Biggest student festival in Baltics to connect fire show, music and dancing

  • 2018-05-29
  • TBT Staff

TARTU - Gaudeamus is a dance and song festival which was born in 1956 and has taken place each time in a different Baltic state. The festival connects strong song and dance tradition that all three Baltic countries have, but it also features new formats, more modern approach and is in a more professional level, as university dance groups and choirs are so to say créme de la créme of choir singing and folk dancing. 

Last time, the festival took place in Latvia. But now, after 12 years, it's back in it's birth town – Tartu.

The festival history is pretty interesting, considering it has experienced very different times and regimes.

In addition to the two main events, organisers offers spectacular night performance of "Carmina Burana" with living fire and fireworks and the whole event is happening by the river and on the river. That event if free of charge. Free of charge are also City Stage programme performances and several other events such as the walk with thousand torches (carrying the festival light).

Festivals content

On 22–24 June, Gaudeamus, the biggest student song and dance festival of the Baltics, will be held in Tartu, and it will bring over 4000 high level performers to "Athens on the River Emajõgi" – as we call Tartu. The event is part of the Estonia 100 programme, and it combines light art, music, choral music and dance in a spectacular performance never before seen in Tartu. The whole programme is built around the Midsummer’s theme and looks at Midsummer’s traditions in all three Baltic states from ancient times until today.

Presidents of 6 European countries will be attending

The XVIII Gaudeamus opening concert will be attended by the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, the President of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis, the president of Poland Andrzej Duda and the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö.

Night dance performance "The Mystery of Midsummer Eve"

The Mystery of Midsummer Eve, a spectacular dance performance, will take place on Saturday 23 June at 10 p.m. on Tamme Stadium in Tartu – this lively night dance festival dedicated to the Midsummer Day is filled with excitement and mystery that you simply must experience!

The Mystery of Midsummer Eve is a story about a young man and woman who fall in love but are forbidden to be together. Their love brings about a series of adventurous and mystical events that start the Midsummer Day bonfire tradition.

This romantic story has a feel of an old legend or myth of how Midsummer Day parties came to be. Light and the symbolism of light are almost as an individual character in that story – a constantly changing personality being present throughout the show. On the brightest night of the year, you see lighting effects, talented fire artists, and feel the mystery that is created on Tamme Stadium by a huge lighting installation.

For Estonia this will be the first dance festival at night! For the first time in the history of Gaudeamus, the show includes contemporary dancers.

The best student dancers from Latvia and Lithuania will be showing their incredible technical skills routines created for Midsummer Day and specially for this festival.

The dance performance is directed by Renee Nõmmik, the composer is Ardo Ran Varres, the lighting designer is Meelis Lusmägi, a laureate of the Lighting Designer of the Year award several years in a row.

The Songs of Midsummer – Midsummer Day through 1000 years

"The Songs of Midsummer" is a concert, song festival  and performance which follows the mystery of the solstice through a thousand years.

The song festival and concert performance "The Songs of Midsummer", which is one of the main events of Gaudeamus festival, will take place on 24 June at 4 p.m. at Tartu Festival Grounds, following the central subjects of the traditions of Midsummer Day, and youth and love through different eras.

Every generation experiences youth for the first time. Youth has a special meaning during the solstice night when nature is blossoming and flourishing at its peak. Whether we admit it or not, our hearts and souls are intertwined with nature. The brightest time of the year is the best moment let yourself loose, to cheer, yell, sing, go crazy and dance, and do it all with thousands of soulmates!

The best student choirs and orchestras in the Baltics will perform in the song festival, playing a lively Midsummer Day themed repertoire.
For the first time in the history of Gaudeamus, the song festival is integrated with performance art. Indrek Hargla, the well-known historic novels writer from Estonia, and Ain Mäeots (known theatre and film director), have created five short performances that carry the audience through a thousand years and imaginary solstice nights on this land.

Centuries may come and go, but love and passion know no boundaries of time or space, and on the shortest night of the year, young people who were born a thousand years apart on the Kronos scale can meet each other – it makes no difference on the Kairos scale.