The Viljandi Folk Music Festival is an annual music festival in Estonia with a central focus on European folk music. It is traditionally held during the last weekend of July, when the otherwise quiet town of Viljandi is completely transformed as the small town centre is suddenly flooded with people.
On average, over 200 performers play about 100 concerts and up to 25,000 people attend them every year, but many more come just to take part in the festivities, over four days. As such, it is the largest annual music festival in Estonia, and one of the largest folk music festivals in Europe
The theme of the 23rd Viljandi Folk Music Festival, featuring local and international artists is “freedom.” Similarly to previous years, this year’s festival theme is inspired by the current situation of the folk music scene and the events taking place in the world.
Even those who feel they are not quite the target audience of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival, may attend just one concert – Mari Kalkun and Runorun. Mari Kalkun’s warm voice and stage presence bring old folklore closer, Runorun will add a new nuance. Finnish and Estonian kannels, double bass in its jazzy softness or conversely, alienating sound, drums – this composition can be both meek and wild. They sing in the Võru dialect, or in the extinct Livonian and Votic languages in a completely cool way!