The event has been named after the most prominent figure related to the birth of professional choral music in Lithuania at the turn of the 20th century. The festival is aimed at promoting the music by Juozas Naujalis (1869–1934) who is known as a choral conductor, composer, teacher and one of the founders of Lithuanian song festivals. He worked with two choirs and wrote dozens of songs some of which have since become popular folk tunes, including Lietuva Brangi (My Dear Lithuania), often termed the nation’s second anthem.
The event is also aimed at boosting the prestige of choral conductors the best of whom is presented a replica of Naujalis’s baton by the end of the competition. Concerts and other events are held in Kaunas and other locations related to the life and work of Juozas Naujalis.
Each participating group has to perform a compulsory piece by Juozas Naujalis and is free to choose the rest of its competition repertoire. The international jury always includes professional choral directors and composer from Lithuania and abroad. The jury ranks the participating groups and chooses the best conductor of the competition.