The Estonian tradition of song and dance festivals got an update this year, when the 13th Youth Song and Dance Festival “Sacred Land” was organised in accordance with environmentally friendly events guidelines. This both in terms of the usage of environmentally friendly transport as well as waste management. More than 100 000 participants were catered using only reusable dishes.
31,415 singers, dancers and instrumentalists took part at the 13th Youth Song and Dance Festival, plus an extra 90,000 people visited the festival. The new reusable dished system withstood the large number of users.
According to Tallinn’s Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm: “If an event with over 100,000 people can handle the reusable dishes system, you can be sure of the success at other big events as well. Reusable dishes at events is the new reality – we reduce both the environmental footprint of the event and the huge amount of waste that would otherwise be generated.”
3,5 tons of waste prevented
First estimates show that during the week-long festival, 120,000 bowls and spoons were in use to feed the participants and 150,000 dishes were given to the caterers to feed festival visitors. In Tallinn—European Green Capital 2023, all dishes must be reusable at public events from June 1st 2023. Because of the reuse requirement it is estimated that almost 500 000 disposable dishes remained unused. In this way, the about 3,5 tons of waste was prevented.
Tallinn also helped to organize collecting waste by type. For this, a total of 70 waste collection points were created at the Song Festival Ground alone. The organisers of the festival are overall satisfied with the result.
“Considering the number of people, the festival area was clean and there was less waste than expected,” Elike Saviorg, waste management coordinator of the festival said, but added that there is still room for improvement in terms of collecting waste by type. This would require better labelling on different types of waste containers and more green ambassadors, who, for the first time this year, helped people at the festival how to dispose of different types of waste.
The environmentally friendly song and dance party was held in cooperation with Tallinn, European Green Capital of Europe 2023 and Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation, sustainable events consulting company Acento, the circular economy department of the Tallinn Strategy Center, OÜ Pandipakend and many others.
Environmentally friendly mobility
In addition, Tallinn promoted environmentally friendly mobility during the festival by organizing more efficient public transport and creating extra parking for bicycles and electric scooters.
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.
Students from 22 Tallinn’s schools also made wooden crates, where they planted native Estonian flowers. Two small park areas were formed from the boxes in Downtown Tallinn.