Monday of festival week marked the official opening of the "Alley of Song Festivals" in the Mäe section of the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. The 1994-completed Song Festival Wall is now continued along the boulevard.
As the stones of the Song Festival Wall bear the numbers of recent song festivals, the freshly built alley is a continuation of the unfinished tribute.
The new memorial alley leads to the Song Festival Wall, where each segment recounts the number of organizations and performers who took part in each individual song festivals starting from 1974.
The alley now contains three new monuments, now with festival themes also mentioned on them. Margus Toomla, the director of Song and Dance Festival SA, said that the introduction of themes to the festivals started in the 2000s by Aet Maatee, then-president of the Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation. The new stone segments commemorate the Song and Dance Festivals of 2004, 2014 and 2019.
Mihhail Kõlvart (Center), the mayor of Tallinn, said that the cultural outputs, which serve as the nation's backbone must be celebrated, and "while history is literally etched in stone here, its continuity depends on cultural transmitters, who we will see at this year's Song Festival."
Toomla said that the alley park was established in 1969 when 100 oak trees were planted there. Urmo Saareoja, the director of the Song Festival Grounds, took the initiative and the City of Tallinn helped finance the project in order to construct the alley. While the inscriptions in the old alley recount the history of general song festivals, the new plaques add also to the legacy of youth festivals. "Youth festivals have always complemented regular song festivals," he said.
Preparations for this year's festial is still ongoing, Saareoja said. For example, the lighting along the alley will be completed this week. There will be two drinking water fountains near the main building and two on the Oru side. "A lot of work still remains to be done, such as verifying the capacity of towers and transmitters in collaboration with communications operators. We also need to clean up the tree areas and green space," he said. Despite thorough planning, Saareoja said that the construction crew will be working up to 24 hours each day this week.
Editor: Kristina Kersa