Sveta Bar among Tallinn nightlife venues facing questions over survival

A 2018 Tallinn Music Week event at Sveta Bar.
A 2018 Tallinn Music Week event at Sveta Bar. Source: Patrik Tamm

Concert venues and clubs in Tallinn are facing financial difficulties. Having first been impacted by successive financial crises, which have affected cultural life as a whole, they are also suffering as a result of the city's gentrification. One of those facing question over its long-term survival is Sveta Bar, near the Baltic Station (Balti jaam).

Sveta Bar is currently one of the Estonian capital's nightlife hotspots. However, according to the new detailed plan initiated by the owner of the site on which the bar is located, near Tallinn's main train station, Sveta Bar will no longer remain. Sveta Bar's owner Roman Demchenko said this had been expected.

"Of course, it's sad that at some point it will end, but we never know how long that will take. In quite a few other places in the city, where there are clubs and concert venues, there are [going to be] new developments. These take five years or more [to complete], they don't disappear overnight," Demchenko said.

The City of Tallinn will not intervene in such situations related to privately owned developments, but will offer its support.

"We introduced a support measure for live music venues, whose activities are exactly the type we are talking about with Sveta: their cultural content and program, so that organizers can take risks and encourage diversity. This is what the city has been doing for a year and a half now, and the first call for next year's applications is open," said Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kaarel Oja (SDE).

However, successive economic crises have had an adverse impact on the city's nightlife and live music scene, leaving prospects for the year ahead in doubt.

"Right now, the main question we face is how to survive. On top of that, the 'ball is in our court' with the VAT rise from next year. The current inflation will definitely have an impact on consumers," Demchenko said.

"At the level of clubs, it has been decided that we will finally create the long-awaited Estonian Nightlife Society (Eesti Ööelu Ühing). Clubs, venues and event organizers will create an organization that represents us politically and also on a broader level, to raise awareness of our challenges and problems and to find solutions for those same issues," he added.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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