Viljandi Folk Festival attracted nearly 25,000 visits
Organizers have hailed last week's Viljandi Folk Festival as a success, with close to 25,000 visitors attending the four-day event in the South Estonian town.
With the theme this year being "Roots and Treetops", the festival, at Viljandi Castle Hill, in the town center, ended Sunday evening and, noted festival chief Ando Kiviberg: "The party dedicated to young people clearly proved how wonderfully healthy the future and health of Estonian traditional music is."
"Besides this, a new generation of very talented, energetic, and excellent musicians is growing up — for whom tradition has always been around them as a natural phenomenon. The powerful and energetic influence of this new generation was very strongly felt at this year's festival, and we, as organizers, are very happy about it. It seemed that the audience enjoyed it, too."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ukraine featured highly at this year's event, the 29th of its kind, with appearances by Ukrainian metal-folk band Geneza and Ruslan Trochynskyi, singer and trombonist from Estonian band Svjata Vatra.
Locally-housed war refugees were entitled to attend the festival free-of-charge; nearly 200 of them did so, while T-shirts and other goodies were on sale, with the proceeds going in aid of Ukraine. Volunteers also hand-made camouflage netting, to be sent to the conflict zone.
Of the four days, Saturday was, perhaps as to be expected, most popular, with close to 10,000 visits, followed by 7,000 on Friday, 5,000 on the opening day, Thursday, and 3,000 on the Sunday.
Attendance levels also spoke of recovery from the pandemic, organizers added.
Close to 20 foreign performers appeared, including Hempress Sativa (Jamaica), Yamma Ensemble (Israel), Samba Touré (Mali), Gangar (Norway), Ak Dan Gwang Chil (South Korea), Góbé (Hungary) and Breabach (Sweden), while the over 40 local acts included Zetod, Puuluup, and Mari Jürjens.
Those with festival withdrawal symptoms will be able to return to Viljandi on August 18, when Lalala Napoli (Italy) will appear alongside Estonian band Dagö, at the Pärimusmuusika Ait in the town, while on August 27, Tallinn hosts Ukrainian world-famous Ukrianian band DakhaBrakha from Ukraine, this time at the Alexela concert hall.
Next year's event, the 30th since the tradition began, runs July 27-30 2023.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte