Tallinn Music Week drew 17 325 visits to the capital of Estonia

TMW is presented by Telia
05 October 2021 ConferenceMusic Festival

Photo: Tanel Tero

The 13th edition of the international music and city festival Tallinn Music Week (TMW) that took place in the capital of Estonia last week hosted 177 artists from 21 countries, and 128 conference speakers from music and culture industries. Altogether, the festival drew  17 325  visits.

The next edition of TWM is scheduled to take place on 4 – 8 May, 2022. Festival passes are on sale at the TMW web shop and the artist application starts on 11 October.


The TMW music festival presented 177 artists from 21 countries across 29 showcase nights at the Telliskivi Creative City, Port Noblessner and Old Town Tallinn. Among the internationally known performers were A Place To Bury Strangers and DVS1 from the US, Hatari from Iceland and Gerd Janson from Germany. 

Together with the festival presenter Telia, the music programme was opened on 30 October at the Creative Hub, premiering the new work “You Are a Continent, My Dear”, written especially for the festival by composer Liisa Hõbepappel. Also making its world premiere was the international collaboration “Themes For Great Cities: Tallinn” by the Estonian musicians Jonas Kaarnamets and Erki Pärnoja, Jonas Bjerre from the Danish group Mew, and the American musicologist Alex Maiolo

The opening concert audience was greeted by welcome speeches from the President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, CEO of Telia Estonia Robert Pajos, and the founder and director of TMW Helen Sildna

In her speech, President Kersti Kaljulaid said that on the fragmented and pandemic weary cultural landscape, TMW has an important role in creating a shared space for discussions. On all the questions raised on culture and values, the president said that “even discussing them, I think, definitely takes us closer to a new balance between different people, societies and generations. That is what Tallinn Music Week is for.” She went on to add, “Culture is politics. Slow, but effective. The world will start turning again. At first slowly, then faster. But it is up to us to make it so that this silence, this slowing down would give rise to as much good as possible. A greener planet. A more considerate society. A more supportive community. A free society for as many as possible on this Earth.” 


“We all need vibrant, open, supportive and creative cities and societies, and TMW team does a lot towards that goal every year,” comments Telia Estonia CEO Robert Pajos. “Thanks to them, we´ve once again experienced how music unites and connects, both physically and virtually, and gives us hope to move boldly towards better, Today´s and tomorrow’s challenges are so big no-one can tackle them alone. Partnerships such as Telia and TMW are of crucial importance. Be it climate change, digital divide, cyber bullying or -crime, or any other problem related to the  Sustainable Development Goals – we do need to think and act together to raise awareness and have a stronger positive impact!”


At the opening night reception, the founder of club HALL Elena Natale received the Inspiration Award from the international music industry gender equality movement Keychange, for her contributions to the Estonian music and club culture, the promotion of night time economy over the past 30 years as well as putting Estonia on the European club tourism map with the Club HALL: 


The TMW Creative Impact Conference was opened at the Nordic Hotel Forum on Friday, 1 October by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Estonia Anneli Ott, the CEO and co-owner of Nordic Hotel Forum Feliks Mägus, and the director of TMW Helen Sildna. 


128 representatives from music and culture from 18 countries spoke at the conference at Nordic Hotel Forum and club HALL. The British musician and activist Billy Bragg was interviewed by the journalist Artemy Troitsky about the role of music and freedom of speech in the fight against authoritarianism. Bragg’s interview was preceded by the keynote speech “30 Years of Independence – Did Estonia Sing Its Way to Freedom?” by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of the Republic of Estonia. The main theme of the conference was the interaction between the global and the local in impacting the new era of cultural diplomacy, as well as safe event organisation, fair streaming practices, and the current situation and new directions on the Estonian and European music markets. The takeaways from the discussion about night-time economy at Club Hall were that this field and its stakeholders should be trusted and supported, not inhibited by increasingly stringent restrictions. 


The conference panel recordings are available for viewing for TMW PRO and DigiPRO clients via the new digital platform pro.tmw.ee created by the strategic design agency Velvet. 


The daytime city festival programme was the culmination of the month that the city of Tallinn dedicated to movement and raising environmental awareness. Joining forces with the urban art festival PÖÖRA! that celebrated the 100 anniversary of the creation of the Union of Estonian Architects, three installations were transformed into city stages during the festival. 

The TMW public discussions Talks invited everyone to explore the impact of the individual on society and vice versa – from discussing how to develop Tallinn using European opportunities with the electoral list of Tallinn to roasting the music tastemakers, showcasing the hidden history of women in electronic music and taking a look at the perils of youth AD 2021. There were also public talks with Oliver Ackermann of A Place to Bury Strangers about DIY culture, and the Icelandic provocateurs Hatari. 

The gallery tour Tallinn Thursday, curated by the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Centre, presented new works by Estonian as well as international artists, and the park around the Niguliste Church was illuminated with light installations created by students from the Estonian Academy of Arts. 

