At the beginning August, Tartu celebrates Estonian food, our local fresh produce and excellent wine with Tartu Food and Wine Festival. In addition to a number of cafes and restaurants presenting delicious snacks and dishes, the 3-day festivities include concerts, workshops and various family-friendly entertainment programmes. The last day of the festival is dedicated to the enthusiastic and generous community members who welcome visitors to their homes for amazing and tasty treats in their pop-up cafes.
The biggest motor sports event in the Baltic States, Rally Estonia, welcomes the best drivers of the Baltics as well as some of the world’s top drivers to challenge themselves on the curvy and bumpy Southern Estonian gravel roads. The prestigious rally also includes a suspenseful and gripping city stage, an EXPO and entertainment area in the city centre, and an open-air concert at the Song Festival Grounds.
The festival „Glasperlenspiel“ (‘The Glass Bead Game’), inspired by the themes of Hermann Hesse’s novel of the same name, aims to interpret music from untraditional and unusual angles. The renowned festival focuses on unique instruments, unconventional associations and connections with other branches of art and philosophy. The performers join the festival from all over the world, e.g. Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, etc.
In midsummer, Tartu commemorates its heritage as an important trading city in the commercial and defensive confederation the Hanseatic League during the Middle Ages. The medieval past is brought back to life through various festivities in different thematic areas – Children’s Town, Science Town, Iron Town, Hansa Market, Hansa Cafés and Starman’s Night Cinema. Take part of live concerts, playful performances, Hanseatic fair and a lot of other joyous events.
June 29 is the day of celebration for the city of Tartu, cherishing its history, cultural legacy and achievements in various areas from science and architecture to music and theatre. For the last few years, the performing arts have been in the centre of attention, combining the city day into a mini-festival of opera and other beautiful, occasionally a bit unusual forms and crossovers of classical music. The festivities include meaningful journeys in the city, well-orchestrated concerts and performances, quiz shows, other carefully composed (sometimes human) formats and fun tournaments.
"Gaudeamus", the largest students’ song and dance festival in the Baltic States, unites the best student choirs, thousands of dancers and musicians from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The festival is opened with a spectacular ceremony that takes place on the shores of Emajõgi River. The joyful dance festival is held at the Tamme Stadium under the guidance of choreographer Rene Nõmmik, and as a tradition, the festival also includes a procession that leads the participants to the Tartu Song Festival Grounds where the magnificent song festival takes place.
Did you know that the city government of Tartu supports street art projects in the city centre? Tartu is renowned for its outstanding street art and for the festival „Stencibility“ that unites the artists and the anticipating audience, raising the community's awareness and bringing attention to urban art. The festival, which enriches the cityscape with high-quality art, is not only creating new street art but also promoting it through active participation via photo contests, lectures, film programmes, city tours and workshops.
Tartu is flying exceptionally high at the beginning of June, during the largest outdoor aviation event – the Estonian Aviation Days which bring together the greatest daredevils. The two-day event includes presentations of the PPA surveillance aircraft L-140 as well as demonstration of the first serially produced vertical takeoff jet Harrier. It also showcases foreign aerobatic pilots’ performances, such as the Swedish Airshow, light jet group Baltic Bees, heavy fighter Viggen 37 from Sweden and much more. There will be various attractions, interest flights and a culture programme.
International street artists’ festival TaDaa! Festival brings together dozens of artists from both Estonia and abroad, promoting open access to all forms of street performance for the entertainers and the audience. The festival days are filled with music, dance, circus performances, theatre and fire shows as well as anything and everything that embraces the street environment.
In 2015, Tartu, the intellectual capital of Estonia, became a member of UNESCO’s Cities of Literature programme. The best event to treasure and explore the wealth of literature is during the international literary festival „Prima Vista”. The aim of the festival, which features both local and international guests, is to promote literature as well as to enrich cultural life in Estonia, building cultural bridges between different cultural communities.