The ninth annual Tallinn Music Week drew a total of 36,823 visitors last week with a program including 250 artists from 32 countries, a two-day Creative Impact conference featuring 112 speakers as well as opportunities to enjoy the city space, film, art and food.
The overarching topic of this year's TMW, an urban culture festival which ran from March 27 through April 2, was sustainable development and its many areas ranging from environmental urban development to inclusive communities and equal opportunities, according to a TMW press release.
The two-day TMW Creative Impact conference was attended by 1,193 delegates, including 879 international delegates. In her opening speech, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid called TMW the test polygon of society which demonstrates how to creatively reach compromise between differing opinions.
"Here you can think away all contradictions and make room for all different opinions!" said Kaljulaid. "Think about how to use technology to overcome contradictions, and if that is not an option, then think about how to talk yourselves and your conversation partners through the contradictions so that finally they will simply dissolve. Show us what a resourceful spirit and flexible mind can achieve!"
The conference's 30 discussions featured 112 speakers ranging from London's first Night Czar Amy Lamé, pop culture author Simon Reynolds, Sound Diplomacy founder Shain Shapiro to Barbara Gessler of the EU Culture Directorate, as well as inspiring stories including those of nomadic artists Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto and award-winning sound engineer Mandy Parnell.
80 stages across Tallinn
This year's concerts took place on a total of 80 stages across town. In addition to showcase concerts on the festival's main stages, more than 100 city stage concerts brought music and audiences to unusual venues ranging from a thrift store and the Tallinn Botanic Garden to a hotel suite and people's private homes.
Highlights included a techno marathon at Baltic Station, the Weekend Festival club night at Club Hollywood, concerts by Jazzkaar, the Jazz Associatin and Viljandi Folk at the Free Stage and the Raadio 2 showcase at Von Krahl. Also popular were the sold-out opening concert "Radiohead Rewritten," held at Tallinn Creative Hub and conducted by Kristjan Järvi, a joint concert by Estonian power-folk band Trad.Attack! and Ukrainin electro-folk group Onuka and secret gigs by Tommy Cash and Danish rapper Black Daniels.
Other TMW attractions and events attracted many visitors as well, including gallery tours, film screenings, the festival's pop-up restaurant, run by Hiiumaa's Ungru, street food and light installations, as well as a special Trash Cooking dinner by top chef Peeter Pihel, which featured menu items utilizing what may otherwise be considered unusable food scraps and plants, such as lamb organs, old bread and pine needles.
From music festival to something bigger
"Tallinn Music Week has grown from a music festival into an internationally influential urban culture and vision festival that bravely touches on key societal topics," said Estonian Minister of Culture Indrek Saar. "Within a short time, the festival has become an active and effective promoter of Estonian music and talent in the world and a shaper of European cultural policy."
Vanessa Reed, chief executive at PRS for Music, said that TMW was unlike most other music industry conferences she'd attended. "It's pushing the definitions of wha an event of this kind can be in the 21st century," she said. "It embraces art, politics, tech and urbanism in a bold and intelligent way. It crosses genres and sectors in easy to find spaces which give you an insight into Estonia's past and present. It breathes the energy of a city where smart young leaders are using music and the creative industries to drive social and political change."
Stepan Kazarayan, head of Moscow Music Week, noted that TMW was growing in both popularity, professionalism and quality every year, and expressed appreciation for young bands from the New Russian scene being selected for the festival and enjoyed by professionals and audiences alike in Tallinn, even during controversial times. "TMW showed once again that it is truly an independent and politically unbiased event, which has become very rare in our common European home today," he said.
Editor: Aili Monika Sarapik