Viljandi is set to host 1,800 official guests from 72 European Hansa cities next weekend (June 4–7) for the 35th International Hanseatic Days.
The 35th International Hanseatic Days is the largest event of its kind to ever take place in Viljandi, with the city's personality reflected in the festival's cultural program.
According to Terje Trochynskyi from the festival's cultural committee, Kaevumägi (Well Hill) is set to host the well-known folk stage, whereas jazz, early music and a guitar festival will see musical performances take place in front of the City Hall.
"On the Viljandi Song Festival Grounds we're "bringing out the big guns" – we have a great local youth symphony orchestra, who'll be performing at the opening alongside well-known bands like Ro:Toro, Svjata Vatra and Curly Strings, who are all connected to Viljandi in one way or another," commented Trochynskyi.
Saturday, June 5 – the most populous day of the festival – will coincide with the Viljandi County Song and Dance Festival.
Additionally, six city stages are set to host various collectives from 68 Hansa cities. The Hanseatic Days also make use of the locals' cherished spot Lake Viljandi. "The lake is an all-natural amphitheater, where we'll have a modern-day telling of the local legend of the Boatman of Viljandi," said Trochynskyi.
The city is prepared to host up to 50,000 guests during the Hanseatic Days, with all the local hotels fully booked. There is, however, still the option of staying overnight with a local host.
"All those options are listed on the festival website, in case anyone is still looking to stay the night," confirmed Johan-Kristjan Konovalov, Director of the Viljandi PR and Tourism Board.
Despite ongoing large-scale water and sanitation works as well as roadworks in the region, the Mayor of Viljandi, Ando Kiviberg, expressed hope that those will be finished prior to the Hanseatic Days.
The mayor noted that though some works would not be finished by the time of the festival, these would not hamper the general impression of Viljandi as a city. "Viljandi is a cozy, pleasant and beautiful city, and a great place to host such an international event," noted Kiviberg.
Over the course of four days, European Hanseatic cities will introduce their culture and traditions as well as participate in the local cultural programme in Viljandi as part of the 35th International Hanseatic Days. The International Hanseatic Days have been celebrated annually since 1980 in European cities that belonged to the Hanseatic League of New Time (New Hansa). Estonia has previously hosted the event on three occasions in Tallinn (1992), Tartu (2005) and Pärnu (2010).
Editor: A. Kaer