In 2015 the Festival tradition celebrates its 20th anniversary – during this period of time these Festivals have been held in all the states involved in the tradition. In the anniversary year Latvia is entitled to organize it once again. Members of the Festival - about 8000 singers from the Festival member states - Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland. It is planned to invite as Festival participants also the Latvian diaspora choirs from Europe and other countries, as well as to invite choirs from Italy (Presidency of the European Union before Latvia) and Luxembourg (Presidency of the European Union after Latvia). The tradition of the Festival was established in 1995 with the aim of bringing together amateur choirs from Nordic and Baltic countries, cultivating the tradition of singing together that is characteristic of Song and Dance Festivals, including a cappella performance, which until then has been characteristic only of the Baltic countries, and to facilitate the cross-cultural exchange.
The first Festival took place in Latvia, in Riga. The distinguished conductor Imants Kokars is the author of the Festival idea, bringing together almost 6,000 singers from the Nordic and Baltic countries. In the following years the Festivals were organized in Gotland, Sweden (1997), Skien, Norway (2000), Klaipeda, Lithuania (2002), Tartu, Estonia (2008), Reykjavik, Iceland (2010), Helsinki, Finland (2012).
Taking into account the fact that during the period from January 1 to June 30, 2015 Latvia holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, it is scheduled to organize this Festival as the final event of the public diplomacy and Culture programme of the Presidency in Latvia.
‘Latvia is a superpower of song. This is demonstrated by the Song Festival tradition with its more than 140-year long history during which Latvians have cultivated a cappella choir singing at a very high level. And every five years, meeting in the Latvian Song and Dance Celebration, there is created one of the most sonorous united choirs in the world. The name of Latvia is regularly heard in the world in connection with the outstanding achievements of our choirs in various international competitions. In summer of 2014 the World Choir Games took place in Latvia. Riga hosted 20,000 choir singers from all around the world. And also next year each member of the Festival will have the opportunity to experience the wonder created by thousands of voices in the united choir on the Grand Stage of Mežaparks‘ the organizers of the Festival invite.
The preparation and organization of the Festival planned in 2015 is done by the Latvian Ministry of Culture and the National Centre for Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat of the Latvian Presidency in the EU Council, Ministry of Interior, the State Police and the State Fire and Rescue Service, the Ministry of Health and Emergency Medical Services, Latvian local authorities, Latvian Television and Latvian Radio, non-governmental organizations, as well as the Nordic-Baltic organizations.