The 150th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festival

Tartu Song Festival 2019

20–22 June 2019

The Song Festival’s 150th anniversary is naturally celebrated at its birthplace, Tartu, with a song festival, when over 8500 singers ranging from kindergarteners to grandparents perform music from Estonian composers Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Gustav Ernesaks, Miina Härma and many others at the main concert of the Tartu Song Festival on 22 June 2019 at the Festival Grounds.

The first nation-wide song festival was held in Tartu in 1869, a city that is forever young, always in its springtime, the same Estonian city that gave birth to the Estonian national university, the Estonian-language newspaper and theatre, as well as the Estonian national museum.

The song festival, born 150 years ago and nowadays held every 5 years, features on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The song festival is an important awakener and keeper of the Estonian people – it would be hard to find Estonians who do not hold the song festival dear: this is a special event that they find time for and will even travel home for from afar. At the festival, we Estonians are at our best.

18:00 22 June 2019

Main concert

The main concert of the Tartu Song Festival, focusing on songs most loved by audiences today, will be held in the evening of 22 June at the Tartu Song Festival Grounds. The hallmark choral music will be performed by over 8500 singers ranging from kindergarteners to grandparents. The programme features works by Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Gustav Ernesaks, Miina Härma and many others. The concert also includes brass bands, including the Vanemuine Theatre Symphony Orchestra.

20 June 2019
Concert day of combined song festivals

The Estonian National Male Choir and the Academic Women’s Choir of the University of Tartu perform at the festive joint concert of the Tartu Song Festival and the XXVII Song Celebration in the festival church of St. Mary’s, Tartu.

21 June 2019
Day of period concerts and dance performance

The three period concerts – 1869, 1919 and 1969 – invite you to travel along the song festivals’ timeline.
The dance performance „Loodud Jääma“ (“Here to Stay”) begins at Kassitoome (Toomeorg) Valley just before sundown.

22 June 2019
The Song Festival Day

The main concert of the Tartu Song Festival is the cherry on top of the Song Festival’s 150th anniversary.

Projekti nimetus „Tartu laulupidu 2019“

Brief description of the project: In 2019 we celebrate the passing of 150 years since the first song festival, held in Tartu in 1869. The anniversary of the song festival is naturally celebrated with a song festival in its historic birthplace Tartu – the main concert is held at the Tartu Song Festival Grounds on 22 June 2019. One can listen to and watch the period concerts “1869”, “1919” and “1969” as well as folk dance performances in different parts of Tartu the day before the main concert.

Goal: We wish to organise the 2019 Tartu Song Festival in a meaningful way and so that it also makes an impression on foreign tourists, who would thus become aware of the essence of Estonian song festivals and the importance of the tradition in preserving the local people’s vital force and their self-worth.

Result: German, Latvian and Finnish tourists’ awareness of Estonian Song Festival culture is improving thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund. Even though the centrepiece of the song festivals is the Song Celebrations in Tallinn, these festivals first began in Tartu. So it will be a reminder that the song festivals are not just an event that occurs in Tallinn every 5 years but rather an inherent way for our culture to meet and sing.
Name of the Fund: European Regional Development Fund
Amount of financial support: €65000