Summer, festival season, and you can’t decide which festival to choose? Let’s try something new to get out of our bubble! What about attending...

Summer, festival season, and you can’t decide which festival to choose? Let’s try something new to get out of our bubble! What about attending one of the largest European music festivals representing folk music? Does that sound good to you? Keep on reading!

You won’t be the only one excited about this – I can’t wait to go!


What’s the Viljandi Folk Music Festival About?

Viljandi Folk Music Festival

Viljandi Folk Music Festival is an open-air festival, taking place in the town of Viljandi in southern Estonia from July 25th to 28th 2019 and it has become one of the largest festivals of its kind in the Baltic and Nordic countries over the years!

It was launched in 1994 by a group of enthusiastic, devoted, passionate people with a goal to reinvigorate and promote Estonian traditional music.

This year’s theme is “Sounds Good”, focusing on the stories behind the music and personal link between the musicians and their tunes.

The organizers want to inspire young people to sing their own songs, play their own tunes and dance their own dances. That’s why the festival is not just about the concerts but also about various music workshops that can help develop or improve the skills of musicians.

Keeping in mind that Estonia is quite small, it’s even more interesting to see how rich the Estonian culture is. Viljandi Folk Music Festival features the diversity of folk culture as well as the different musical identities. There are several ethnic groups within Estonia with their own musical traditions, songs and instruments. As a result, you can find a wide variety of folk music concerts within the Festival.

5 Reasons to Go to the Viljandi Folk Music Festival 2019

Viljandi Folk Music Festival

There are many reasons why take a few days off and go to enjoy some quality music and an amazing atmosphere. Here are five main ones!

  • It’s all about the storytelling – This year’s topic is about ‘story behind the tune’ focusing on meaningful music and significant musical tales. Folk music is about sharing and it comes with a message that everybody is equally important – the musician, the dancer, and the listener! Ever heard of András Berecz and Tuup? Both are well-known storytellers!
  • 350 musicians, more than 70 concerts – Besides artists from Estonia representing national culture and music, you can come to see artists from Great Britain, Russia, Hungary, France, Latvia, and even China! It’s definitely worth the travel to experience it! It’s the perfect opportunity to see Sam Lee, King Ayisoba and Lena Jonsson in concert.
  • Environmentally friendly festival – Viljandi Folk Festival gives up single-use plastic dishes, cutleries, focusing on recycling and sorting waste! Organizers care about the environment, their ecological footprint and social aspects of sustainability, which I’m giving a big thumbs up!
  • Reasonable price – Tickets are reasonably priced considering there are 4 days of the festival and it’s easy to get there, too!
  • Bring your own music instruments – Music instruments are not banned to bring but encouraged to be played anywhere around the area! Playing your best, sharing your stories, and your feelings with others is a big YES!

How to Get to Viljandi

Want to get free accommodation in exchange for work? If you’re traveling on a budget or if you’re trying to stay on the road longer, you could consider exchanging your skills for accommodation. Worldpackers is a platform that connects hosts and travelers. You could basically volunteer in exchange for accommodation and board. You can read more about Worldpackers here.  Get a $10 discount using this link.

Leave your car at home and get a direct train from Tallinn! It takes around 2 hours and then it’s only 20 minutes on foot from the station. Trains are running 6 times a day, but during the festival time, extra trains are scheduled to make sure everyone can get to and from the festival. You can also catch one of the local buses or taxis. More detailed information can be found on the festival’s website.

Where to Stay during the Festival

Viljandi offers a variety of accommodation options depending on your budget!

If you enjoy staying in hotels, Park Hotel Viljandi, Centrum Hotel or the Grand Hotel Viljandi could be an option for you. If you travel on a budget, you can use the campsite or book one of the holiday rentals in a close distance from the festival.

Academus Hostel Viljandi, Hostel Ingeri or Peetrimoisa Villa Hostel would be a great option for those who don’t mind staying in a hostel and want to network even before the festival!

Kindly note that you should book in advance! The options are getting limited because most people book in advance.

What to Bring to the Festival

Viljandi Folk Music Festival

Not sure what to bring with you? Here is a list of festival essentials you should think of when packing your bag:

  • Raincoat to stay warm and dry
  • Sunscreen to avoid sunburn – after all, it’s summer time
  • Water bottle to keep hydrated
  • Wet wipes to refresh yourself
  • Something to sit on for both concert and picnic area (a picnic blanket works too)
  • Mosquito repellent for night time
  • Camera to capture the memories
  • Don’t forget to bring your tickets!

Viljandi Folk Music Festival

If you still not convinced, let me tell you that besides a lot of emotions, new friends and aching legs from dancing, you can get the new knowledge and skills by attending educational events or workshop which has been organized! Who said learning can’t be fun?

So what are you waiting for? Tickets are selling fast, so go grab yours!
Planning on going? Let me know! I’ll be there!
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Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. This trip will be organized by the Viljandi Folk Festival. As always, all opinions are my own! See you there! The photo credits belong to their official website.

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