Youth Prepare to Perform for Nation, the World

29. June 2011

"The wide world begins in a small land. The big becomes big only when seen side by side with the small. A small child's perception of the world may be much wider than that of a grown-up. And a small nation can be big in the eyes of the world if it is great in spirit and mind."

Thus wrote the organizers of the three-day Youth Song and Dance Celebration, to which 35,000 schoolchildren will flock to from all over the country this weekend. The festival, which takes place once every two to three years, comprises two days of folk dancing and a day of choir music. It will be held at the city's Song Festival Grounds.

The celebration begins on Friday, July 1, at 19:00 with an opening ceremony; continues at 20:00 on Saturday; and finishes up on Sunday, starting with a parade at 9:00 and continuing the program at the Song Festival Grounds at 13:00.

The first two days of the festival will comprise two-hour performances by thousands of dancers, who form beautiful patterns. The event concludes with a six-hour concert by choirs and orchestras from throughout the nation.

Beginning at 9:00 on July 3, the parade going through downtown Tallinn is an important part of the tradition and will be hard to miss. During the parade, a symbolic torch will be carried to the fire tower of the Song Festival Grounds.

One of Tallinn's largest roads, Narva mantee, will be closed to most traffic between 07:00 and 23:00 during all three days of the event, however public transportation will be operating, with a special city bus service operating during the festival.

Most of the city's schools will be turned into temporary shelters for the performers, who can easily be identified by their green bracelets when they are not already dressed for the show.

The tradition of Estonian song and dance celebrations dates back to the year 1869.

Tickets range from four to 40 euros. Parking for bicycles and baby carriages will be provided at the Song Festival Grounds. Details can be found on the English-language website.