Latest Keychange Inspiration Award goes to Estonian cultural promoter and activist Elena Natale

12 October 2021 ConferenceMusic FestivalSDGs

Photo: Anna Markova

  • Founder of Club HALL, Elena Natale, announced as the recipient of the Estonian Keychange Inspiration Award at the opening ceremony of Tallinn Music Week
  • Keychange Inspiration Award honours and celebrates women who have made an extraordinary and pioneering contribution to music

At the Tallinn Music Week opening ceremony on Thursday 30th September, Keychange awarded the latest Inspiration Award to the founder and owner of Tallinn’s Club HALL, Elena Natale.

The Keychange Inspiration award honours and celebrates women who have made an extraordinary and pioneering contribution to music and are role models for the next generation. Keychange partners are selecting an Inspiration Award winner in each of their countries. 

Elena Natale has been selected as the Keychange Inspiration Award winner for her contribution to the Estonian club culture and the promotion of gender parity over the past 30 years. Techno club HALL, which was founded on her initiative, has not only put Estonia on Europe’s clubbing tourism map but has also helped to develop inclusion and empowerment of marginal social and gender groups within the clubbing scene. Elena has previously worked at the London mega-club Ministry of Sound, as the head of development at Tallinn Creative Hub, and the head of communication for Capital of Culture Tallinn.

Upon receiving the award, Elena said, “It is a great honour to receive this recognition. We at HALL believe in an environment where everyone is entitled to express themselves while being united by the music. I wish to thank everybody with a sense of purpose and work ethic who have inspired and helped me in this path. In essence, the seemingly escapist clubbing culture is a democratic struggle for the right to rule over your own body and identity. We don’t just get lost in music, we work hard and fight for our right to party. United we dance to make a world a better place.”

The award was presented by Helen Sildna, the founder of Tallinn Music Week, the Estonian partner for Keychange who said: “Elena is someone who has added a much-needed spark of new ideas, courage, diversity and global thinking to the Estonian culture scene as a whole. Setting up Club HALL, the region’s most ambitious electronic music hub together with her team and two brilliant daughters, is an act of faith, courage and vision that is an encouragement to the whole scene. Above all, HALL is an inclusive community that offers a platform of self-expression and development to artists, performers, creators and activists. There is life at night that HALL treats with nurture, respect, dignity and top quality. This could not be happening without Elena’s warmth, vision and unique ability to make everyone feel welcome. Music venues like Hall are cultural institutions!”

Ragnar Berthling,
co-founder of Keychange and Managing Director of Musikcentrum Öst says, “There are many initiatives in culture that remain underground, some that are provocative in their work and ideas, whilst others sit visible at the forefront of club-culture. When you enter a place where all these fantastic elements exist in the same room, permeating through the space to its limits, you realise that this is something that has been created out of curiosity, courage, and a deep understanding of what a club can be. This should be acknowledged, nurtured and promoted! Why? Because this doesn’t only tell a story about the present. It is about evolving, modernity and vision of the post-pandemic nightlife.”

Elena Natale is the second Keychange Inspiration Award winner from Estonia after Anne Erm who received this award in 2018 for her role as Founder and Director of Tallinn International festival Jazzkaar. Previous winners of the Keychange Inspiration Award include also Dua Lipa, Jayne Casey, Bernadette La Hengst and Popkollo!.

The 13th edition of the international Tallinn Music Week music showcase festival and industry conference that took place in the capital of Estonia, Tallinn from 29 September to 3 October, hosted a special programme for Keychange talents and innovators. The programme included the Keychange Manifesto Session, A Creative Lab day that included visits to the Parliament of Estonia and to Telia Estonia headquarters as well as roundtable discussions and panels on gender-balanced line-up programming and equality as a business advantage. The event also hosted the presentation of a book on pioneering women in electronic music by Keychange talent Johann Merrich and showcased her group L’Impero della Luce along with other Keychange artists SYLK, Charlotte Bendiks, Ai Fen, Mehehe and Katja Adrikova in the festival’s line-up.  


About Keychange

Keychange is a pioneering international initiative that transforms the future of music by encouraging festivals and music organisations to achieve at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond. 74 emerging artists and innovators each year from across Europe and Canada will take part in international festivals, showcase events, collaborations and a programme of creative labs. 

Keychange is led by Reeperbahn Festival, PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Tallinn Music Week, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Oslo World, Linecheck/Music Innovation Hub, Ireland Music Week, SACEM, Sound City, Way Out West, MaMA Festival, MUTEK and Breakout West.

Keychange is sponsored by FACTOR, Fundación SGAE, GEMA, Gorwelion Horizons, IMRO, the Musicians’ Union, Norsk Tipping, Roskilde Festival, SOCAN Foundation, Songtrust, SoundCloud, STEF, STIM, and Talent Norge.

Keychange Partners and Associate Festivals are currently in the process of shortlisting applications for the 2022 Keychange programme. All applicants will be informed of the outcome in early November 2021.
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