We barely had time to look around before we waved goodbye to January, which brought Kaunas the European Figure Skating Championships, the opening of the renovated Ąžuolynas Library, and loads of great selfies in the snow. As 2024 gets underway, we compiled a schedule of the most exciting events in Kaunas and hope to see you in our city more than once or twice.
We will traditionally celebrate our love for Lithuania in February - the calendar favours that. In fact, this year, on the occasion of Independence Day, and maybe also St Valentine’s Day, the Venice Biennial-winning acclaimed contemporary opera “Sun & Sea” will be in town. The creators are all from Kaunas, so it was about time! Tickets are still available for the performances at the BLC Business Centre.
In March, there’s a lot of good cinema on the cards with the Kino Pavasaris festival, unexpected highlights of the International Day of Happiness, and, of course, March 11, The day of restoration of the Independence of Lithuania. It is an excellent opportunity to visit places dear to every Lithuanian, such as the Vytautas the Great War Museum, with the eternal flame and a garden lined with busts of our nation’s fathers in front of it.
April is jazz month in Kaunas, and this has been the case for the past four decades. In fact, one of Lihtuania’s most important events in this genre, the Kaunas Jazz Festival, has long ceased to be confined to a few days in one city. Concerts have already been announced for December – in Vilnius, too! You can already get to know the most anticipated artists and buy tickets to their performances.
Coincidence or not, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Kaunas or just fall in love with it all over again in May, when the birthday of our most beloved city is officially celebrated (this year, we’ll party from 24-26 May!). Poetry Spring festival, European Night of Museums, Design Week events, Putvinskio Street Day, a night basketball tournament, the Kaunas Literature Week initiated by Vytautas Magnus University, the Courtyard Festival... Yup, just come for the whole month.
… And stay. With the start of summer, the Pažaislis Music Festival, one of the most anticipated classical music events, will kick off. This initiative will delight throughout the summer with exceptional concerts by Lithuanian and international talents in Pažaislis Monastery and other unique places. For theatre lovers, the interactive festival “Dive into Theatre”, dedicated to the young but exciting for curious people of all ages, is organised by the National Kaunas Drama Theatre, which is closing its season. And at the end of June, here’s the Centenary Song Festival! It will open in Kaunas, where this national tradition was born in 1924. The Jubilee Song Day in Kaunas will take place on June 29.
The Night of Scents, which takes over the VMU Kaunas Botanical Garden every July, is a modern tradition in Kaunas, a favourite of nature lovers from all over Lithuania. Summer in the city will also be marked by the events of the Pažaislis Music Festival and various cultural terraces in the city centre, which will bring a variety of musicians and other stage personalities to Kaunas. The Audra electronic music festival is the most anticipated. Creating pop-up venues in industrial warehouses and factories has become a favourite among thousands of European ravers. And on Statehood Day on July 6, we will sing the National Anthem at Kaunas Castle, where, just like every year, the festival “Operetta at Kaunas Castle” will present an excellent combination of voices and music. The highlight of August, which will leave an unforgettable impression on everyone, is the fifth international performing arts festival, “ConTempo”, which will take place in Kaunas and Kaunas district from 5-11 August.
September is a new school year and a new cultural season. Traditionally, it will start with the Kaunas Culture Fair organised by Kaunas Artists’ House, where representatives of various initiatives and organisations will reveal their plans for the season, and artists will perform. The beginning of autumn will also be marked by the Kaunas Carillon Festival with the sound of bells and the “Starting Point” festival organised by the Kaunas City Chamber Theatre, where you will find out what will be relevant in the theatre in a couple of years. Kaunas IN will invite you to celebrate World Tourism Day in Kaunas. The highlight of September is the Fluxus Festival and its climb up one of the prominent hills in downtown Kaunas. You can start constructing your costumes now!
With the Aura Contemporary Dance Festival, which brings together the most exciting companies worldwide, marking the turn of the months in October, Kaunas will become a meeting point for all interested in photography and media art. This is when the second edition of the festival, called IPMA, is planned. Organised by renowned Kaunas photographer Svetlana Batura, last year’s event was an invitation to explore the relationship between artificial intelligence and photography and photographers, and we are still waiting to find out what this year will bring. Also this month, the documentary film festival Nepatogus kinas will be screening in Kaunas, as elsewhere in Lithuania. The return of the CityTelling Festival launched during Kaunas 2022, which invites visitors to intimate encounters with their city, is also particularly welcome. From now on, the Kaunas City Museum will organise the festival.
The darkness of November will be lightened in the cinema halls with the return of Scanorama, the European Film Forum, which will once again amaze you with the imagination and depth of its creators. Culture connoisseurs will also enjoy the contemporary music festival “Iš arti” concerts. Maybe they will coincide with Lithuanian Gastronomy Week...? One more secret detail: the premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Boheme will be presented by the Kaunas State Music Theatre in late autumn. The director is Anželika Cholina. We are already waiting for tickets...
However, if you can only come to Kaunas in December this year, start at the Town Hall Square. The city’s main Christmas tree will be sparkling there, and the City Hall will already be home to the Kaunas City Museum. As well as dozens of great festive concerts, gift fairs and other attractions, there will also be plenty of unique chamber events taking place in niche locations. Also, at the beginning of the month, the city’s patron saint, St. Nicholas Day, is celebrated on the first of the month. Yes, he is also the prototype of Santa Claus!
For a detailed itinerary of each week’s events, see the calendar at kultura.kaunas.lt. For the latest gossip and personal recommendations, visit the Kaunas IN Tourism Information Centre at Laisvės al. 36.