The 5th annual Opinion Festival began in Paide, Central Estonia on Friday, where the two-day event will feature approximately 160 discussions in Estonian, Russian and English on topics ranging from education to the economy, pornography, and veganism.
Festivalgoers can participate in debates and discussions on about 160 themes, including the social, the provocative and the apparently taboo, on 25 different themed stages or sites.
For the first time this year, basic school pupils will organize their own discussions in the children's area, with topics ranging from environmental protection to addiction to the online world and children's happiness. Teachers from Paide Sookure and Paide Lasteaed kindergartens will also provide a free program for the festival's youngest visitors.
Festival organizer Ott Karulin encourages anyone interested to attend and participate in the event, including those who have never attended the Opinion Festival before. "As there are truly all kinds of topic, nobody needs to worry that maybe nothing there will interest or inspire them," Karulin said.
Festival rooted in Northern European civic activism
Originally inspired by Sweden’s Almedalen Week, which has been held annually since 1968 and is considered to be one of the most important forums in Swedish politics, Estonia’s Opinion Festival has broadened the scope of the subject matter far beyond just politics.
More English-language content than ever
In an effort to make one of Estonia's largest civic events more accessible to people of all backgrounds, this year's edition of the Opinion Festival features more English-language content than ever on a variety of topics.
The ten English-language discussions and one English-language theater performace, which together will make up the highest yet concentration of English-language content at the festival, will address a diverse range of topics, ranging from the sustainability of Estonia's startup sccene to the growing popularity of veganism and changes in the EU, according to a festival press release.
The full festival program is available here (link in Estonian; uncheck "eesti and "vene" boxes at top to view only English-language discussions).
More information on the Opinion Festival's English-language discussions can be found on a dedicated Facebook event here.
Editor: Aili Vahtla