59,000 amateurs sang in choirs and danced in folk groups in 2019

Dance celebration.
Dance celebration. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Participation in folk activities has increased in Estonia during the last decade and last year 59,000 amateurs sang in choirs and danced in folk groups, new figures analyzed by Statistics Estonia show.

In 2019, there were 82,500 amateurs who participated in folk culture, such as singing, dancing or handicraft, in Estonia. Of these, 70 percent were women.

59,000 of them sang in choirs or danced in folk dance groups. The most folk culture amateurs per thousand inhabitants were in Võru county, the most southern Estonian county, and the least in Ida-Viru county.

37,300 people participated in choirs and 21,700 practiced folk dancing. Amateur theatre, handicrafts, vocal music (bands, singing clubs), brass music, folklore and folk music were less popular.

Amateurs participation by cultural subject. Source: Statistics Estonia

Compared to ten years ago, the number of folk culture amateurs in Estonia has grown by 6,000 poeple.

In 2014, folk culture amateurs numbered 90,000, but after the Song and Dance Celebration of the same year the number decreased slightly. The decline was steeper after the 2017 Youth Song and Dance Celebration.

Per thousand persons, the highest number of folk culture amateurs was in Võru county, followed by Lääne, Põlva, Viljandi and Saare counties. The numbers were smallest in Ida-Viru county and Tallinn.

The number of amateurs per county who participated in folk culture per 1,000 people. Source: Statistics Estonia

Profile of a folk culture amateur in 2019

  • 59% of folk culture amateurs were children or youth. Their share was largest in choirs, amateur theatre and folk dancing groups and smallest in handicraft clubs and folklore groups.
  • 70% of amateurs of folk culture were females. Their share was largest in handicraft clubs, vocal groups and singing clubs, and folklore groups, while it was smallest in brass orchestras and bands.
  • 94.5% of amateurs of folk culture participated in Estonian groups. In groups of other national origins, there were over 1,700 choir singers, 500 amateur actors and nearly 460 folk dancers.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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