Tallinn Music Week: 2018 Preview

Ahead of Tallinn Music Week's tenth edition, we take a look at all the facets of this week-long city festival covering everything from art, film, food and design as well as music and discussion

Preview by Tallah Brash | 30 Mar 2018

Tallinn Music Week is a week-long city festival, contemporary music showcase and music industry conference held every spring in the capital of Estonia. As the country itself celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, so does Tallinn Music Week celebrate a landmark birthday.

Alongside the music, TMW’s tenth edition features Tastes, a food festival which will run for the duration of TMW featuring cooking workshops along with a handpicked selection of Tallinn’s best restaurants and eateries, all housed in the cool surrounds of the city’s Design and Architecture Gallery.

At Kultuurikatel on Sunday 8 April there will be a Design Market featuring clothes, accessories, jewellery, textiles and more from just short of 100 carefully selected designers and brands from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, while DJs provide the perfect soundtrack to shop to.

The Films strand of Tallinn Music Week will run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9pm and at 7pm on Thursday and Friday at the Sõprus Cinema featuring a selection of documentaries. The programme features Danish experimental filmmaker Sami Sänpäkkilä’s The Goodiepal Equation (3 Apr) as well as Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow (4 Apr), about the global refugee crisis.

Tuesday 3 April will feature a special programme of contemporary arts curated by the Estonian Contemporary Arts Development Centre. Referred to as Tallinn Tuesday, this evening will see a number of galleries in the city, including Gallery Positiiv, Okapi Gallery and Vaal Gallery, hosting special exhibitions of work by Estonian and international artists with extended opening hours.

On Friday 6 and Saturday 7 April, the TMW Creative Impact conference will focus on the future of music, new economy, better cities and design thinking with civic initiative, future skills, sustainable development and gender politics. Taking place in Kultuurikatel, the opening speech of the conference programme will be given by Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Estonia, and panels set to feature across the two days include Climate Change – a Challenge for the Planet, moderated by Dagnija Lejina from Digital Freedom Festival, and Creative Strategies in Music Making led by composer, sound designer and head of documentation at Ableton, Dennis DeSantis, and London-based, Amsterdam-born electronic producer Chagall.

Also featuring in the panel discussions will be Keychange: Future Proofing the Music Industry, moderated by Vanessa Reed, Chief Executive of the PRS Foundation. As TMW is a founding festival partner of PRS’ International Keychange initiative – where festivals who have pledged to tackle gender inequality are striving for 50/50 gender balance by the end of 2022 – this is likely to be one of the conference highlights, promising an exciting discussion on what practical steps the music industry can take to tackle inequality, where doing nothing in response to social and cultural change isn’t an option.

Such is TMW’s commitment to gender balance that there are an abundance of talented ladies set to perform at its Music Festival from 5-7 April. These include Icelandic hip-hop artist, and former member of Reykjavíkurdætur, Fever Dream; Moscow-based experimental electronic act Kate NV; GNUČČI, the Yugoslavian/Swedish dance act who draws together styles across dancehall, bass music and rap; Canadian trio Little Destroyer fronted by Allie Sheldan; London-based pop-punk Suzi Wu; and Swedish pop three-piece The Magnettes among others.

It’s also worth checking out the following events: Beats from the Vault’s night at Rockstar (6 April), FatCat Records & Japan Sound Portrait Night at Loomelootsik (6 April), Positivus & I Love You Records’ night at Kino Sõprus (7 April),  Made in Baltics & Sony Music Night at Vene Kultuurikeskus (7 April) and CryptoMarket at K u K u  Klubi (6 & 7 April).

Over the course of the three nights of music, Tallinn Music Week will see around 250 bands from all over the world play everything from metal, drone and hip-hop to folk, electronica, jungle and more, so there's definitely going to be something for everyone. And while you probably won't recognise a whole load of names on the line-up, you're guaranteed to leave with a new favourite by the end of the week.

Tallinn Music Week takes place across various venues in Tallinn, Estonia, 2-8 Apr