It’s been more than ten years since the first Skaņu Mežs (“Sound Forest”) festival took place in 2003, but a question repeatedly voiced by festival goers is – what is the festival’s purpose? Briefly – Skaņu Mežs is organised both to give an overview of the latest developments within modern music as well as to nurture an ongoing chain of interesting musical events in Riga, Latvia.
Skaņu Mežs is a music festival which has as its goal to widen the audience’s horizons, and to offer alternatives to dominant views on culture. The events can be seen as an opportunity for people to detach themselves from their mundane and everyday comfort zones, in this way refreshing their perspective on the world.
This doesn’t, however, mean that the Skaņu Mežs’ repertoire is purposefully complicated or contrary. Quite the opposite, as even though the festival is a platform for adventurous music, it also includes performers whose work is perhaps more accessible, thus providing entry points also for listeners who do not associate themselves with the avant-garde. The festival doesn’t focus on a certain musical genre or category, but rather on the search for new languages in music and sound.
An additional dimension of Skaņu Mežs’ activities is a string of exhibitions, devoted to audiovisual art and sound art in particular.
Skaņu Mežs is the co-founder and member of International Cities of Advanced Sound (ICAS) and the SHAPE platform for innovative music and audiovisual art.