The TMW Tastes programme helped navigate through the best cuisine of the capital’s dining scene and introduced the newly opened Nordic organic fare restaurant Peet Ruut adjacent to the legendary avant-garde theatre and music club Von Krahl. In cooperation with the creative accelerator VIVITA for kids and youth, the mini festival for kids was held, and the local record fair Plaaditurg led the second hand record swap meet. The festival concluded with a bike tour of Tallinn’s largest district Lasnamäe. 


To ensure a safe festival experience, the main programme participation was possible only with an EU digital COVID certificate or a negative rapid test result. 

Tallinn Music Week 2021 in numbers:

177 music programme artists from 21 countries, of them 103 from Estonia
128 conference speakers from 18 countries
60 festival venues, including 16 music programme venues
7 772  music festival visitors
922 conference visitors on location and viathe digital platform
In total 17 325 festival visits

TMW 2021 press photos

TMW 2021 presenter: Telia Eesti (Telia Estonia)

The TMW festival was organised by Shiftworks OÜ in cooperation with many partners and co-organisers. The music programme was compiled in cooperation with the Damn.Loud Agency, the conference programme in cooperation with the Estonian music export and development organisation Music Estonia.

Main supporters: Nordic Hotel Forum and Visit Estonia

Supporters: Ministry of Culture, the city of Tallinn, the Tallinn City Enterprise Department and the Cultural Endowment.

Partners: Telliskivi Creative City, Viru Keskus

Media partners: Postimees Grupp, Raadio 2

TMW’s international activities, the aim of which is to introduce Estonia as an attractive destination of music and culture, are supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Programme partners in Estonia: Union of Estonian Architects and urban art festival PÖÖRA!, European Commission Representation in Estonia, BÄM, Damn.Loud, NPO Fenno-Ugria, Estonian Contemporary Art Development Centre (ECADC), Eesti Kontsert, Estonian Choral Association , Estonian Funk Embassy, Fotografiska Tallinn, GROM, HALL, Jazzkaar and Jazz Estonia, KinoMaja, cinema Sõprus, Kivi Paber Käärid, Lasnaidee, LiveMusic Estonia, Music Estonia, OOPUS, Plaaditurg, Smoke Break, Station Narva, TIKS rekords, Void Valley, Võnge Festival, Üle Heli

Foreign partners: ETEP, Keychange, LiveDMA, CIMA in cooperation with BreakOut West and the Embassy of Canada in Estonia, Blow Up, Skaņu Mežs, What’s Next In Music?, Coliseum, WOMEX, Classical:Next, BIME Pro, HEMI


The festival organisation was also contributed towards by BLRT Grupp / Noblessner, Go Travel, Go Hotell Shnelli, Hektor Container Hotel, Infohunt, Peaasi, RGB, Soundhouse, Piletilevi, Vita Pictura, Tanker, Moe Peenviinavabrik

Festival venues:

Conference centre: Nordic Hotel Forum, klubi HALL

Music venues: D3, F-Hoone, Fotografiska Tallinn, HALL, Kauplus Aasia, KinoMaja, Kivi Paber Käärid, Creative Hub, House of the Black Heads, Sveta Baar, Uus Laine, Von Krahl, Winkel 

Urban space and city stages: design agency Velvet, Viru Keskus street party in front of Nordic Hotel Forum, Möku, PÖÖRA! urban art installations on Freedom Square, on Reisijate Street and the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia; Estonian Academy of Arts students’ light installations by the St Nicholas Church

Art galleries: Vaal Gallery, Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, Okapi Gallery, Draakoni Gallery, Hobusepea Gallery, Haus Gallery, Gallery Positiiv, EAA Gallery, Kai Art Center and Temnikova & Kasela Gallery

Talks: Terminal Records & Bar, Philly Joe’s jazz club, Sabin audiobar

TMW Tastes restaurants:Bekker Bakery, Burger Box, F-Hoone, GC Gastrobar, Hell Hunt, Humalakoda, Kampai, KPK, Kurze, Lee, Lore, Must Puudel, Naganaga, NOHO, Peet Ruut, Põhjala Tap Room, Vegan Restoran V, VLND Burger, Wrap’n’roll.

TMW x VIVITA Kids’ festival: Vivistop Telliskivi

Plaaditurg: Baltic Station Market

City tours: Lasnamäe, Tallinn Old Town, Stalker tour in Noblessner, Von Krahl Theatre

TMW website and digiplatform: Velvet

Visual identity: Vello Lutter and Mathias Väärsi in collaboration with AKU

Conference transmissions and recordings: RGB, VelvetThe next edition of TWM is scheduled to take place on 4 – 8 May 2022. TMW 2022 passes are on sale at the TMW web shop and the artist application starts on 11 October.