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Estonian gov confirms €42m aid package, €6m risk fund

The Estonian government has announced a €42 million aid package for the cultural sector, which includes a €6m ‘risk fund’ for large-scale events.

The government’s decision comes after 355 organisations from across the sector submitted a joint proposal to the government, emphasising the impact culture has on the economy and the population’s mental health, and underscoring its need for financial support.

The supplementary budget includes €21m to help cultural events organisers (such as promoters) cover the costs of labour hired with contracts under the law of obligations, as well as other unavoidable costs.

The organisers of international cultural and sports events will also benefit from the separate €6m risk fund, designed to support large-scale events with a ‘significant economic impact’ in the event that they are affected by cancellations, postponements or restrictions.

“The purpose of the risk fund is to encourage organisers to plan events in the second half of 2021 in order to restart the economy”

The supplementary budget also comprises €5.3m for cinemas, film production and film distributors, €6.7m to support freelance creative persons and €2.7m for sports.

“Today is a special day. The cultural sector proved that there is great strength in cooperation and the whole sector can continue work with more confidence. It is also significant that the members of government understand that culture supports both the economy as well as our citizens’ mental health,” says Helen Sildna of Tallinn Music Week festival.

“The purpose of the risk fund is to encourage organisers to plan events in the second half of the year in order to restart the economy, yet provide confidence that their expenses will be covered in changing circumstances. The sector’s next objective is to continue working together in order for culture to have a clear part in the EU relief packages as well.”

Ave Tölpt, from the country’s music export office, Music Estonia, says: “I am very glad that the cultural sector has been highlighted in the crisis packages as a sector with a much wider impact. I believe that thanks to the representatives of the sector coming together to formulate their message, the mechanisms of the cultural sector as a whole have become much more comprehensible in general as well. The necessary aid for survival in the crisis will help retain the diversity of the music sector and the related businesses in the future with a greater sense of hope.”

“The creation of a risk fund is forward-looking…this is a significant signal for those outside of Estonia as well”

Eva Saar, from Jazzkaar jazz festival, says: “Cultural organisations have an important role in restarting the economy after the virus situation improves and also as the providers of nourishment for the spirit. The decision that the government made today gives the sector a chance to survive and carry that weighty role in the future as well.

“The creation of a risk fund for large-scale events is forward-looking and encourages organisers to bring economically and imagologically important international events to Estonia – this is a significant signal for those outside of Estonia as well. Thank you to everyone who contributed and to the policymakers.”

Estonia is the latest market to announce an event cancellation fund for events, following closely behind Denmark which announced a DKK 500m safety net earlier this week.

In the northern hemisphere, other insurance pots include Germany’s €2.5bn potAustria’s €300m ‘protective umbrella’, the Netherlands’ €300m fundBelgium’s €60m festival cancellation pot and Norway’s €34m festival safety net.


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TMW’s world

Promoting TMW 2020 was by far the most challenging experience that our team has had in our 12 years of festival history. It is fair to say that organising events with huge financial risk, at times like this, can be done only by putting your organisation under a pressure it has never been under before.

Going ahead with an event is a tough decision for any company leader to make. He or she will need to analyse and decide whether it’s reasonable or sustainable to do so, and ensure that the event not only lands on its feet but bounces back afterwards. If the experience gained can then help to promote workable measures for the music industry, it was a necessary investment.

Greatest challenges

During the summer season, not a single case of Covid was registered at professionally organised events

What we discovered

Letting our governments base their decisions on venue capacity numbers alone will bankrupt the sector

Future considerations
The events and culture sector across Europe and the rest of the world should join forces to achieve the following:

TMW 2021 will take place 6–9 May. Passes via:


Helen Sildna is founder of Tallinn Music Week.

Estonia exits lockdown, events given go-ahead for July

Estonia ended its state of emergency on Sunday evening (17 May), signalling a gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions in the countries, with live events of up to 1,000 people set to return in July.

“The reasonable and responsible behaviour of our people makes it possible to end the emergency situation in Estonia this week. Our joint effort has allowed us to return to a more regular life,” says prime minister Jüri Ratas.

As part of the government’s lockdown easing plan, public drive-in events were allowed to resume from Friday (15 May), with sports events permitted to take place behind closed doors – a format now being tested by some in the live music world – from Monday.

Open-air events of up to 1,000 people will make a return in July, along with indoor shows of up to 500 attendees in venues operating at 50% of full capacity. No public events are permitted to take place in May and June.

The measures are similar to those recently revealed in Italy, where outdoor concerts of 1,000 people and covered shows of 200 will be permitted from mid-June.

“It’s essential to inject optimism to artists, the whole sector and our audience”

The regulations mean that showcase festival and industry conference Tallinn Music Week (TMW) can go ahead from 26 to 30 August. The event had previously been scheduled for the end of March but, like many other industry conferences worldwide, was forced to change its plans due to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to TMW director Helen Sildna, the festival programme can be “conveniently adjusted” to fit the regulations.

“This season will give the entire cultural and events sector an opportunity to be smart and responsible, and to prove that we are able to provide value and new quality even in challenging circumstances,” says Sildna. “It’s essential to inject optimism to artists, the whole sector and our audience.”

Tickets for TMW festival and conference are available here.


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