This weekend, Narva is set to host the fifth edition of its now annual music and city showcase festival 'Station Narva.' At a time when Narva has dominated national headlines, the festival aims to remind everyone that there is much more that connects the city to the rest of Estonia than separates it, and that the language of music and culture is universal.
The 2022 Station Narva festival kicks off on Thursday, September 8 at 17:00, with a BAZAR public debate, where locals and guests alike are invited to a discussion about the city, entitled "Narva – what and who is it?"
The theme seems especially timely, considering the recent national and international focus placed on the eastern Estonian city. However, as Anna Markova, a member of the festival's organizing team wrote in an ERR opinion piece earlier this week, Narva is so much more than a "single-issue city," with a host of new and exciting things to discover.
Showing Narva's diversity, as well as reminding everyone, that there is so much more that connects the city to the rest of Estonia, than separates it is one of the key aims of this year's Station Narva, according to the festival's head of PR and communications Ingrid Kohtla.
"Although the majority of the local population speaks Russian as their mother tongue, the language of music and culture is universal," Kohtla told ERR. "The time we spend together with each other, singing and dancing in unison, is our immunity against both division and indifference," she said.
Kohtla also revealed that, for her, the "not-to-be-missed pick" from the festival's free program would be the unique 'Kvartirnik' (home concert) performance by beloved troubadour Jaan Pehk, at the "cozy, bohemian apartment" of local journalist Mihhail Komashko.
Komashko returned to live in Narva last year, following a fire at his "fancy, newly-renovated apartment" in nearby Narva-Jõesuu. Taking it as a "hint from the universe," he decided to open up his new home, which is located in a "typical Stalinist project in the post-industrial Kreenholm area," to the public "in all its contradictions."
Pehk, whose music is described as "rock, without the heartbreak, poetry without the bloated earnestness," is set to play four sets, between 11:40 and 13:00 on Saturday, September 10. After all, Kohtla explains "the apartment is not quite the size of a concert hall."
This year's Station Narva lineup features music from an array of international performers, including Ukrainian electro-folk band ONUKA, British instrumental acid jazz trio Red Snapper, alongside recently reformed Estonian hip-hop legends A-Rühm and prog-rockers Mahavok.
While ONUKA warmed up for Station Narva with pre-party show at Tallinn's Sveta Bar on Wednesday, for Red Snapper, this will be their first ever performance in Estonia, with the band posting on saying on Instagram, that they can't wait to play in Narva.
View this post on Instagram
There's also a 'Business Day,' hosted by the OBJEKT Creative Center on September 9, with a focus on co-creation. Those attending the event will be greeted by Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman, and an opening speech from politician and creative entrepreneur Heidy Purga.
Other speakers at the business day include Liina Laas (partner at The Better Fund and head of expansion at Deel), Coca-Cola HBC's head of public affairs and sustainability Darja Saar, head of the Narva Art Residency (NART) Johanna Rannula and Sirli Rosenvald, team leader at Funky Foods.
The festival wraps up on Sunday September 11, when a traditional "Narva-style" breakfast will be served at the VitaTiim non-formal learning center.
You can find out more about Station Narva, including ticket information and this year's full program on the festival website here.
Editor: Michael Cole