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Tartu 2024 Extended Youth Visited Kaunas 2022

On the morning of June 30, a bus full of young people interested in culture management started their journey to Lithuania. Kaunas is the European Capital of Culture this year and there is no better place for young people to learn and get ideas for 2024, when Tartu and Southern Estonia will have the honour of holding the same title. In addition, members of the Bodø 2024 youth programme from Norway also travelled to Kaunas with us. Carolyn Mardim, member of Tartu 2024 Extended programme.

Noortegrupp lehvitab.
08. Jul Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu
Photos: Fredrik Stenbro

The bus ride was already very lively: we competed in a quiz, played games and practiced English to get to know each other better. After eight hours of travel, we reached our destination. The feeling that Kaunas is a strikingly beautiful city was further confirmed by the next morning’s guided tour. We saw with our own eyes a very artistic, modern but also historical cityscape. The weather was great and the whole of Kaunas was golden with the sun.

The main purpose of our trip was to participate in the Audra festival organised by the local youth and learn to from the experience as guests. In Estonia, we are perhaps most used to music festivals, but Audra was an interdisciplinary festival, meaning we could experience art exhibitions, dance and fashion shows, concerts and other exciting things. It was a versatile and inspiring festival in every way.

My personal favourite was the modern dance performance, which dealt with the topics of personality, growth and the courage to be different from others and do your own thing. The coolest thing about this show was the choice of venue. There was no traditional stage, so the performers and the audience were not separated. Both the dancers and the audience were extremely brave, because it was a sunny room where the temperature rose above thirty degrees. Many people in the audience were close to fainting and the dancers in suits and tracksuits had to move intensely. Another impressive event for me was the fashion show that brought professional, stunning and even enviable collections to the big stage.

The whole festival had an extremely cool atmosphere. Tommy Cash ended everything with an one-of-a-kind concert. The best learning moment for us as young cultural organisers was the moment when, for the first time in Cash’s career, the electricity went out halfway through the song. The crowd was going crazy, Cash was confused and the technicians were running around looking for solutions. The break in the concert, filled with screaming and darkness, lasted about five minutes until the party continued. You should always be prepared for the unexpected.

The trip to Kaunas taught us a lot. I take with me the knowledge that communication is extremely important for the successful execution of your event. The location of the event must be made visible to people and the information must be accurate and comprehensible to foreign guests as well. The study trip definitely went well. I hope that the young people of Tartu and South Estonia will also be able to offer unforgettable experiences to the guests in the title year of the European Capital of Culture.