Visitors to Seto Folk can this year enjoy a two-in-one combo of open-air concerts and a pamper session with a mud mask and a personal masseuse. The festival also offers dozens of workshops, hikes, and language hubs to learn the basics of Seto, Võro, Udmurt, or even bird and animal languages.
The folk festival takes place from June 26-28 in Värska in beautiful pine forests by the Õrsava Lake. The festival line-up includes a number of Seto and Estonian artists, as well as visitors from several smaller Finno-Ugric nations.
This year's theme is "Tongues out!", apparently inspired by nearby village Obinitsa´s status as the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2015. The idea is to encourage all small nations to take pride in their cultural heritage and mother tongues.
The festival lacks a central stage. Countless intimate concerts take place instead in five smaller stages, various one-off venues, and even at people's homes. All this aims to "change the "normal" understanding of an outdoor music festival and encourage the audience to come to the festival with an open mind and ready for surprises," the organizers say.
Seto women (Photo: Seto Folk)
The festival features numerous workshops, for example on historical Seto singing (Seto leelo), traditional dancing from different nations, local handicraft techniques or slacklining, as well as a unique hiking and nature program where guides take visitors to the best mushrooming and berry-picking sites, while sharing their knowledge on gathering wild herbs and edible plants. The festival also has a special program for children and an environmental program. As part of the latter, food and drinks will be cheaper for those who reuse their plates and cups.
Traditional Estonian girdles (Photo: Seto Folk)
In addition, language fans can participate in different language hubs to learn local Estonia dialects like Seto and Võro, or more exotic Komi, Erzya, and Udmurt languages.
For the first time in the festival's history, "Seto Spa" pampering sessions are offered in cooperation with Värska Resort and Spa, with the therapeutic mud from the fresh water of the nearby lake Lämmijärv.
For its innovative nature, Seto Folk has been awarded an EFFE label that marks Europe's finest festivals this festival season.
Editor: M. Oll