Song Celebration

The Song Celebration tradition began with the first Song Celebration organized by Johann Voldemar Jannsen and the “Vanemuine” society in Tartu on 18–20 June 1869. 51 male choirs and brass bands encompassing 845 singers and musicians gathered in Tartu. With a few exceptions, the number of singers has been growing gradually, reaching 30,000 singers in 2014.

Author: Aivar Pihelgas

The venue of the Song Celebration is the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Tallinna Lauluväljak). The Song Festival Grounds fit up to 100,000 people. The performers sing under an arch, that carries sound evenly over the whole spectator area. The Song Festival Grounds have hosted the celebration since 1960 and was the place, where the “singing revolution” took place in 1988.

One of the highlights of the Song and Dance Celebration is the procession, which passes through the main streets of Tallinn and reaches the Song Festival Grounds. All performers attend the procession while thousands of spectators cheer the singers and dancers along the 5 km route.

The motto of the 27th Song Celebration and the 20th Dance Celebration is The Land of My Fathers, the Land that I Love. It comes from a patriotic poem written by the much loved Estonian poet Lydia Koidula. The lyrics were sung at the first Song Celebration 150 years ago and they have since become the Song Celebration anthem, where the audience joins in, standing. It is an expression of our love for Estonia.

The first Song Celebration was held at a time when Estonia had not yet achieved its independence and education in Estonian was only available at primary schools. Today, however, we are preparing for the 27th Song Celebration and the 20th Dance Celebration, Estonia has become a model of a successful e-government and recently celebrated her centenary.

The tradition of Song and Dance Celebrations brings together the entire country: whole generations from grandparents to grandchildren meet on the massive stage and almost half the population watches the concerts and shows.

Why is the Song and Dance Celebration so important to us? Because it is related to how much we love our home, our traditions and our language. We are a small nation and we wish to come together time and again to admire the countless variations of our colourful national costumes brightening up the huge stage of the Song Celebration or swirling around at the Dance Celebration. We wish to come together to pay homage to the spirit of our forefathers. We wish to come together at the Song Celebration and to sing together: “The land of my fathers, the land that I love, I will never abandon her”.

Concerts of the Song Celebration:

  • 1st concert „To the Teacher“ on Saturday, 6 July from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • 2nd concert Sunday, 7 July from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Separate tickets for each concert range from 5 to 50 euros and will be available from the beginning of 2019.

The concerts of the Song Celebration will take place at the Song Festival Grounds in the open air. In case of rain, we kindly ask you to wear raincoats. Umbrellas are not permitted during the concerts.

The programme of the XXVII Song and XX Dance Celebration “My Fatherland is My Love”:

  • Relay of the Flame 1.06 (Tartu) – 3.07 (Tallinn). The journey passes all Estonian counties in 33 days.
  • Choral concert at St. Mary’s Church on Thursday, 20 June in Tartu
  • Dance Celebration on Thursday, 4 July at 7 p.m. Kalev Central Stadium in Tallinn
  • Dance Celebration on Friday, 5 July at 11.00 a.m. Kalev Central Stadium in Tallinn
  • Dance Celebration on Friday, 5 July at  6 p.m. Kalev Central Stadium in Tallinn
  • Folk music concert on Friday, 5 July at 2 p.m. Kalev Central Stadium in Tallinn
  • Procession on Saturday, 6 July from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. central Tallinn to the Song Festival Grounds
  • Song Celebration „To the Teacher“ on Saturday, 6 July at 7 p.m. Tallinn Song Festival Grounds
  • Song Celebration on Sunday, 7 July at 2 p.m. Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

The Chief Conductor is Peeter Perens.