It was here in 1988 that the Singing Revolution, a massive, musical demonstration against Soviet rule, set Estonia on its road towards independence.
The grounds feature an outdoor concert arena, built in 1959, a number of indoor halls, and host a multitude of large concerts and festivals through the year.
Most famously the site is home to the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration, an unforgettable event that takes place every five years, drawing together up to 34 000 performers and 200 000 spectators.
Next to the concert arena is the 42-metre Song Grounds Light Tower. Every Song Celebration starts with the traditional lighting of the flame atop the tower. Its staircase displays a photo exhibition on the history of the song festivals, and from its observation platform at the top, with the help of newly-installed binoculars, you'll get great views of the Old Town, ships out a sea and – if the weather conditions are right – even the Finnish coast (advance bookings required).
On top of the natural lime stone slope sits the bronze monument of Gustav Ernesaks, Estonian composer and “father” of singing. His creations are regarded as part of Estonian identity and can be heard on nearby standing “singing bench”. Here one can rest for a moment, take in the beautiful views, and listen to the most popular Song Festivals’ sounds.
The Song Festival Grounds is also home to the concrete building Cromatico, a visual representation of the chromatic – scale, (i.e. all the white and black notes on a piano). This sensual and didactic sculpture takes you into a journey through the 12 half tones of the octave, allowing you to touch the art and to experience how space relates to musical frequencies.
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