Theme of the festival


The richness of human culture lies in fascinating differences – in diversity. The more cultural particularities, unique phenomena, and distinctive recurring patterns there are, the more abundant the civilization of our home planet is. Foreign songs and tunes sound interesting to us because they are different from those of our homeland.

In traditional music, as in ethnographic handicraft, it’s the patterns that help to indicate that a certain tune derives from and belongs to the culture of a particular ethnic group. How a melody is played is at least as important as the melody itself. The accents and ornaments and the way they sound and complement each other play a crucial role. That “how” is what creates specific characteristics – the unique sound of a region.

Distinctive musical patterns with strong characteristic traits leave clear and inspiring traces that encourage to follow and explore, to imitate and vary. As it should be in a lively and strong tradition.

XXXI Viljandi Folk Music Festival focuses on the distinctive patterns in traditional music that help to strengthen and identify the cultural particularities of different ethnic groups. We pay tribute to these phenomena that have developed over hundreds of years, these cornerstones of the cultures of the world that leave unmistakable traces worth following.

See you at the XXXI Viljandi Folk Music Festival in Viljandi on 25–28 July, 2024!

Head of the festival, Ando Kiviberg.