The Singing Revolution
Have you ever heard 18 000 voices singing at once? This emotional experience can be felt during Estonia’s Song Festival, which occurs once every five years in Tallinn. Once in five years, tens of thousands of Estonians gather in Tallinn in the summertime to take part in the Song and Dance Festival.
The Song Festival tradition in Estonia is 140 years old and is an enormous open-air choir concert held at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds with the participation of hundreds of choirs and thousands of singers. The number of participants in the Song Festival can reach up to 25 or 30 thousand, but the greatest number of people is on stage during the performance of the joined choirs—there are usually 18,000 singers on stage at that moment, and their powerful song touches even the most frigid Nordic disposition.
In 1988 began the so-called “Singing Revolution”, based on the Song Festival tradition, when hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the Song Festival Grounds to make political demands and sing patriotic songs. More than 300 000 people participated in a huge event entitled “The Song of Estonia” in September 1988, and for the first time the re-establishment of Estonia’s independence was openly demanded. There is a belief that Estonians sang themselves free from the Soviet occupation.