Tallinn Music Week’s recent future festivals study will help plan the upcoming event

16 June 2020

The Tallinn Music Week (TMW) festival carried out a future festival survey among its artists, visitors and partners. According to the results of a survey 78% of all respondents took part in virtual events, of which 67% said that these cannot replace live experiences.  

The objective of the survey carried out between 21 April and 4 May, was to find out about the short- and long-term challenges and opportunities of showcase festivals, based on the feedback of TMW’s various interest groups. An additional objective was to get an overview of digital consumption trends, which saw a significant increase during the isolation period, and how they could be applied in the programme of the upcoming TMW.

The TMW future festivals survey report

The results of the survey will now be a point of departure for making sure that the expectations of different interest groups will be taken into account better when reorganising the festival after the state of emergency.

“Any and all development work should be more grounded in collected and analysed data,” opines Natalie Mets, coordinator of the TMW conference and city festival programme. She adds, “Thanks to so many visitors, artists and partners, who took half an hour of their time to give us such in-depth feedback, we can include new elements in the festival that are beneficial to all participants. We will do our best to make sure that the results of the survey carry over into this year’s festival as well.”

Based on the results of the survey, 78% of respondents participated at virtual events during the state of emergency, however, of them 67% say that these experiences will not replace live performance. According to the results of the survey, 72% of the respondents prefer traditional, live-format centred festivals, with only 4% of respondents saying that they see future festivals as fully digital, and 33% saying that the festivals could supplement the regular format with digital and hybrid solutions that would allow for participation from a distance.

68% of foreign artists and 61% of Estonian artists said that they had reached the goals they had set for performing at TMW, which mostly involved promoting their international activities. At the same time, the answers also revealed that many of the artists are not aware of all the opportunities that TMW presents. In general, when weighing the pros and cons of performing at showcase festivals, most foreign artists pointed out that the festival’s reputation is a major factor when choosing whether to participate, whereas Estonian artists considered financial aspects more.

The responses from TMW partners showed that in their opinion promoting the creative economy and including various societal groups and communities are TMW’s most valued roles. These respondents also highlighted TMW’s cooperation with the Russian-speaking population in Estonia.

Based on the survey, the most important criteria for visitors in choosing a festival are the event programme, atmosphere and ticket price. Music and creative industry professionals above all value challenging programmes, and at the conference they would like to see more high-level music industry specialists, but also more speakers of social and political impact and cultural theorists.

All consulted interest groups see TMW and other showcase festivals as target-oriented developers of the music industry that also offer high-quality pastime options, while drawing attention to new cultural phenomena and talents, bringing together people from diverse fields, and fostering cooperation. Rising trends that respondents appreciate include environmental awareness, social responsibility, supporting artists in their activities, and fostering cooperation.

245 respondents from 32 countries completed the survey, among them 84 artists, 27 representatives from partnering organisations and 134 festival visitors. TMW will use the results and data of the survey in planning the festival in August as well as in developing the overall strategy and activities for the upcoming years.


Taking place on 27 – 30 August, TMW 2020 will be organised according to the rules set in place for public events during that period, in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

TMW 2020 includes a three-day music festival, a conference at the Estonian Academy of Arts and various city festival events. The updated programme of the festival will be announced gradually over the course of June and July.

The TMW 2020 festival passes are on sale at the TMW webshop. Telia clients receive 20% off regular prices on tickets purchased ahead of the festival.

TMW 2020 is presented by Telia.

The TMW festival is organised by Shiftworks OÜ with partners and co-organisers. The TMW 2020 music programme is organised in cooperation with the Damn.Loud agency, the conference music industry programme in cooperation with the Estonian music development and export office Music Estonia.

The festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment, the Tallinn City Culture Department, the Tallinn City Enterprise Department, and Enterprise Estonia (EAS).

The international activities of TMW, aimed at introducing Estonia as an attractive destination for those interested in music and culture, are supported by funds from the European Regional Development Fund.