The theme of XXI Viljandi Folk Music Festival which takes place on July 25-28 is "Holy commotion"
All Estonians are used to making a bonfire on Midsummer Eve, dance at weddings, take part in singing festivals, go door to door to sing and wish luck to people on Mardipäev and to spin humming tops on Shrove Tuesday. In addition to all of these, there are countless other personal activities which have become rituals without which we could not imagine life as we know it. But have we ever thought about why we do these things?
A large part of traditional music is strongly connected to the rituals for celebrating different holidays. Introducing the different customs for holding parties across cultures is at the heart of this year's festival. A Balkan wedding orchestra, Indian drums and dances of the Tibetan monks are only a few examples of what the festival has to offer for the guests next year.
One of the most powerful rituals which best represents traditional music and customs is the wedding. A proper wedding party lasts for at least three days during which an enormous repertoire of songs are sung, two families become one by dancing and the guests weave their best wishes for the happy couple in their dance steps. The wedding keeps the older folk songs alive and the labyrinth of wedding rituals has its roots deep down in thousands of years of history. Introducing the wedding culture is going to be one of the keywords of next year's festival, but that will most certainly not be all there is to it!
During the next festival, wonderful music will be sounding from the speakers and the performers on the stage will show you how to party properly. Different holiday rituals of different cultures and the sounds which go with them will be introduced in greater detail in workshops and lectures. Different party dishes from different cuisines will be prepared in the Food Yard and many more events will take place which have always come part and parcel with folk music festivals.
The next festival will be a mixture of music and dance which can be silent and fragile but also loud and tumultuous. Mixing these different emotions together creates an atmosphere which can be described with the phrase "Holy commotion!".