Amateurs take over the arts factory

  • 2007-08-22
  • By Joel Alas

OUR PARTY: Risto Piide and Hannes Mets started the Diletantide Avangard parties toshowcase their own band. The parties are now known as some of the best undergroundculture events in Tallinn.

TALLINN- Those who follow theTallinn party scene knowthere's one event thatshouldn't be missed 'sDiletantide Avangard.No matter where it isheld, this roving partyattracts a crowd of thecity's most dedicatedbohemians and indie rockers.The music can be amazingor atrocious 's there'ssimply no guarantee whatyou're going to get. Butregardless of what's onstage, the event alwaysrages until the early morningand beyond.Diletant means "amateur"in Estonian, whileavangard means the samething it does everywhereelse in the world (thoughspelled differently).

Byname, it's an event for freshartists who like to pushboundaries.The event is the brainchildof Risto Piibe, a 21-year-old musician whostarted the parties as a wayof giving his own bandsomewhere to play 's an oftheardtale in the musicindustry."The idea was to giveyoung bands a chance toperform along with somemore experienced bands.At first it was just for indiemusic, now we have allkinds 's electronic, punk,rock, lots of differentstyles," says Piide."And if you make something,then you want toplay there as well. Ourband has always played atevery event, although wechange the name sometimes."It has been held in severallocations, such as theKinomaja movie theaterand Von Krahl bar. But onAug. 24 it will return to itsoriginal location, an artsfactory known as PolymerKultuuritehas.

Hidden away on a sidestreet in Kristiine (a residentialsuburb on thefringes of the town center),Polymer is even more of aninstitution than DiletantideAvangard. It was once a toyfactory that producedrobots during the Sovietera. After the factory wentbankrupt in 1998, a group ofartists moved in to occupythe space.It now serves as a multilevelstudio for dozens ofartists, including sculptors,painters and musicians.The grungy factory feel ofthe building only ads to theunderground ambience ofthe place.The only downside toPolymer is its exclusivity.For most of the year it is aclosed arts space, but onspecial occasions it opensits doors for events such asDiletantide Avangard.This will be the first DAevent for over a year.

Theparty took a hiatus whenPiide and his co-coordinatorHannes Mets traveled toEngland for a working holiday.They were sorelymissed. "People werealways asking us, 'When areyou coming back? We missDiletantide Avangard,'"Mets said.The first such event washeld at Polymer inDecember 2004. Piidebought a pile of secondhandblankets to keep spectatorswarm inside thefrigid building.The party was oncealmost hijacked when Piideteamed up with anotherorganizer who then tried tocut him out of the event.Unwilling to give up thename without a fight, Piideorganized a rival party onthe same evening, callingon loyal fans and bands toattend the original and bestDiletantide Avangard. Itworked, but nearly killedoff Piide's desire to keepthe event alive.

Thankfully he has continued,and on Aug. 24 hewill present his ninth suchparty, featuring an eclecticline-up of fast-rising acts.Emerging bands such asOpium Flirt, Speedking andMaikameikers will take tothe stage as part of a massiveschedule that begins at7 p.m. and ends at 4 a.m. Onthe DJ list are people betterknown as rock musiciansthan turntablists 's Katifrom Stella, Valter fromShelton San and Tambertfrom Zahir.

Diletantide AvangardUnderground indie rock partyAug. 24, 7 p.m. - 4 a.m.Polymer Kultuurihas, Kristiine,