The Viljandi Folk Music Festival unveiled the artists of the main programme and extended the buzz to the heart of the Old Town

  • 2024-05-16

As of today, the main programme of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival is available for viewing by day, and some changes to the locations of the stages are introduced. The main programme will feature around half a hundred artists, ten of them from abroad and four of them the outcome of the collaboration between Estonian and cross-border guests.

“Looking at this year's list of artists, I would say that it is definitely not inferior to last year's festival–the geography of performers is even wider. Personally, I'm delighted that we've managed to bring RURA from Scotland and a real bluegrass band from Nashville—Midnight Ride. There will be some very refined surprises and enjoyable experiences from Ghana and elsewhere,” noted Ando Kiviberg, the head of the festival.

The festival kicks off on Thursday afternoon. The procession will start from the UKU Centre to Kaevumägi at 12.30, and the opening ceremony will get under way at 13.00. Right on the opening day of the festival, the most challenging foreign guests for the programme compilers will take the stage—Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino from Southern Italy, RURA from Scotland, and Midnight Ride from the USA. The later part of the day will be enriched by the colourful programme of our very own Angus, and festival visitors can choose between two of this year's gems, Gabba (Norway/Saami) and Florence Adooni (Ghana). Thursday will end with a big bang by Puuluup's performance, which will be taken over by Justament, who performed at the very first festival. The Viljandi Song Festival Grounds, which was tried and tested last year, will be the main stage this year, with the most acoustic power and demanding and productions.

In addition to a few repeat concerts, Friday brings Maqamat Ensemble & Nissim Lugasi from Israel, and Curly Strings will be back on stage after a short break. Trad.Attack! will provide the late-night atmosphere. After midnight, let your senses be captivated by the symbiosis of sound and video by the magnificient magician OMIRI (Portugal), or let yoursself to be carried into the night by Lõõtsavägilased.

Saturday's main programme will start with a special project by the creative team of the folk music celebration, which is a part of the Song and Dance Celebration, called the Folk Music Celebration 2025. At night, there will be several other performances specially created for the Viljandi Folk Music Festival. This year, Singer Vinger will surprise the audience with a special programme with a folk background, and EiK will get on stage as a guest with Duo Ruut. Swedish virtuosos from the Symbio ensemble can be enjoyed at Kaevumägi, and Kumbia Boruka from Mexico will be bursting with energy on the Song Festival Grounds. On the other side of midnight, Untsakad will sweep the audience away.

The programme until midnight on Sunday is no less exciting than previous days and, in addition to the chance to listen to artists you may not have had the chance to see on previous days, Sunday evening will also bring exciting special productions. The  highlights of the night will include a surprise special show, Ando & Sõbrad 55, which will be performed on the II Kirsimägi Stage after the Zetos romp around at the Song Festival Grounds. The finale of the festival will be the project “Sing my (folk) song”, which was warmly and loudly received at last year's Folk Music Festival, where well-known artists from the pop, jazz, and metal scene will perform songs from the folk music repertoire, and their folk musician partners will perform songs from the pop, jazz, and metal music repertoire.

The XXXI Viljandi Folk Music Festival will take place from 25-28 July 2024. This year's theme is “Patterns and Traces”.