Mėnuo Juodaragis has always been and remains a unique festival refraining from emulation and instead relying on invention. The team of the Festival always strives to accomplish most of the tasks by itself. Many new ideas generated by Mėnuo Juodaragis are later incorporated into other events. Facing new challenges, building ever more inspiring ideas and walking unbeaten paths is key to the Joy of Creation of the Festival.
Mėnuo Juodaragis began in 1995 as a spontaneous gathering of a dozen or so creative young persons and their friends in the village of Verbiškės next to Molėtai Town on a starry night. Today, MJR has become one of the most interesting summer festivals and a major Lithuanian event of alternative scene attracting an increasing number of visitors and artists each year.
The Festival takes place in picturesque locations of nature, which is closely related to the concept of MJR. There is a natural tradition to move the growing event to a new site every three years. Following the initial cycle in Verbiškės, Mėnuo Juodaragis migrated to the settlement of Sudeikiai near Utena Town where it resided from 2000 to 2002. It was there, on the bank of the beautiful green-eyed Lake Alaušas, that Mėnuo Juodaragis grew into a solid annual event. The timing of the event also became fixed and now falls on the last weekend of summer. For the next three years, in 2003–2005, MJR was held near Kernavė – the historical capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After a one-year break, a new cycle began in 2007 on a marvellous island of Lake Zarasas.
Traditionally, Mėnuo Juodaragis takes place three days and nights with a number of events running on different spots of the Festival site at the same time so that each visitor can find his or her cup of tea. The diversity the Festival’s programme also determines the variety of the audience which consists of a wide range of scenes and age groups. Sincerity, kindness and respect create an unparalleled unifying atmosphere – true refreshment for everyone interested in the Baltic culture and its revival. Also, MJR is among the few events in Lithuania attracting considerable foreign audiences. The latest events were visited by people from Latvia, Poland, Estonia, Belarus, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Canada, USA, Australia and Japan.
Many guests find the Festival to be a unique event both locally and internationally. MJR has a settled and evolving model as well as unique attribute, heraldry and environment. This is the place where new ideas are generated and creativity tones in with wild entertainment. For many, MJR has become a certain point zero in the year.
MJR is organised by the record label Dangus and the non-profit organisation Baltijos Griaustinis. From 2002, the Festival is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, other culture institutions, the Department of UNESCO Cultural Management at Vilnius Academy of Arts, various enterprises, media outlets and private persons.
However, the major sponsors of the Festival are the unique bands and visitors returning to the Festival every year. It is the best place and time for all tribes to meet and feast.