Song Festival Grounds

The most important Estonian tradition
Category: Legend/Story
Author: annabel

Voice: amaliegv
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You just heard a choir of 30 000 people singing together to celebrate the big Song Festival.

It is a extraordinary experience to witness such a unity and love for the „fatherland“. Every 5 years about 200 000 people gather here and sing along with the 30 000 performers who snugly stand under bent roof what looks like a seashell. Most of the performers and many of the audience wear the traditional folk-dresses and this is a very interesting sight to see, because all of them are slightly different!

The tradition of song festivals was born along with Estonian national awakening at the end of 19th century in the second biggest city, Tartu. 5 festivals were held there until the tradition moved to this very place in Tallinn.

During the Soviet occupation the song festivals were luckily not banned, but the authorities forced every event to include the anthems of Soviet Union and many Estonian songs were forbidden. During the Singing Revolution in 1988, the Song Festival Grounds served as an important venue for people to express their political views in speech and song. In a way, Estonians sang themselves free and this is why it is called the “Singing Revolution”!

The area here is also used for other big events and concerts. Many pop and rock stars have performed under the „Shell”. Examples are Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Robbie Williams and many more!

Explore the area here and try imagining 200 000 joyful, singing people all around you.