Estonian Song and Dance Festival 2024
Against the backdrop of the global upheavals of the pandemic, now might be a great time to do some long-term travel planning. We have something extra special in store for you for 2024 (and it only comes along once in every 5 years): The Estonian Song and Dance Festival is held early July 2024 and it is guaranteed to be something to remember for the rest of your life!
The year 2024 will be the 21th year for the Estonian Dance Festival and the 150th year for the Song Festival - one of the largest amateur choral events in the world and titled by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Ticket sales will begin in early 2024 (price range being 5-75 euros), but be mindful that the time to get organised with flights and accommodation is much earlier than that (hint: how about now?)!
The festival itself is an unparalleled dip into another culture - a lovely and immensely powerful insight into a nation. But even more than that, there is something powerful and universal about music - in this case sung by a choir of 30,000 singers to an audience of 80,000 people! - that transcends language and culture. It resonates and touches us without explanation. It reminds me of a quote by Gabrielle Roth:
In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of the soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling and silence are the four universal healing salves.
Taking cue from her words, the Estonian Song and Dance festival is full of healing energy and the powerful feeling of it all is hard to shake - nor would you want to - for a long time afterwards.
All you have to decide now is which days and event(s) you would like to attend. The dance festival begins with three performances on Thu/Friday in the first week of July (with an identical program for both days). They are then followed by the first full length concert on the evening of Fri and both a daytime and evening performance on Sat.
The ever-amazing song festival on the other hand consists of two evening concerts: The first on the Saturday evening and the second, final one of Sunday evening. The programmes on each night are different and ticket prices vary depending on which concert and day you are attending.
Also note that on the Saturday morning, there is an impressive 5-kilometre procession through the centre of town, attended by the performers all dressed in their colourful, traditional clothing. This can be watched from anywhere along the route to the stadium for free and it is well worth your time. One great option is to watch the procession and allow yourself to be carried away by the pure joy and energy within it, and then watch the song concert that same day or evening. It'll be an unforgettable experience!
Image credits: Aivar Pihelgas, Visit Estonia