European Green Capital 2023 – Tallinn hosts environmentally friendly Youth Song and Dance Festival

  • 2023-06-30

European Green Capital 2023 Tallinn and the organizers of the summer’s biggest outdoor event, the beloved Youth Song and Dance Festival “Sacred Land” have worked hard for two years to decrease the environmental footprint of the festival. The city has organized more than 70 waste collection points on location, reduced waste altogether with disposable dishes and promoted environmentally friendly transport.

"The Youth Song and Dance festival is one of the year’s most anticipated events, as up to 100 000 people will gather together. We made it our goal to help organize it as environmentally friendly as possible in the year of the European Green Capital. So we have helped the organizers with reusable dishes and waste collection, as well as by creating more efficient public transport and parking for bicycles so that people can come to the event and leave their cars at home," said Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Vladimir Svet and added that public transport in Tallinn is free for everyone on the three days of the big festival.

One of the most important innovations at this year’s festival is the use of only reusable. In Tallinn, it is mandatory from June 1st to use only reusable dishes at all events. Although an event with more than 30,000 participants received an exemption until the end of the year, the Song and Dance Festival Foundation wants to be waste-free in the year of the green capital and show that even such a large event can be carried out in an environmentally friendly way.

„So many people have never used reusable dishes all at one event in Estonia before. Such an undertaking is unique in the context of Europe and the world. But where else, if at the Youth Song and Dance Festival and in the year of the green capital to try such a big innovation," said Krista Kampus, head of Tallinn - Green Capital of Europe 2023.

Tallinn city funded the use of reusable dishes at the Youth Song and Dance Festival with 27,000 euros, and thanks to the reuse requirement, almost 500 000 disposable dishes remain unused. In this way, about 3,5 tons of waste is prevented. For the visitor, this means paying a deposit of 2 euros for the dishes, which will be returned in cash at the numerous dish return points on site.

It is also encouraged for every visitor to bring their empty water bottle with them which can be refilled: there are several public water taps at the festival areas, which will remain open even after the festival.

A total of 70 waste collection points have been created at the Song Festival Ground alone, for collecting waste by type. There will also be volunteer green ambassadors at all collection points, who will explain how waste is collected by type and how the return of deposit dishes work, where to find water taps, etc.

To celebrate the European Green Capital Year and the 13th Youth Song and Dance Festival, the city of Tallinn, together with the children participating in the festival, planted 150 trees in 22 different locations across the city in schoolyards, youth centre areas, playgrounds and sports fields.

In addition, in cooperation with the Estonian Handicraft Teachers' Society, the Estonian Folk Art and Handicraft Union and the organizing team of the youth song and dance party, 22 Tallinn schools made 76 wooden flower crates, where they planted native Estonian flowers. Two small park areas were formed from the boxes in front of Tallinn City Hall.

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