The theme of XXII Viljandi Folk Music Festival which takes place on July 24-27 is “Play”
Playing has been in our blood since the dawn of time and attempts to prohibit it by force have never been successful. Playing often forms such an ordinary part of our everyday lives that it is hard to distinguish where it ends and reality starts. Entertainment, for example, is both a game and an inherent part of life. Let us remind ourselves of our primary necessities – panem et circenses, bread and circus!
The folk music festival is also a game with its tens of thousands of participants who all take on a role of sorts. Some dress up, others download a Jew’s harp app on their phone for the weekend or try to hitchhike to Viljandi for the first time in years even though there is no pressing need for such an alternative means of transportation anymore…
The one who does not remember the past has no future. But how to make knowing and valuing traditions appealing in the contemporary society which is perpetually looking at the future? How to create interest towards different cultures? Maybe through playing games?
The next festival concentrates on introducing the cultural past and present of Estonians and other nations through playful endeavours. Singing and dancing games, outdoor games, sport games, round dances, word games and games of chance – all of them are in one way or another featured in the next year’s festival programme. And of course instrument playing – music which unites and speaks to people is possibly the only game which is understood all around the world.
The festival creates a game which unites both the performers and the audience. The outcome and the skills are not important and it does not matter if you are a player or a bystander. The process is what counts and it can go on forever.
Do you want to know what happens next? Learn all the rules and enter the game - in Viljandi as always, July 24-27.