Two Song and Dance Festivals could be held simultaneously in 2028

XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival.
XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

As a result of the postponement of the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival by one year due to the coronavirus crisis, the schedule for Estonia's general Song Festivals is also set to change. This could mean that in 2028, both the XXIX General Song and Dance Festival and the XIV Youth Song and Dance Festival take place simultaneously.

"The last few years have brought significant changes to the Song and Dance Festival cycle. The XIII Youth Festival, which was originally due to take place last summer, was only able to happen just now. As a result, the XXVIII Song and Dance Festival and the XXI Dance Festival, which were originally due to take place next year, have also been postponed until 2025," Sten Weidebaum, head of information at the Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation, explained to ERR.

However, if the regular cycle were to then continue in the way it had done prior to the pandemic, the next festivals after that would be held in 2027 and 2029 respectively. With Youth festivals in 2023 and 2027 and regular Song and Dance Festivals in 2025 and 2029, this would mean a total of four festivals in a period of eight years.

"During discussions with the Estonian Choral Association and the Estonian Folk Dance and Folk Music Association (ERRS), the organizers of the song and dance festivals admitted that holding major festivals so frequently over the course of a decade is not affordable for the sector," said Weidebaum.

Therefore, it was decided to move the XIV Youth Festival (originally scheduled for) 2027 back by a year and bring the XXVIII Song and XXI Dance Festival forward a year from 2029, so both will happen in 2028, Weidebaum said.

"It is important to stress that at this stage, it is not possible to comment on any more specific plans, as the work is only just beginning. However, it has been analyzed and discussed, that a historical meeting of two parts of the same tradition - the tradition of youth festivals and the tradition of general song and dance festivals – would be feasible in 2028, when the Republic of Estonia celebrates its 110th anniversary. We can be certain that nothing will be missed - the Youth Festival and the General Song and Dance Festival will both take place simultaneously," Weidebaum added.

Margus Toomla, head of the Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation, said in a press release on Monday, that combining the two festivals in 2028 would probably mean a longer festival with more participants as well as more concerts and performances.

The most recent General Song and Dance Festival (XXVII), took place between July 4 and 7, 2019, with the next one scheduled for July 3-6, 2025.

The XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival took place last weekend, ending on Sunday July 2. The previous one was held from June 30 to July 2, 2017.

Under normal conditions, both the youth and regular Song Festivals take place every five years.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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