It has been a regular fixture on the preview concert circuit for over half a decade. However, as of Tuesday 25 February, Latvia’s Eurovision PreParty Riga is no more, for 2020 at least.
That means Samanta Tīna will be the first Latvian act in seven years who won’t get to welcome any international delegations to the capital city.
Eurovision PreParty Riga cancelled
On Tuesday 25 February, Miroslvas Kodis — the head of OGAE Latvia — posted a short message to Facebook. It read:
“Dear Eurovision friends! 🌞
🎉 Eurovision PreParty in Riga 🇱🇻 has always been a great time for fans, musicians and journalists! It has always been a great pleasure for me, for OGAE Latvia and for Riga, to host such an event! We have had 6 great and unforgettable concerts and I thank you all for being part of it ❤️🧡💛
🌺 This year we will take a break, but if everything will goes well, I hope we will come back next year and we will welcome you all at Eurovision PreParty Riga 2021 🥳
🤩 Thank you and see you in Rotterdam! 💞
#ogaeLatvia #PrePartyRiga #Eurovision #Latvia #Riga #OpenUp #ESC2020 #Rotterdam2020″
The post ends on a note of optimism, hinting that the show may return in 2021.
A history of Eurovision PreParty Riga
The annual shindig was first organised by OGAE Latvia in 2014. Then it attracted just three acts — Poland’s Donatan and Cleo, Austria’s Conchita Wurst and some members of Latvia’s own Aarzemnieki.
It quickly grew and by 2015 the number of competing acts jumped to eight — Switzerland’s Melanie René, Georgia’s Nina Sublatti, Latvia’s Aminata, Lithuania’s Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila, Azerbaijan’s Elnur Hüseynov, Poland’s Monika Kuszynska, the UK’s Electro Velvet and Moldova’s Eduard Romanyuta.
There were also an additional four acts from past contests — Alexander Rybak (Norway 2009), Eldar Gasimov (Azerbaijan 2011), Marie N (Latvia 2002) and Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine 2013).
The concert’s biggest year came in 2016. Then nine acts jetted into the Baltic city — Latvia’s Justs, Switzerland’s Rykka, Serbia’s Sanja Vucic, Belarus’ Ivan, Bulgaria’s Poli Genova, Estonia’s Jüri Pootsmann, Spain’s Barei, Israel’s Hovi Star and Malta’s Ira Losco. Sweden’s 1984 winners the Herreys also made an appearance.
However, despite two consecutive years of strong line-ups, the PreParty struggled to attract large audiences. The destination was too far off the beaten track for many international fans, while there never appeared to be much enthusiasm among the local fanbase.
Sadly, when faced with venues that were mostly empty, delegations started to stay away.
Only five acts made it to the 2017 event — Belarus’ Naviband, Lativa’s Triana Park, Poland’s Kasia Mos, Czech Republic’s Martina Barta and Norway’s JOWST. Ukraine’s 2004 winner Ruslana and Justs also showed up.
In 2018, Amber (Malta 2015) and local star Markus Riva joined four acts — Czech Republic’s Mikolas Josef, Moldova’s DoReDoS, Lativa’s Laura Rizzotto and Lithuania’s Ieva Zasimauskaitė.
The 2019 concert only attracted two competing acts — Norway’s KEiiNO and Latvia’s Carousel. Monika Marija and Edgars Kreilis also performed.
The ever-growing preparty circuit may also have contributed to the event’s demise. Upon its 2014 launch, it was only the fourth such event, joining London, Amsterdam and Moscow. Since then events have cropped up in Tel Aviv, Madrid and Stockholm. Malta also had a one-off party in 2016.
Will you miss the Riga PreParty? Are you sad to see it go? Let us know in the comments.