Concert staged in Vilnius to protest against planned alcohol restrictions at mass events

The protest concert named "Freedom to Rock 'n' Roll"
DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

The protest concert named “Freedom to Rock ‘n’ Roll” was organized by the organizers of the country’s most famous festivals and musicians.

People held banners that read “Wine: 13 percent alcohol and 87 percent culture”, “You won’t ban the wine culture spanning 8,000 years” or “No to prohibition”.

“Dear members of the Seimas, come to our festival first and then initiate your new laws and change something if you feel that you need to. It seems to us that everything is quite alright today,” said Algirdas Barniskis-Bleka, a festival organizer.

As politicians are discussing amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control, event organizers fear that the planned restrictions will cause festivals to close down or move abroad.

The amendments, among other things, provide for banning the sale of alcohol during mass events.

In response to such concerns, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga and a group of lawmakers have proposed, as an exception, not to apply the ban to events that require tickets for entry.

However, event organizers are still worried that alcohol sales during festivals would be impossible due to restrictions on the sale of alcoholic drinks in seasonal outdoor cafes.

Veryga’s proposal calls for banning the sale of alcoholic drink sales during events that are free of charge and open to the public.

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