Pictures: The vibes of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival

This year, Estonia’s largest folk music festival, in the country’s southern town of Viljandi, celebrates its 30th anniversary; here’s a look at the unique and cool vibes and people of the festival, as captured last year by Estonian World’s photographer Janar Puuram.

In 2023, the Viljandi Folk Music Festival – that last year brought 25,000 visitors over four days to the town of 20,000 people – celebrates the 30 anniversary. From the humble beginnings in 1993, the event – that this year takes place from 27 to 30 July – has become one of the largest of its kind in the Baltic and Nordic countries. It values tradition, heritage and local identity and tries to adapt the spiritual values people have developed over hundreds and thousands of years to the contemporary way of life.

The event, held at the historical Viljandi Castle Hills, has an atmosphere like no other music festival in Estonia and attracts one of the most diverse – if not the most diverse – crowd in the country (with the exception of the Estonian Song Celebration, naturally). From toddlers to grannies, everyone is welcome here and almost as diverse is the music programme.

The main programme this year encompasses more than 70 concerts and features performers from Estonia, Georgia, Ireland, England, Israel, Canada, Greece, Latvia, Mali, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia, Finland, Denmark, Tibet and Hungary. In addition to the concerts in the ticket holders’ area, there are almost 70 free concerts on the two town stages.

Estonian World captured some of the cool vibes of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival in 2022:

Viljandi Folk Festival 2022. Photo by Janar Puuram.

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