The government of Estonia gave the go-ahead to two large-scale events planned for summer, amid falling coronavirus rates.
June’s Eighth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples and July’s Saaremaa Opera Days were the two happenings, deemed to be of significant cultural and national importance.
The Finno-Ugric Peoples’ congress runs June 16-18 and is hosted at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu. Since Tartu is European Capital of Culture in 2024, authorities there were keen for June’s event to go ahead as a way of showcasing the city.
Saaremaa Opera Days are scheduled forJuly 20-24 in Kuressaare Castle, the island’s capital, and are to be an open-air opera house will be set up for the event.
Conditions include the Health Board (Terviseamet) having to provide an overview of coronavirus measures in place at both events, and liaise with the organizers and the Ministry of Culture on the topic.
The Finno-Ugric World Congress, entitled “Cultural Landscapes — Mind and Language”, aims to foster better cooperation with Finno-Ugric peoples – which includes various ethnic groups mostly resident in the Russian Federation as well as Finns, Estonians and Hungarians – and to keep topical issues on the table, develop and protect culture and languages and monitor self-determination for these groups within the framework of international law and norms.
In person attendances will be limited due to coronavirus considerations, with many events taking place online.
Organizers estimate around 150 in-person attendees will join performers and administrative staff.
Saaremaa Opera Days provided €2.06 million in the (non-coronavirus) year of 2018, which led to €310,000 being paid into state coffers and €1.75 million in revenue being raised, in addition to further showcasing Saaremaa as a tourist destination, organizers say. A projected number of attendees has not been reported.
The Saaremaa festival is supported by state agency Enterprise Estonia and organized by state concert body Eesti Kontsert.
Current restrictions are in the process of being eased in steps through May, and by June will entail outdoor events to go ahead with up to 250 attendees, and must end at 10 p.m.
Health Board chief Üllar Lanno recently said that in the light of falling coronavirus rates and rising numbers of vaccinations, summer events can go ahead.