My Vilnius: When Your Heart is Rooted in the City

Jogaila Morkunas interview

My Vilnius is a series of interviews introducing you to people who call Vilnius their home. It’s all about the ordinary lives of extraordinary people and vice versa. These stories cover their favourite hidden gems and sights, as well as detours and life discoveries. 

From an extensive career in show business to now running a successful event company, Jogaila Morkūnas is a local public figure. His passion for food, travel, and social gatherings, means he knows some of the best places in town. Jogaila’s love for Vilnius stems from his roots—over three generations in his family have lived in the capital.

VP: What do you do work-wise, and how did you get to where you are now?

Jogaila: Like it was 20 years ago, so it is now—I’m the creative director of the event management agency „Pirmoji Kava“. Back then, it was difficult for foreign clients to grasp why there were no advertising, public relations or event-running agencies in Lithuania. There was a lack of social media management and communication professionals in the market.

So, I could see there was a need, and I decided it was time to move from TV and advertising-related work and move to only doing event organising. Working in events involves working with corporate clients, including product launches, internal and external communication events, which are a major part of the job.

Photos courtesy of Milda Vyšniauskaitė

VP: Have you always known that you want to work in TV and Event Organising?

Jogaila: Our Lithuania is a small country, so it is not easy to stand out in the event industry. The same goes for public concerts, TV or PR. Many known and active people work in the entertainment industry bubble. Some run events and have thousands of followers. Others work on TV projects, film series or organise events.

From the start, our idea has been to gather all the best and most creative potential into one office and form a complete package for our clients. So it covers everything—including booking venues, arranging logistics, planning entertainment, selecting food and wine, and much more.

This line of work is very dynamic and certainly not dull. No two events are identical. There is no ‘copy paste’ script. At first glance, it may seem like this kind of work is an endless celebration. In reality, organising a celebration requires a large team of staff and some sleepless nights.

VP: What was Vilnius like you were growing up?

Jogaila: I am a third-generation Vilnius resident. And although I really like to travel—Vilnius is the only home city in the world for me. Both in my life and at work, I follow the principle of “Think global, act local”. Vilnius is a great place to create, grow and expand your activities. It is a very liberal, free-thinking city that’s continuously growing and always full of wonderful people.

Although geographically on the edge of the European Union, Vilnius is another beautiful European city. With its stunning old town and ever-growing skyline. With amazing world-class restaurants and hotels. Well, and of course the local nightlife! This is especially so on Friday nights.

VP: What is your philosophy in life?

Jogaila: I’m so glad I don’t have enemies. I simply choose not to think about some people. Do no harm to anyone, and you will be rewarded in the same way. And this is not a philosophy, but a way of life. 

I appreciate new acquaintances and new challenges, but modernism will never replace the classics. Likewise, the latest technology will never replace live communication with a glass of wine.

VP: What’s your relationship with Vilnius like? 

Jogaila: I can’t leave the capital for more than a week. And it doesn’t really matter where I am, whether it’s New York or Tokyo. And there is no day when you do not experience the joy of discovery while walking in Vilnius; whether it’s a new cafe or an unnoticed detail on the exterior of a house.

Although, the thing I miss most about Vilnius when I’m away is its beautiful and sincere people. A city is only alive when happy people live in it. Such is Vilnius.

VP: What would you recommend for gourmets and adventurers to visit in Vilnius?

Jogaila: The whole of Vilnius can be experienced through… the stomach! I highly recommend these culinary meccas: “Gastronomy”, “Džiaugsmas”, “Dine”, “Somm”, “Da Antonio”. 

You can start your evening out exploring the whole buzz of Vilnius street, and then head to the wine bars like “In Vino” and “Burbulio vyninė”. When hopping from one restaurant or bar to another – you can also get to know the city and meet many great and friendly Vilnius residents!

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