The song festival in Estonia takes place in Tallinn and happens only every 5 years. We got very lucky to come at such a time to Estonia. Not only are we here for this festival, we were here for Ivan Kupali and will be here for the bike festival.
After a long 3 hour bus ride we arrived in Tallinn and went to the Old Town. The beautiful mix of the old buildings, atmosphere, and people took my breath away. English could actually be heard commonly spoken in the streets along with Russian and many other languages. In nearly every store or cafe you could find pieces of the old sitting among the new. My friends and I decided to get some coffee in the town’s oldest cafe. The plush red seats combined with the rich color of the walls created a very luxurious atmosphere. Also, the spinning ferris wheel of cups was cool.
By the way, if you want to buy ice cream in Tallinn, expect to get one very small scoop for a big scoop price. But on the bright side the ice cream will be very tasty.
The song festival itself is preceded by a procession of people (wearing the folk outfits) from the different regions of Estonia. This is a day where the pride of Estonians is clear anywhere you go. Once you reach the festival grounds, your breath is taken away by the sheer number of people and the beauty of the grounds itself. I believe about 1/3rd of the population of Estonia attends this festival, in addition to the large number of foreigners that attend.
Finding a seat for 10 people was nearly impossible. We settled on sitting on the road at the edge of the grass. Sitting between many people for an hour or more can get very cramped and uncomfortable. The music though, was absolutely beautiful. The combination of hundreds voices to sing one song is truly inspirational and it is clear how this festival helped spark the movement towards independence.
Another side note, Estonians really like their waves.