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Festival Kaera-Jaan

The folk song hero from Kastre parish lives on in art, choral music, folk dance and community theatre.

Story

Once upon a time, in Lääniste, near Võnnu, in the modern-day Kastre parish, there lived a blacksmith named Jaan, whose escapades were the basis for a well-known joke song. Jaan, most likely, had no idea that he was the inspiration for Estonia’s best-known folk dance, which is still popular today, 135 years later. Since 1999, a fair and family day “Kaera-Jaan” (in English, Oat-Jaan) has been held in Võnnu, where folk dance groups from all over Estonia take part, presenting their inventive interpretations of the dance “kaerajaan”.

In 2024, the much-loved event grows into a family festival. Visitors will be able to explore a unique world of straw, experience traditional fair life, learn about the history of Kaera-Jaan (the family day) and kaerajaan (the dance), and enjoy folk dance and music on a magical trail on Vooremäe, created especially for the weekend.

Experience

From May 31st to June 2nd, all festival lovers are welcome to Vooremäe. Inspired by oats, the overarching theme of the event will be straws. They will be used to create a seating area for the audience, café areas, stalls and a stage, as well as an adventurous world of straws for children. Straws will also be used as a tool for artists, who will be invited by public invitation from Estonia and abroad. In August 2023 and May 2024, artists will create nature-friendly tree and straw sculptures in Järvselja and Vooremäe. Visitors will be able to follow the creative process in open workshops and practise their own skills in the festival workshops.

The created works will form a sculpture trail on Vooremäe, which will be inaugurated at the festival. The sculpture trail will be closely linked to one of the highlights of the festival – a community theatre performance. It will be a magical journey through landscape and performing arts, with choral performances prepared by the local people and exciting guest performances. The community theatre performance is a collaboration between Kastre parish and the Latvian company Initium.

Together with the Dance Festival Museum, an exhibition on Kaera-Jaans in Võnnu and Kaera-Jaans at Estonian Dance Festival will be opened in the world of straw.

The curator of the programme and the Lead Artist of the festival is sculptor Elo Liiv.

Impact

The fascinating (folk) cultural heritage of Kastre parish will be brought to audiences in Estonia and abroad in an original reinterpretation. During the festival, the collaboration within the local community as well as with foreign partners will increase.

Folk dancers dancing.