Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Folk Music Comes Out in Force at the Viljandi Folk Festival

Play. That’s the theme of this year’s Viljandi Folk Festival, which starts on Thursday and lasts through Sunday.  It’s a fitting theme because it’s not just about playing music, but the playful feeling many get when they go to a music festival like this, including many of us at the embassy.

One appeal of the Viljandi Folk Festival is that it exposes music fans not only to traditional Estonian or regional folk music, but to a variety of styles from around the world, including the United States.  U.S. Embassy Tallinn has supported the festival regularly over the past 10 years and we are proud to help bring the Grammy-nominated U.S. group Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole to this year’s festival!

In the past, festival organizers have facilitated programs with other U.S. performers in Viljandi, including master classes from visiting U.S. experts.  The Viljandi Culture Academy has become a popular destination for U.S. Fulbright scholars and students, hosting three in recent years.  And as a sign of Viljandi’s growing partnership with the U.S. Embassy, the mayor, Ando Kiviberg hosted “Viljandi America Days” this past March.

(Photo: Performers from last year's Viljandi Folk Festival.)

Ando Kiviberg was the former artistic director of the Viljandi Folk Festival and worked for 20 years to promote the advantages of bringing a music festival to a small and quiet town.  Thanks to his efforts, Viljandi is now Estonia’s folk culture capital and over the past 22 years ago the Viljandi Folk Festival has become one of the largest and most beloved summer events in Estonia and in the Nordic region. 

Have a fun, music-filled weekend! See you in Viljandi!

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