Song and Dance Festival Wraps Up ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonians are famous for uniting at Song Celebration, but tens of thousands have emigrated in last ten years
Estonians are famous for uniting at Song Celebration, but tens of thousands have emigrated in last ten years Source: (Tanel Valdna/ERR)
Sunday night saw the end of the 26th Song and Dance Festival, which attracted tens of thousands of people to the Kalev Stadium and Song Festival Ground in Tallinn with no major incidents reported.

The XIX dance festival was sold out, with 3,000 additional tickets sold in June due to popular demand. More than 10,000 dancers took part in the three performances titled "Puudutus" (Touch) and based on a fairy tale by Sven Weidebaum.

The first concert, was called “Touched by Time”, a "journey in song" through the history of the festival. The second concert was called “Time to Touch”, with staples of the song festival and a mix of new works, attracted around 100,000 spectators each. There were 40,000 participants - made up of choral groups and musicians - performing at the second concert, ETV reported on Sunday.

The song “Puudutus” (Touch), by Tõnu Kõrvits, was created specifically for the festival with lyrics by poet Kristiina Ehin. It was so popular that it was performed twice by the singers and twice more at the end of the festival.

Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, his partner Luisa Värk, a singer, and their daughter Miina-Johanna were also in the audience. Both Rõivas and Värk told ETV that sitting in the audience and singing along to the the most-loved music made them a bit teary.

The Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus thanked the performers in a statement and said the festival touched people and brought them closer together. According to Tiidus, the celebration is the best example of inclusive action in the world, as there are hardly any people in Estonia untouched by the event.

The festival was relatively calm for the police and medics, with no major incidents reported at the festival grounds - the majority of problems reported involved lost property or missing children and calming the traffic around the song festival grounds. Medics usually had to deal with heat-related problems.

“Another unexpected case for our policemen was a woman going into labor - one little person decided this was the best time to arrive,” Valter Pärna from the East Department of the Northern Prefecture told ETV.

A selection of songs performed can be viewed here.

The next song festival, will be held in 2017, two years shy of the 150th anniversary of the first song festival.