Case Study

Komēta Festival

Open-air culture and music festival on the island of Daugavgrīva Fortress

What happened?

With live music from various corners of the planet, DJ sets, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and performances, Komēta is a unique and vibrant three-day event that embraces diversity and leaves long-term memories with its participants, by encouraging the freedom to think, choose, connect, create, and participate.

  • Who can help?
  • Cultural institutions and NGOs
  • Local art schools
  • Organisations preserving the architectural heritage
  • Municipality administration
  • Municipality police
Komēta Festival


Since the first festival year in 2016, one of the goals of the festival has been to help revive the fortress as a place of culture and thinking and to stimulate public discussions about its future development.

In the context of this project, the goal of Komēta has been to ensure the process of cultural planning and local cultural planning in Bolderāja and Daugavgrīva, using mostly artistic tools, such as the festival, accompanying artist residencies, workshops with different target groups, performances, as well as looking for ways to deepen our relationships with and understanding of the people living in the areas of Bolderāja and Daugavgrīva.

How? (tools & methods)

  • Cultural planning edition of Kometa Festival was prepared within the framework of the method dividing the process into stages of: mapping, visioning, designing, implementation, anchoring.
  • There were extensive topology analysis, SWOT analysis, seminar “The Future of Bolderāja and Daugavgrīva Urban Environment”. The team has travelled around Europe sharing ideas, visions and experience, looking for inspiration in international art conferences and workshops, visiting cultural events and institutions. The implementation was an effect of their experience and collaboration with artists in residence SIMKA and Inga Erdmane and Edd Schouten.
  • Human and Tree project by SIMKA was about the relationship between people and trees and the metaphorical value of trees, for example, when people die trees remain. Participants were working with different techniques such as drawing, wiring, performing, storytelling, and walks etc.
  • Second collaboration Lines of Bolderāja // Lines of Daugavgrīva included mapping, storytelling, photography, video, audio recording, walks
  • During the festival in August 2020 the Komēta team organized additional events (aside from the three day festival) in the Daugavgrīva fortress. On Komēta’s Community Day, they invited participants to celebrate and revitalize the fortress together as a place of culture, thought, and community. It was a day to discuss across generations, languages, interests, and past experiences, and to create new, common, cultural, and artistic experiences that stand for differences, while allowing everyone to preserve their identity. The cultural event programme consisted of concerts, performances, DJ events, and a kids programme. One of the goals of the 2020 activities was to pay special attention to surveying the event visitors. In total, 1012 people were interviewed, obtaining anonymous data on different aspects e.g. age group, place of residence, primary spoken language, as well as connection with the fortress. Visitors were invited to take one of maps and with colourful circle stickers mark different places in the fortress area such as: beautiful places, elements that should be restored etc.

For whom?

  • The target audience for these events were the local communities of Daugavgrīva and Bolderāja, who are primarily Russian speakers.. They should be first to benefit from their surroundings, including the fortress of Daugavgrīva. The potential of this partly abandoned monument has to be exploited with close consideration of the locals. The need to reimagine the fortress - to not see it as a burden, but as an opportunity for being a cultural oasis - is present in our goals not only for this project, but for Festivāls Komēta overall. 
  • How much time is needed?
  • 7 months of mapping
  • 6 months visioning
  • 8 months of designing
  • 8 months of implementing different ideas
  • 3 day event – the Kometa Festival

What should you be aware of?

It is important to build long-term relationships with local community members, NGOs, and opinion leaders in the area. This is not only a necessity for understanding the local situation better, but to be more mindful about the values and interests represented.

  • Our lack of knowledge and understanding about the local situations in Bolderāja and Daugavgrīva risk us being the outsiders: the people coming in from the city centre and projecting our thoughts and needs on to the locals.”

What worked out?

The curators say:

  • "The mapping process was the most important stage because we ourselves are not locals. These meetings and seminars were crucial for us, in order to deepen our understanding of and roots within the local communities. This project helped us to leave our comfort zone and to engage more in different face-to-face activities."
Both residencies were strong tools for building relationships between the local communities of Daugavgrīva and Bolderāja. They strenghtened the connection between the fortress and art practices.

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