Daily: Police unable to intervene in loud Tartu overnight music festival

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Estonian National Museum (ERM). Source: ERM.ee

Responsibility for an outdoor music festival in Tartu which ran until four o'clock in the morning last Sunday, and whose noise levels disturbed local residents' sleep, seems to have fallen down the fissures between local government, the event organizer and the police, regional daily Tartu Postimees reports, adding that Tartu authorities had not even followed national legislation on such events.

While the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) conceded that the noise from the event, dubbed the Maze Festival and held at the Estonian National Museum's (ERM) Viinaköök outdoor stage at the weekend, had been excessive, Tartu Postimees reports (link in Estonian), there was nothing that they could do about it since the organizers had obtained permission from the local municipality – which, the ERM's development director, Viljar Pohhomov, said meant that the museum was absolved of responsibility.

"It is not our problem now that people who have bought an apartment there are now starting to complain to Tartu Postimees about every little thing," Pohhomov said, adding that the museum will continue to organize events as and when it sees fit.

However, while Law Enforcement Act requires organizers to apply to a local authority, in this case the City of Tartu, for permission to organize any event which involves music being played beyond midnight, Tartu Postimees reports, the relevant departments at local authority offices said that no permit was issued in any case – since they had told the organizers that one was not needed; "Ideally, there should be a permit here, but our practice is different," Lennart Puska, head of Tartu city government's culture department, told the daily, adding that in future procedures needed rectifying in respect of the ERM.

At least one local resident had called the emergency number, 112, in respect of the noise, which continued until around 4 a.m. and which, the resident said, surpassed the July 2019 Metallica concert the venue hosted for decibel levels, though event organizer Hanno Pasovs said that he and colleagues had been oblivious to the complaints at the time, calling the PPA's decision not to inform them about it "strange".

The full Tartu Postimees piece (in Estonian) is here.

The ERM is located on the outskirts of Tartu, and was opened in 2016, since when it has hosted a variety of different events, including a presidential independence day gala reception and concert and, more recently, the VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples.

As noted it has also hosted major rock acts.

Current coronavirus restrictions permit outdoor events to go ahead with up to 1,000 participants all told; the Health Board (Terviseamet) was reportedly also kept in the loop with regard to the Maze Festival.

The Maze Festival was first held in 2019 as a relatively small event, being rolled out to a larger gathering in 2020. It features predominantly Estonian techno, drum n' bass etc. acts, including "Mr. Garfield", "Tabasco" and "Eisi".

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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