Sunday, 26 July 2015

1990 Song festival in Vilnius

The climate in Lithuania had changed by 1990 that it seemed possible that group visits could occur.  It was at this time that the Adelaide Lithuanian National Dancing group Žilvinas were gearing up to participate in the 13th Lithuanian National song festival to be held in Vilnius.  It would have been the first time that most of us would have travelled overseas and to Lithuania. 
Lithuania had just regained its Independence on 11 March 1990.  Russia was not overjoyed at this and so an ultimatum was issued on April 13: drop all talk about independence or face economic sanctions in the form of a blockade.  Lithuania did not retreat, and the Soviet government introduced sanctions against Lithuania as of April 18.

The blockade conditions meant that visas were not granted to everyone in Adelaide Dancing group.  Practising weekly with our teacher, Vytas Straukas, there were about 15 in the group.  A fortunate six got visas and were able to travel to Lithuania to partake in the Song festival.

Birute Stalbaite
Dana Baltutyte
Julija Bakutyte
Bronius Sabeckis
Andrius Dunda
Paul Rupinskas

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