Where and when is the next ESTO?
On 10 March, following an announcement in the Global Estonian newsletter, people met over Zoom to discuss the location and organisation of the XIII Global Estonian Cultural Days or ESTO 2025.
Estonians from Australia, Canada, Sweden Finland, the United States and Estonia attended, including representatives of the Song and Dance Celebration Foundation and the Dance Celebration Museum in Estonia. All participants have a previous connection to ESTO. Several were the organisers of ESTO 2019, and said they have had a good rest and are ready to help organise the next ESTO.
The brainstorming session at the first meeting yielded several interesting proposals but no decisions were made.
Many took the successful Helsinki-Tartu-Tallinn concept of 2019 as a starting point and suggested a potential option – Stockholm-Narva-Tallinn, which would culminate in the Song and Dance Celebration on 3-6 July 2025. Estonian Days in Adelaide Australia in 2024/2025, and the West Coast Estonian Days cruise on the Caribbean in 2024 could serve as a nice warmup.
The proposal to launch ESTO 2025 in Stockholm came from folk dancers. After all, it was the 1925 trip to the National Culture Days in Skansen, Stockholm by Estonians that inspired them to develop the tradition of Estonian dance festivals. From Sweden, ESTO could then move across the Baltic Sea to Narva, where the traditional national congress would be held, with tours presenting Estonian history and a volleyball match on the beach. Then ESTO would move to Tallinn, where rehearsals for the Song and Dance Celebration begin and meetings of various networks and the traditional ESTO ball would be held in parallel. The cherry on top would be the XXVIII Song Celebration and the XXI Dance Celebration.
Tartu and Pärnu were suggested as alternatives. However, some participants thought that ESTO should be held abroad to present Estonian culture to the locals and use this opportunity to organise the local Estonian community around holding a major event.
The message from the brainstorming session to Estonians across the world is as follows. If a community feels they would like to organise ESTO in 2025, you should definitely submit your plan in the second round of brainstorming! The next meeting is held on 12 May at 15.00 (Estonian time) over Zoom. We would like to reach a decision on the location and time of the next ESTO before the summer holidays.
Please register via this link to take part in the brainstorming session: https://forms.gle/rfoLoXJDU8uUdwEm9
1972 Toronto, 1976 Baltimore, 1980 Stockholm, 1984 Toronto, 1988 Melbourne, 1992 New York, 1996 Stockholm-Tallinn, 2000 Toronto, 2004 Riia, 2009 Münster, 2013 San Francisco, 2019 Helsinki-Tartu-Tallinn.
Chair of the Board of the NGO ESTO Main Committee