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Estonia Celebrates 100th Anniversary with Festival Season


As Estonia prepares for its 100th Anniversary celebrations, starting on 24th February, an exciting programme of art, music and history-themed events has been released.

Whilst celebrations will take place throughout Estonia to mark all the most important milestones in the emergence of a unified country, a wide range of exclusive events, covering themes from history and heritage to design and music, will also take place in the UK.

This decision to expand the programme of events outside its borders is a testimony to Estonia’s commitment to raise the profile of the destination from a cultural perspective in a key market such as the UK.

Director of Visit Estonia, Tarmo Mutso commented: “It is an incredibly exciting time for Estonia, with the independence celebrations officially starting in February, and we hope to attract even more visitors throughout the year as they join us to celebrate this momentous occasion. We wanted to launch a programme of events that champions Estonia and its cultural offering as whole, both here and in the UK, as we believe there’s a growing appetite for unique experiences and the centenary celebrations are the perfect opportunity to showcase the best we have to offer.”

Below a list of the key events taking place. For more information on Estonia 100 events visit:

Tallinn Music Week, 2 – 8 April 2018

Talinn Music Week, © Mart Sepp

An international line-up of over 200 artists will fill Tallinn’s best concert venues for a full week dedicated to the celebration of music. An eclectic mix of regional headliners, up-and-coming artists, cutting-edge acts, and established international names will perform at the Tallinn Music Week festival. The programme includes all music genres, from avant-garde and pop, to dance, metal and classical music.

Jazzkaar, 20 – 29 April 2018

Jazkaar © Siiri Padar

Started in 1990, Tallinn International Festival Jazzkaar is the biggest jazz festival within the Baltic states. With an inventive and original programme, Jazzkaar is a 10-day festival attracting over 3,000 artists from 60 different countries. The 2017 edition saw over 25,000 jazz enthusiasts attending – an all-time record. Jazzkaar has received several accolades during its tenure and has been ranked amongst the top festivals in Europe.

Haapsalu Tchaikovsky Festival, 27 – 30 June 2018

Haapsalu Tchaikovsky Festival is an international music theatre festival organised to honour the famous composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who used to visit the seaside rsort town of Haapsalu during this holidays. The programme combines and inetersting mix of classical music and ballet.

Pärnu Music Festival, 16 – 22 July 2018

Pärnu Music Festival © Martin Dremljuga

The Pärnu Music Festival and Järvi Academy were founded by Paavo Järvi in 2010 together with his father, Neeme Järvi, two prominent figures within the Estonian music landscape. The festival is committed to keep this family atmosphere by creating a unique summer musical haven on the Estonian coast. The week-long festival takes place in various locations throughout the seaside town of Pärnu, with a particular focus on orchestral music played by the world-class Pärnu Festival orchestra.

Saaremaa Opera Days, 19 – 28 July 2018

The wild and enchanting island of Saaremaa has played host to a successful opera music festival every July for the past eleven years. An opera house accommodating 2,000 guests is erected in the courtyard of a 13th century castle creating a unique surrounding for what is considered one of the most important musical events in Estonia.

Leigo Lake Music, 3 – 4 August 2018

This famous festival brings together nature and music to create a unique and truly memorable experience against the stunning Leigo Lake backdrop. Taking place on Leigo’s small willow-fringed island, there will be concerts showcasing music from classical to rock which festival goers can enjoy while being immersed in nature. The summer’s evening culminates in a Leigo-style display of fireworks – both traditional and floating tea lights. 

Birgitta Festival, 9 – 18 August 2018

Birgitta Festival, Bolero © Visit Estonia

One of Tallinn summer cultural calendar’s highlights, The Birgitta festival combines music and culture. Every August, the imposing medieval Pirita monastery ruins are turned into a modern opera house where various genres of musical theatre are performed: classical opera, ballet, contemporary dance and musical comedy – from guest performances to original productions.

Estonian National Opera 2018 season, from 15 August 2018

In 1865, the song and drama society “Estonia” was founded in Tallinn. Since then, the “Estonia” theatre has had several names during history, but since 1998, it bears the name The Estonian National Opera and the 2018 season will be its 112th one, an additional celebration to the independence festivities. The season will start on 15 August with the performances of Jerry Bock’s popular musical “Fiddler on the Roof”.

PÖFF, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, December 2018

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which launched in 1997, has grown into one of the biggest film festivals in Northern Europe and in one of the busiest regional industry platforms, hosting more than 1000 industry delegates and around 120 journalists. The festival screens around 250 features and more than 300 shorts and animations and sees an attendance of 80,000 people annually. Under the POFF umbrella falls theHaapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival HÕFF, taking place in April in the charming coastal town of Haapsalu, and the Tartu Love Film Festival TARTUFF, the ultimate open-air summer film festival for all romance and movies enthusiasts.

Flights with BA start from £64.00 including taxes, fees and carrier charges.

For more information on travelling to Estonia please visit

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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