places where the national flag and anthem were publicly shown was at the River Daugava Festival. The idea of the River Daugava Festival was later borrowed by municipalities situated near the River Daugava.
Items in the First River Daugava Festival consist of photographs and slides reflecting the atmosphere and course of the festival. An explanatory letter from Daina Lasmane, the director of the Dole History Museum, to an official at the Latvian SSR Ministry of Culture about the First River Daugava Festival is also an important document, although it is only a small reflection of the real wrath of the authorities. These items are evidence, on one hand, of the very fine line between what was permitted and what was forbidden in Soviet Latvia; and, on other hand, they are proof of the efforts by creative personalities to cross these boundaries.
- fotografijos: 10-99
- rankraščiai (ego dokumentai, dienoraščiai, užrašai, laiškai, brėžiniai ir t.t.): 0-9
- taikomojo meno objektai (liaudies menas, puošyba, ir t.t.): 0-9
Asmuo (asmenys) svarbūs kolekcijai
- Rutka, Daina
Geografinė pastarojo meto veiklos aprėptis
- Lasmane, Daina
- Lasmane, Daina
- Vanaga, Lilita
Svarbūs įvykiai kolekcijos istorijoje
- vizitai tik susitarus
- Bleiere, Daina
Lasmane, Daina, interview by Bleiere, Daina , July 24, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Skujenieks, Knuts, interview by Bleiere, Daina , July 24, 2017, January 24, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Vanaga, Lilita, interview by Bleiere, Daina , July 23, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Rutka, Daina, interview by Bleiere, Daina , July 20, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Gailis, Zigmārs, interview by Bleiere, Daina , July 20, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection