GGFEST 2018 (Ghetto Games Events)
GGFEST 2018 (Ghetto Games)
This year’s eighth annual Ghetto Games street sports and culture festival, better known as GGFEST, will take place in Ventspils, Latvia from July 27th to July 29th. GGFEST 2018 will feature close to 1,500 participants from more than 25 countries and drawing in up to 200,000 spectators for the weekend.
Since its beginning, GGFEST has been a weekend of fun, competitiveness, and most importantly, shedding light on street sports and the culture that comes with it. The organizers of the event state that GGFEST is a platform for self-improvement regardless of one’s origin, social group, nationality, race, and political viewpoints -- and this is exactly what the culture of street sports embodies.
There are 14 different street sports and events at this year’s GGFEST:
FIBA 3 on 3 basketball tournament, followed by a recreational tournament
- Each team will have one substitute, with three players on the court. The tournament will be played with one basket on one half of the court. A “traditional” two-pointer will count as one point, and a “traditional” three-pointer will count as two. There’s a 12 second shot clock to keep the pace of play up. The first team to 21 points wins, or the team with the most points after 10 minutes wins.
Street bike festival and showcase
- From Kawasaki's to Yamahas to Hondas and more, this year’s street bike festival and showcase will be filled with lots of burning rubber and revved engines. Competitors will have time to practice their tricks before the qualifying round and ultimately the finals. You’ll see riders manipulate their bikes in ridiculous ways, even riding their bikes upside down. There will be a panel of judges to assess the originality, risk, and neatness of each trick.
“Ghetto” dance competition
- Showing more of the fun side of GGFEST, the “ghetto” dance competition is open to all ages and encourages the audience to get up and participate. Dancers will show off their best moves to the beat of a DJ. No dancing style is off limits.
This freestyle event will take place over multiple days on two different terrains -- flatland and dirt. The flatland portion of the event features more rail grinding skills, on-bike balance, and maneuverability throughout a traditional skatepark. The dirt portion of the event will be high-flying, as bikers pull out all their best tricks on a wide open track with many ramps.
Inline, or competitive rollerblading, will be divided into amateur competition and a professional run by some of the world’s top skaters. On July 27th, amateur skaters will act as a warm up for the crowd; while on the 28th, professional skaters will compete on an open skate park. The event will close out with a vert (or vertical) demo from the professional skaters.
Although this skateboarding competition will be high energy, the overall purpose of it is to be fun and for skaters to show off their best tricks in a limited amount of time. The last day of the skateboarding competition will feature professional skateboarders from Europe and the U.S.
Street soccer tournament
Taking place all-day Sunday, this streetball tournament will have multiple teams compete on multiple courts. Because of the small dimensions of streetball, each team will have a maximum of four players. To keep games fast and to keep legs fresh, games will be split into two seven minute halves. The teams with the best winning percentage/most points will compete in the finals.
Also known as “floor hockey”, this floorball tournament will be played with teams of six including a goalkeeper. Keeping up with regulation floorball rules, games will be split into three 20 minute periods -- much like professional hockey. The team with the most points at the end of three periods wins, with games tied by the end of regulation going to a shootout.
Anything goes in this year’s wakeboarding tournament, as boarders will be judges on trick originality, style of the rider, smoothness of executive, and the overall performance. Boarders will get two passes, with the highest scoring run being their qualifying score. The final competition will be dubbed the “Baltic Open Wakeboarding championship”. Scores will be out of 100.
Stand up paddle boarding
Following regulation rules, this year’s stand up paddle boarding competition will be a test of how fast boarders can rip through the water for 200 meters upon reaching the beach. Riders will be allowed five strokes on their knees until they must get up and begin racing. There will also be a distance race, where riders will battle it out for up to 5 kilometers while maintaining their endurance.
An uncommon street event that’s still taking shape, bike trials at this year’s GGFEST will be more of a friendly competition to get riders acquainted with the course. Each course will have a number of different sections that riders will have to overcome -- each of these sections ranging in difficulty. The rider to have the fastest, cleanest run will be declared the winner.
The street workout at GGFEST has been a staple for the past seven years. These workouts force the human body to push itself to exhaustion, with events like push ups, pull ups, monkey bars, dips, and more. Each workout will have its own competitors, and both men and women can compete. To win a competition, the athlete must complete as many “clean” repetitions as possible.
One of the newer events at GGFEST is the drone competition, an alternative sport that has picked up traction throughout the world with the emergence of GoPro cameras. Competitors will bring their own drones to navigate a course with as few penalties (missed gates) and as fast as possible. The course typically features a slalom, split “S”, a tunnel, and more.
GGFEST creator Raimonds Elbakjans says that his motivation for this festival is realizing that the world we live in needs to be constantly changed for the better. He followed up saying “representatives of alternative sports and street culture are a very creative part of our society, and it is my conviction that outstanding people of right this field are able to perform this task -- to make our world more beautiful.”