President Karis: Viljandi Folk testimony to Estonia's thriving culture

The annual Viljandi Folk Festival represents a powerful phenomenon within the Estonian nation's cultural scene, President Alar Karis says.

Attending the festival's opening ceremony on Thursday, the head of state said that: "With its existence and growth, the festival has given a powerful boost to our entire traditional movement."

"It is clear that without Viljandi Folk, these traditions would not be so firmly embedded and alive in the consciousness and lives of our people. It is vital for Estonia and Estonians that, with our national story, we remain aware of our roots and remain in contact with our heritage and our forebears," he went on. "This gives our little nation an extraordinary strength. A strength to weather all storms, a strength to rely on. It is our hidden secret and our hidden treasure."

Ando Kiviberg, festival organizer, received the keys to the city from the mayor of Viljandi, as a part of the opening ceremony.

President Karis ascending the steps to the stage at Viljandi Folk's opening day, Thursday, July 27, 2023. Source: Muumi

As to its comparative longevity – this year the festival marks its 30th anniversary – Kiviberg said that the secret was "A love for what we do and knowing why we do it."

Preserving traditional and early music, including instrument making and playing was key here Kiviberg and festival co-founder Raivo Sildoja added.

The festival was modeled on a similar event which has long taken place in Sweden.

The festival lasts four days, in and around Viljandi's castle hills.

Over 650 musicians across nearly 100 ensembles, 13 of them from abroad, are due to take part.

The main festival program includes nearly 80 concerts and nearly 40 workshops, while the perimeter zone, from where at least some concerts can he heard, is open to the public free of charge.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Maiken Tiits, Olev Kenk

Source: ERR Kutluur

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