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The interior of the prison holds considerable aesthetic appeal, Source: Go Vilnius

Vilnius rethinks ex-prison as a cultural space

Vilnius rethinks ex-prison as a cultural space

This summer, it will also serve as the stage for a brand new music festival

The Lukiškės Prison in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius is a good example of pivoting urban space from one function to another with successful results. In fact, the former confinement facility is now called Lukiškės Prison 2.0 referring to its new role as a cultural hub. What’s more, this summer it will host a new music event called 8 Festival.

Musical connoisseurs (the maximum capacity of the facility) will get to enjoy a global lineup of established artists and emerging acts: German techno trio Moderat, Swedish post-punk band Viagra Boys, Britain's rock band Black Country, New Road, American experimental musician Yves Tumor, a noise-rock quartet from Ireland Gilla Band, as well as the Tik Tok sensation Sub Urban, to name a few. 

A new and positive emotional association with the urban space

8 Days A Week is the organizer of the event. The agency is one of the actors that has already been operating at the ex-prison turned cultural venue since last spring. It has thus helped make it one of the most popular and hip places for cultural enthusiasts in the city.

Built in 1904, the complex served as a prison until 2019, but it has since opened its doors to the public for a new purpose. The century-old architecture tells a unique story – criminals, political prisoners and exiles were detained behind the prison’s walls.

It also served as the backdrop for the fourth season of the Netflix show Stranger Things.

The intact interiors give visitors a glimpse at what everyday life was like in the prison. However, today artists and creators use the space to express their creative ideas and showcase them to the world.

Apart from 8 Days A Week, over 250 artists have set up shop in their studios and workshops at the premises helping create a veritable cultural ecosystem almost overnight.

Only 3000 spectators will have the chance to attend the carefully curated program, outstanding art installations, and top-notch food due to the limited prison capacity. To accommodate the everchanging COVID-19 landscape, the event will also be organized in compliance with all future regulations and safety measures. 

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