Estonian minister of culture: No mass cultural events to be staged this summer

  • 2020-04-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - While last week, organizers of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival still expressed hope that the festival could be staged in late July, on Monday, Estonian Minister of Culture Tonis Lukas said, however, that no cultural events with large audiences will be held this summer.

Lukas noted that while a number of restrictions will be lifted in May, they do not concern concerts and theater productions, which will not be held in open air or indoors in May or June. Provided that virus statistics are low over the next two months, concessions could be made for small open air concerts and performances, he added.

"The cultural season will not resume in indoor environments until fall," Lukas said.

Summer mass events will be cancelled; however, theaters and likely also cinemas will be able to plan their indoor fall season.

Organizers of Viljandi Folk Festival, which is to be held for the 28th time at the end of July this year, said last week that they expect it to be possible for the festival to take place despite the current restrictions concerning public events in Estonia.

"At the moment we are still waiting for the government's official decision as to whether and on what conditions cultural events can be staged in July. If the situation in the country permits it, we will stage the festival complying with all valid restrictions and rules," Tarmo Noormaa, chief of program at Viljandi Folk Festival, told BNS last Thursday. 

Noormaa said it was clear that the festival cannot take place completely in its usual format this year, meaning that the focus has to be on Estonian performers rather than on artists from abroad.

"We are however also thinking about alternatives if the festival cannot be held in Viljandi this year -- such as a virtual festival," he said. 

"Hence there is no final decision, but work in different directions is going on," Noormaa added. 

The 28th Viljandi Folk Festival was scheduled to take place in the South Estonian county town Viljandi on July 23-26.