Opinion Festival: No Rock, Just Inspiring Talk

laine uudised-laine
12. Aug 2014

Want to give the wider public a piece of your mind? The annual Festival of Opinion Culture being held Friday and Saturday in Paide might be for you.

The Arvamusfestival (an arvamus is an opinion) drew more than 200 participants and 2,000 listeners in last year's inaugural edition. This year plans to have more than 150 different discussions about the present and future of Estonia, as well as radio shows, cultural events, workshops and festival clubs.

In addition to formal debates by well-known commentators, cultural figures and politicians on on Vallimägi Hill, there will also be spontaneous, unscheduled discussions where anyone can speak.

 "We are holding this festival in order to see it gradually become a valuable, free and inspiring discussion environment for active residents of Estonia,” said Urmo Kübar of ngo.ee, one of the festival organizers who has helped prepare a schedule at two locations, the Hilltop and Lowland stages (a schedule of those discussions can be seen here).

The Hilltop Stage and the Lowland Stage will see around 20 discussions on topics related to the future of Estonia, such as what is sensible emigration policy, what to do with Estonia's mineral resources, and the state of entrepreneurship. Discussions on security, public health, life in the countryside, the authority of the state, and the future of Estonia will be debated.

The festival will kick off Friday at noon with a discussion by former Estonian prime ministers Siim Kallas, Andres Tarand, and Juhan Parts on the topic: “What would we have done differently today?”

Many media organizations, including ERR, will have media will have on-air studios and stages present. Links to live coverage will appear here once the festival starts. There will also be a series of open, unscheduled thematic stages, including topics such as education, entrepreneurship, youth, civil society, family and children, and human rights.

Although most of the discussions will be in Estonian, there is no prohibition on English for participants in an "open mic" addresses by participants who can't find their topic represented. Those who are interested need to contact the festival by Thursday and submit your topic at the bottom of this page.

“Our team of volunteers has been busy with preparations for the whole spring, and dozens of people worked to compile the program that has appeared on our web page today," Kübar said. "Many ideas occurred to us in February during a brainstorm that yielded over 100 suggestions."

Food and drink will be available for cash purchase on site, and all of the events are free. Families with children are welcomed, and a variety of activties on offer. The full website for this year’s festival is available here.