March 17, 2008
Organizers of the 2008 Latvian Song and Dance Festival this summer in Rīga must guarantee that more concert tickets will be available, the Ministry of Culture has announced.
Culture Minister Helēna Demakova, in a March 17 meeting with Song and Dance Celebration Office head Romāns Vanags, said organizers must consider how to add seating—including changing stage design and organization.
Doing so could add up to 4,000 more tickets to the July 5 opening concert and another 4,000 to the July 12 closing concert, Vanags told Demakova, according to a Ministry of Culture press release. An additional 1,000 tickets could be made available to each of the July 10 and 11 grand folk dance performances.
The additional tickets could go on sale in May.
Tickets all but sold out March 10—the first day they went on sale at Biļešu Paradīze box offices—to the popular opening and closing concerts at the Mežaparks open-air stage. Tickets also became scarce for the grand folk dance performances.
Rumors surfaced quickly of scalpers buying up large blocs of tickets. But according to the Ministry of Culture, the majority of sales to the most popular concerts were in small groups of less than 10 tickets.
Demakova, according to the press release, wanted to know why ticket sales were not limited. To do so, Vanags replied, would have discriminated against people who live far away from regional box offices and who often send one person to buy tickets for a number of persons.
When additional tickets become available, Demakova added, residents of Liepāja should be given an advantage. Because of technical problems at Biļešu Paradīze box offices, many in the area could not buy tickets on March 10.
Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000-2012 he was editor of the website.