Dear All,

The 7th International Folk Contest-Festival “The Flower of the Sun” (“Saulės Žiedas”) invites you to Šiauliai on the 30th June - 6th of July 2017; it is perhaps the only event of such kind in the Baltic region. Folk performers, singers, dancers, music players from all over the world and Lithuania - you are all welcome to the City of the Sun, as frequently Šiauliai is called!

Since the year 2017 has been announced the Year of National Costume in order to realize the historical value of Ethnographic Regions of Lithuania and importance of fostering singularities thereof, this great event, held in North Lithuania, is intended for ethnographic regions. During the festival “The Flower of the Sun” the city will celebrate the State Day (Coronation of King Mindaugas), because Šiauliai is located in between the largest two ethnographical regions of Lithuania.

The festival “The Flower of the Sun” is the only event in Šiauliai Region, included in the official list of events of International Organization of Folk Art IOV (UNESCO) and FIDAF.

For six days, the concerts, get-togethers, presentations of folklore from various countries, fairs of folk artists and craftsmen will take place in Šiauliai city and region. Other genres of music and visual arts will also find convenient spaces in our city. Unique expositions at museums and exhibition halls will be open for you.

The one and only sun shines to us - blooming flowers inspired by it are as unique and peculiar as the heritage of every culture - it inspires us for living and sharing the joy of today, for hopeful waiting for tomorrow... We hope the participants and guests of the contest-festival altogether enjoy the opportunity to express themselves and watch other participants’ performances, to experience many thoughtful, meaningful, and jolly moments.

We invite you to our City of the Sun!

ABOUT THE IDEA, PECULIARITY, AND PURPOSES OF THE INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE CONTEST-FESTIVAL "THE FLOWER OF THE SUN"

The exclusiveness and peculiarity of the event at the international level:

This contest, the only one in Šiauliai Region, is included in the official list of events of International Organization of Folk Art IOV (UNESCO) and FIDAF.
Only a small number of Folklore contests are organized in the world. This contest is one of a few events of such kind in the Eastern Europe.
This event is included into the list of priority cultural events of Šiauliai city and Šiauliai Region.
In the 6th International Contest-Festival "The Flower of the Sun" the participants will compete in 6 categories by introducing as wide range of folk performers as possible: from traditional folklore dancers, instrumental music, vocal groups, solo vocalists, instrumentalists, to stylized folk groups. Lithuanian artists will have an opportunity to participate not only in the competition programme, but also in the festival programme. It is based on both the authentic and authorialconcepts of folklore performance and creation.
The authoritative commission, evaluating the contest, containing known specialists of Lithuania and foreign countries, will help to solve the questions of folklore development, value and expression.
The prize fund of competition is planned to be more than 4000 Euros, while the Grand Prix will be 1500 Euros. Financial motivation and material incentive will enable the change of folk artists' value and self-esteem in the context of cultural and social life.
The International Contest-Festival provides the opportunity to represent and to demonstrate own uniqueness both the groups and soloists (I category: Traditional folklore groups of dancers, II: Stylized folklore groups of dancers, III: Instrumental music bands, IV: Traditional vocal bands, V: Solo vocalists, VI: Solo instrumentalists).

The exclusiveness and peculiarity of the project at Lithuanian level:

The aspect of art style. While still a rather strict aesthetic value of the polarization between the authentic and other folk styles in Lithuania prevails, this contest-festival helps to reveal their peculiarities in relation, rather than eliminating the "other". The priority is given to authentic arrangements in this event.

State, celebration dates. During the contest-festival Mindaugas Coronation day will be exclusively mentioned among the closing ceremonies of the festival.

It is one of the biggest, brightest and famous ethnic cultural events in Northern Lithuania and the whole country.

Purposes:

To develop, educate and promote miscellaneous sociocultural and economic development of Šiauliai Region.
To promote the idea of volunteering.
To develop the self-esteem of Šiauliai citizens.
To develop a positive image of Šiauliai Region in Lithuania and foreign countries.
To promote the interest of society and festival guests on the traditional culture of Lithuania.
To develop and promote cultural, interinstitutional co-operation, knowledge, dispersion, tourism of Northern Lithuania, and entrepreneurship.
To develop more qualitative, professional, discursive approach, by assessing the ethnic culture, its dispersion.
To create conditions for young artists to get knowledge and take over the traditions of folk, to promote the interest of youth on folklore.
To decrease the differences of culture dispersion between centre and regions.

Cooperation with business

Festival "The Flower of the Sun" appeared together with the establishment of oldest company in Lithuania – brewery “Gubernija” which celebrated 350th anniversary in 2015. During the first event of "The Flower of the Sun" after a long historical research it was officially announced that the brewery establishment date is the oldest among all still working companies. By organizing this event and exceptional decoration of all the town Siauliai, probably, for the first time proved that it is possible to create new, big and important cultural phenomenon directly cooperating with business. It’s joyful that this friendship is lasting till these days.

The brewery organized international bookplates (lot. ex-librīs) competition about company’s history, identity, individuality in a name of which folk festival “Gubernija. Saules Ziedas since 1665” was revealed. National values and sustainability of traditions were linked in this project.

Association "THE BALTS' CENTRE"

"The Balts' Centre" (further BC) was registered in Šiauliai in November 2002 and was set up in the premises of the Faculty of Humanities of Šiauliai University in March 2003. The BC is a public organisation, which in February 2004 was reconstituted into an association, uniting scholars, lecturers, cultural workers, other specialists and everyone, wishing to develop relations and implement joint projects with Latvians, study and increase awareness of the Balts' culture.

Key directions of the activities of the BC are:

to organise the celebrations of dates and other events that are siginificant to the Lithuanian and Latvian nations;
to accumulate information about the relations with Latvian and intermediate, searching for new cooperation possibilities;
to disseminate information about Latvia;
to participate in the events, related to the topicalities of the Lithuanian and Latvian history, culture and public life;
to maintain relations with similar organisations in Lithuania and abroad;
to assemble the forces of specialists, representing various spheres, students and society in order to create and implement joint projects.
The BC welcomes everyone, who has relations with Latvians and Latvian institutions or wish to create and develop such relations, as well as those who are interested in public and cultural life of Latvia. The BC accumulates various books, as well as their translations to the Lithuanian and Latvian languages, the publications about Latvia in Lithuanian and about Lithunia in Latvian, and other materials. All activities, corresponding to the aims of the BC Association to popularise the acieverments of Latvians and Lithuanian and encourage cooperation are welcomed.

In 2015, the BC started implementation of the international project covering Šiauliai city and Šiauliai county - the folk contest-festival 'The Flower of the Sun" where groups from Latvia participated as well: from Jelgava (2005) and Daugavpils (2007, 2011), Limbazi (2011), Rezekne (2011, 2015).

Head of "The Balts' Centre" Dr. Regina Kvašytė