Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Latvia to host young performers' festival

Latvia's Jurmala resort is to host the third New Wave international festival of young pop music performers; this contest is to open at the Dzintari concert hall (that seats more than 2,000) July 28, lasting until August 1.

The finals will involve 16 singers from 13 countries, i.e. Armenia, Germany, Israel, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Russia, the United States, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Estonia. Russia will be represented by Alexei Chumakov, Anastasia Gonchar and Irina Dubtsova, as well as by the Mikki-Zlata duo.

The winner will get the Crystal Wave prize, as well as $25,000. Those placing second and third will be entitled to diplomas, as well as $20,000 and $15,000, respectively.

Each participant will sing his or her national song the very first day, i.e. July 29. Singers will perform hits to their liking in the second round; meanwhile the third round will feature songs, which were written especially for this festival.

All performers shall be judged by a jury under the supervision of composers Igor Krutoi and Raimonds Pauls, who had organized this festival. The jury includes well-known composers and singers Vladimir Matetsky, Igor Nikolayev, Leonid Agutin, Laima Vaikule, as well as British producer Steve Lyon.

Many Russian pop stars, as well as Great Britain's Bony Tyler and Thomas Anders, have been invited to attend the festival.

Anastasia Stotskaya, who won the 2002 New Wave contest, will attend this year's opening ceremony, with Philip Kirkorov singing at the Dzintari concert hall that same evening, after the ceremony winds up.

Josef Kobzon, who will host the contest's second evening, was unable to attend last year because Latvian authorities had declared him persona non grata, who allegedly threatened national security.

Latvia's newly-appointed Interior Minister Eriks Jekabsons decided not to blacklist the Russian singer a month ago and to allow him to enter the country.