San Francisco Plays Host to International Estonian Festival ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: paul.h, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Estonian diaspora communities from around the world will be converging on San Francisco this week for LEP-ESTO 2013, a four-day event designed to celebrate the nation's culture as well as highlight its tech startup scene.

The festival's gala opening on June 28 will feature the Estonian National Ballet's American-premiere of "Time," choreographed by San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Tiit Helimets and "Othello," choreographed by Marina Kesler. It will also see a performance by the 40-member Estonian Youth Wind Orchestra and include an expo entitled "Discover Estonia."

A key item on the festival program, also on Friday, will be the half-day "Innovative Estonia & the Skype Phenomenon" business conference in nearby Sunnyvale, where the likes of venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus, Fortumo co-founder Martin Koppel and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will be among the speakers.

In addition to the art exhibitions, seminars and social events planned, the sequel to Jim and Maureen Tusty's documentary "The Singing Revolution" and Toomas Hussar’s political satire "Mushrooming" will be screened.

LEP-ESTO is a merging of the biennial West Coast Estonian Days, which have been held since 1953, and the Estonian world festival ESTO, which began in Toronto in 1972 and was held every four years until now, as it is the last time it will be held. As both events landed in the same year this year, organizers decided to combine them.