Sydney Harbour Bridge. Photo: Aune Vetik
The XXIV Eesti Päevad Estonian Festival will take place in Sydney at the end of 2012, what will be the highlight?
Peeter Muttik, the head of Eesti Päevad: The highlight will be the opportunity for people of all ages to experience Estonian culture in a wide variety of forms ranging from traditional to contemporary. The programme devised by the organising committee includes choral music, theatre, folk dancing and music, performances aimed at kids, contemporary rock and jazz. We are not intending to run this festival on the „business as usual" principle. We are aware that we are competing for the entertainment-cultural dollar in a competetive market and propose to offer an interesting programme of quality events.
Will anything differentiate the XXIV Eesti Päevad from earlier ones?
Peeter Muttik: In addition to it being an event for people from the Estonian communities from across Australia, we want to showcase our culture to the wider public in Sydney. Also we intend to give our interstate and international visitors opportunities to enjoy the unique sights of Sydney as part of some festival events. We have made a clear decison to focus on the quality of events and the performers were are inviting. We are also focused on limiting the number of formal sit-down functions and making events child friendly.
Performers from Estonia have been very appreciated in recent Eesti Päevad, if it not a secret, who will we be able to see performing this time in Sydney?
Peeter Muttik: We are very pleased to say that we are negotiating with Eesti Nuku – ja Noorsooteater (the Estonian Puppet and Youth Theatre) to have a party of multi-talented artists to perform at a variety of events.
Their talents go well beyond the puppeteering seen at a previous festival. They are truely wide ranging in their repetuare of talents. I can assure you that there will be a unique performance at every event.
Eesti Päevad are long tradition in Australia, over time the needs and the participation of the attendees have changed. Who is the target group for the upcoming Sydney Eesti Päevad?
Peeter Muttik: coming up with the programme of events, we actually went throught the process of identifying our target audience. We identified groups such as seniors, the middle generation, backpackers, and families with young children. We are also conscious that we have a growing group of „new Estonians" in Australia. We have a draft programme that we believe will offer events to cater for all of these groups. Not all events will be Estonian language specific.
Will the Sydney Eesti Päevad events be based around Sydney Estonian House or will the events be centred in some other part of the city?
Peeter Muttik: The Estonain Society of Sydney has invested a considerable effort in upgrading the Estonian House. The cafe dowstairs has been renovated, the halls have been painted and new lighting installed, new bar facilites have been installed adjacent to the main hall, the rest room facilities radically upgraded and airconditioning has been installed both in the cafe and the main hall. A liquor license was obtained this year as well. We intend to make full use of this greatly enhanced facility for the smaller events. Venues in the surrounding suburbs are being arranged for larger events. While street parking can sometimes be a little difficult near the Estonian House, there are parking stations nearby and it is well served by public transport from all directions.
There is only a little over a year to go until the Eesti Päevad are to take place. There will be lots to do for the organising committee here, where are you up to, are you on schedule?
Peeter Muttik: The planning is well on track with a draft programme in place, negotiation with the visiting performers are proceeding, and financial and legal arrangements are in place. We are in the process of checking out potential venues for the larger events. Subcommittees have been formed and being filled out to do the detailed work for different events. It's full steam ahead from here on in.
How are things progressing with the Festival badge design?
Peeter Muttik: The committee has selected a winning design. It is quite different from previous designs, as you would expect given it was the work of a young person from Estonia. The badge will be launched in Meie Kodu shortly. I think everyone will be excited by the design.
|Sydney hosts the next Estonian Festival in Australia in December 2012 Interview with Peeter Muttik, the head of Eesti Päevad.|