July 11 - 15, 2024
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Interview with Yaga creative producer and storyteller Šarūnas Kirdeikis

2023 07 07

Yaga blew up my creative mind

The theme of the 2023 edition is “Twenty Trips Around The Sun”. In our conversation with Šarūnas Kirdeikis, the creative producer of the event, we inquire into this year’s theme, his personal experiences and innovative contributions.

Šarūnas Kirdeikis at Yaga Gathering

Who should seize the opportunity to attend this unique summer assembly?

I staunchly believe in the law of attraction and how certain elements resonate with individuals. Suppose you have felt an affinity towards this festival, possibly after viewing pictures or hearing from friends and harbour an inner yearning to explore and uncover. I wholeheartedly encourage you to attend and immerse yourself in the experience. Every debutant at this event should investigate what Yaga Gathering can offer, as it incorporates multiple formats, distinguishing it from the rest.

Please provide a more detailed explanation of this year’s theme. What can we anticipate?

The theme “Twenty Trips Around The Sun” envelops many interpretations and symbolism. The number 20 denotes the 20th anniversary. The term ‘Trips’ suggests a personal journey of self-discovery and explorations across the expansive globe, which resonates with a broad audience. The word “Around” signifies a spiral, an ellipse, or a circle, symbolic elements ubiquitous in our surroundings, encapsulating movement and imagery. Lastly, the “Sun” symbolises the primary source of life.

This year, Yaga Gathering provides a retrospective journey through its history. Novices will have access to galleries, narratives, and amusing memories shared by seasoned festival-goers. Attendees will be allowed to relive past years and gain a deeper understanding of the event’s ideas. In 2023 it’s a portal to two decades of memories.

Šarūnas, could you share more about yourself and your role within the Yaga organisation?

I serve as a creative producer and show host. Predominantly, I work within the commercial entertainment industry. However, once a year, I plunge into the enchanting Yaga forest to curate immersive experiences for its community.

Has Yaga impacted you as a creative explorer or on a personal level?

In the speedily evolving world of commercial pop culture, where everything races, there is scant space for enhancement and exploration, and often we encounter a relatively narrow perspective. Yaga Gathering gives me a unique opportunity to deviate from the norm fundamentally. Here, I aim to create an engaging process in which everyone with a fresh idea is stimulated to present it, and together we examine and expand upon it.

This year, we’re interpreting the theme, and I simply listen to people, striving to comprehend their perceptions and feelings. I relish the most in this process the incredible diversity and volume of fantastic, intriguing, and outlandish ideas that encapsulate the spirit of Yaga.

Can you share what your first Yaga Gathering experience was like? What were the expectations, and what was the reality?

Every journey has a beginning, and that holds for all of us. We retain our youth as long as we are experiencing something for the first time. My initial encounter with this event was truly extraordinary and certainly played a vital role in shaping my youth. I wasn’t particularly drawn to festivals until Yaga, having attended only three. The name Yaga Gathering solely conjures up the feel of a tale; at first glance, it might even seem like a commune. During my first visit as a performer, I had an utterly incredible experience that ignited my entire creative mindset. Eventually, I became part of the Yaga team. I particularly enjoy creating interactive experiences for people, and together with Anton, the festival’s founder, we decided to create an entire experiential system shrouded in mystery.

Can you share how the theme was born for the first time? Did you have a vision for it in advance?

Anton sets the tone for the theme, and the core team develops and polishes the final version. For instance, one of the earlier themes, Secret Society, was born out of jest. Many people perceive Yaga Gathering as a distinct community and wonder who these people are. This playful joke transformed into an intriguing storyline. This year, however, being the festival’s anniversary, the theme was chosen with deliberation as the year symbolically marks exactly “20 Trips Around The Sun”.

What experiences or activities should the visitors try?

One of the highlights is our engaging exploration, which usually has headquarters where visitors receive their primary tasks and narratives. From there, they are given instructions on how to find the rest of the puzzle. Participants will have an exciting challenge of discovering 20 artworks this year.
The most determined are invited to unveil all the pieces and participate in an award ceremony inspired by Carl Jung’s “Man and His Symbols” work. This acclaimed book explores the meaning of signs and images and their influence on understanding the human psyche. By incorporating elements of Jung’s exploration of symbols and their relevance to our inner self, we aim to create a more profound introspective experience for all participants. The closing ceremony will culminate this journey, offering reflections and a festive moment for all who engaged with Yaga and its myriad meanings.

Do you have any ideas or directions for future Yaga Gathering events?

I sense a massive potential for the future of this event. It will revolve around an interesting concept of maturity. Just like a grown-up, maturity can be exciting without compromising on fun. For me, this year marks a personal transition to the next stage in life, so, naturally, the following year is expected to reflect another step in that direction.

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