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A message from the EP2016 committee

My usual day is not very exciting.
I wake up each morning, and pack the children off to school, then I hope or more like pray my car starts. After this there is always the concern of where I am due to work that day, eventually I can relax with a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee, nothing like the smell of ground coffee beans. Generally I enjoy a ‘Flat White’, occasionally I’ll go with a ‘double shot, Skinny Latté’ but unfortunately I often have to endure the Nescafe caterers’ blend… I’m sure your day is far more interesting than mine, and if you are reading this then you more than likely have something to do with the Australian Estonian community. That already makes you interesting and by whatever means connected to one of Europe’s most fascinating cultures.

The preserved Medieval architecture, the invention of Skype, world wife carrying champions, high tech education in schools, on-line voting, a female president, The Eurovision Song competitions the list goes on. All of you that are reading this article will have a different connection with the ‘Old Country’ whether you have immigrated here in the early 1950’s or more recently, been born to Estonian parents or married the dreaded Estonian. What brings us together and releases us from our day to day existence is the knowledge that we can share this magnificent culture. We all have different backgrounds and friends but the cement that binds us are the wonderful stories and cultural activities that Estonians can bring to us! Nothing better than teaching an Australian how to say ‘Happy New Year’ in Estonian or for that matter ‘Cheers’ in Estonian!

This December we have the great opportunity to take part in and witness a unique event, which has been evolving since the early 1950’s. The Australian Estonian Festival is on every 2 to 3 years and is usually held in Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney. This year it is Adelaide’s turn and the committee landed a major coup in the fact that Mr Iivo Tuul agreed to act as the chairman, he has brought a wealth of experience and respect to this event. Preparations have been moving along for the last 18 months, so there is a great chance to experience a connection with ‘Eesti’ right here in Adelaide, Australia.

Visitors to Adelaide can expect a great range of events at the Estonian Festival Hub at ‘Kalev on Jeffcott’ or the Adelaide Estonian Hall (Eesti Maja) in North Adelaide, which is 10 minutes from the CBD. Have you heard of the term “Ten Minute Tallinn”? Well in Adelaide nothing is further than 20 minutes away, there is no traffic in Adelaide, most of Australia’s wine comes from here and everything is inexpensive, but keep this quiet, those of us that live here, like it that way.

What are the highlights of this festival?
Well where does one start? The Noorkuu A’Cappella performers, the VAT Theatre, the Magic Strings all from Estonia are the must not miss events. The Arts and Craft Exhibition, the Choir and Folkdancing event, the Song Festival workshop, a sports challenge, the opening night and New Years Eve Ball are also major draw cards. For me it will be sitting in North Adelaide and sharing my stories with you over a quiet cup of coffee or other beverage, enjoying the antics of the famous bar staff at ‘Kalev on Jeffcott’. What outfits will Thomas Sarapuu manage to fit into?

Looking forward to seeing you all in Adelaide from December the 27th until the 31st, for more
information on the individual events and artists, please visit the web page at: http://adelaide.eesti.org.au/event/xxvi-australian-estonian-festival/

Richard Semenov