The 18th Baltic Students' Song and Dance Festival "Gaudeamus," a three day event combining lights, music, choral music and dance, returns to Tartu after a 12-year absence this Friday.
The song and dance festival, part of the official Estonian centennial programme, will open with a fire-lighting ceremony at 21:00 EEST on Friday, to be attended by all 4,500 performing singers, dancers and musicians from all over the Baltics, according to an event press release.
Following the lighting of the festival's ceremonial bonfire, a torchlight procession of performers and spectators alike will march to the Arch Bridge and Emajõgi River, where a performance of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" will be staged for the public.
"There will definitely be fire, a theme that is played with throughout the entire performance," said Mart Koldits, director of the festival's opening ceremony. "Fire symbolises destruction as well as rebirth, and we will tell that story using grand fire sculptures and fireworks."
Saturday's main event, a night dance festival titled "The Mystery of Midsummer's Eve," will begin at 22:00 at Tamme Stadium. Dancers from Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian universities will perform in a dance festival that will, for the first time in the event's history, combine folk dance with modern dance.
According to director Renee Nõmmik, the performance tells the story of a young man and woman who fall in love but are forbidden from being together. "It seems like an old legend or myth about the origins of Midsummer's Eve celebrations, in which light is almost like a character — an important and constantly changing character," he added.
On Sunday, a parade from the city centre to Tartu Song Festival Grounds will begin at 15:00, which will be followed by the song festival, concert and performance "The Songs of Midsummer" beginning at 16:00.
Various free performances will take place throughout the city over the weekend as well.
Click here for the full festival programme, including info on related free events.
Editor: Aili Vahtla