First-ever Station Narva festival brought international breathing to the border city

The first edition of the music and city culture festival Station Narva that took place in the easternmost Estonian city Narva on 21-23 September filled the border town with exciting music and art, public talks, and get-togethers uniting various generations and nationalities. About 3,000 people participated in the festival events.

The first Station Narva festival was part of the Estonia100 festivities.

On 21-22 September, the multiple stages of the grand industrial architecture complex Kreenholm Factory and the cozy bohemian milieu of Art Club Ro-Ro were home for music from 26 artists. The headliners of the festival were the post-punk and neo-psychedelia legend Echo & the Bunnymen, trip hop pioneer Tricky and techno producer Actress from the UK. There were Russian rising stars Grechka and Shortparis, Finnish space rock band Joensuu 1685, and Icelandic rapper Fever Dream, along dozen finest acts from Estonia, including avant-pop artist Mart Avi, house veterans Una Bomba 50+ and hiphop duo 12EEK Monkey, as well as Narva’s own musical talent, from rapper Propazha to Alla Jakobuva Ensemble who performed with Estonian premier hip-hop artist Genka.

In addition to the concerts at Kreenholm and Ro-Ro, the whole city came alive with various  interactions. Narva College hosted the Business and Innovation Day that brought together Estonian tech companies and Narva and Ida-Viru County entrepreneurs. The event also introduced Ida-Viru opportunities to e-residents establishing companies in Estonia or already operating here.  There were presentations by the CEO of Telia in Estonia Robert Pajos, the managing director of e-Residency Kaspar Korjus and the development director of construction company Rand ja Tuulberg Janno MerilooTeet Kuusmik and Vadim Orlov from Ida-Viru County Industrial Areas Development Foundation gave an overview of industrial and business parks in the region. The second half of the day was focused on workshops organised by the e-Residency team, Telia TechGirls in cooperation with TechSisters, and digital media incubator DIGIX.

Narva Art Residency hosted an exhibition by the international artist duo Varvara & Mar, comics drawing workshop by Kaisa Leka and Christoffer Leka as well as BAZAR public talks where, among other topics, the current situation and future scenarios of Narva as a new and unexpected centre of attraction were discussed. True Narva-style breakfasts were served at VitaTiim centre and free day-time concerts took place on stages all around the city from Fama shopping centre to Estonia100 park and the rowing base. The city stages were marked with wood installations built by students of Ida-Viru Vocational Education Centre who were instructed by Narva city architect and a member of the Station Narva team Ivan Sergejev, and lectors of the centre Tarmo Kärdi and Nikolai Didarov.

The concerts at Kreenholm complex and Art Club Ro-Ro were attended by around 1,000 people on both days. In total, around 3,000 people, about half of them locals, visited various Station Narva events.

“We can definitely be happy with our first festival,” the coordinator of the festival’s Narva team Ivan Sergejev is rejoiced. “These days were exceptionally beautiful and offered unique  atmosphere. According to Sergejev, locals were also happy about the large number of foreign visitors and the overall programme: “A lot of people found new favourite artists from the festival and some even wish that Station Narva extended over many more days next year. All in all, the goal of providing new sounds and experiences to locals was well achieved.”

Station Narva festival ended on Sunday 23rd September with a family day together with celebrations of passing on the autumn cultural capital of Estonia and a public get-together meal at the long table on the Narva river promenade. The autumn cultural capital title ceremony at noon was followed by a performance by Genka and Alla Jakubova Ensemble. The afternoon continued with concerts by the Finnish “kids rock” bandJytäjyrsijät and Narva children ensemble Magic Land, and Comedy Estonia stand-up performance in three “local” languages. Fun and enlightening Language Café sessions took place in the gym of Narva Rowing Base, organised by the European Commission Representation in Estonia in co-operation with Tallinn University and foreign representations and cultural institutes active in Estonia.

“This whole year has been very special for Narva. Kreenholm, one of the symbols of Narva, has finally come to life again. First, by hosting contemporary classical music festival Opera Days and music show “The Kremlin’s Nightingales”, and now, Station Narva,” said Tarmo Tammiste, Mayor of Narva. “These kinds of world-class artists have never performed in Narva. I will do everything in my power as mayor to make this festival last.”

On Monday 1st October, Narva, together with Virumaa (Ida-Viru County and Lääne-Viru County) submitted also its preliminary application to European Commission to become the European Capital on Culture in 2024.

The team of Station Narva thanks all the performers, visitors, partners and volunteers.

The first-ever Station Narva festival was part of the Estonia100 festivities. 2018 marks one hundred years since the proclamation of the Republic of Estonia. More information on the jubilee events is available at EV100.ee/en.

The festival was organised by Shiftworks in cooperation with the Narva team and several Narva enterprises and organisations: Art Club Ro-Ro, University of Tartu Narva College, Narva Art Residency, non-profit association EffectExpert, “Lamprey” festival, Comedy Estonia, BAZAR discussions day, and non-profit association Uus Sild.

Feel-good festival environment at Station Narva was powered by Telia, Narva Gate and Rand ja Tuulberg, and supported by the City of Narva, GoGroup, the European Commission Representation in Estonia, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia, the Finnish Institute in Estonia, the Swedish Institute in Estonia, DIGIX, The Nordics, the British Council, the National Foundation of Civil Society, USRF, the Spanish Embassy in Estonia, Ida-Viru Vocational Education Centre, Levikom, Hotell Inger, Noorus Spa Hotel, Liivarand SPA Hotel.

Notable contributions to the festival were provided by Erkin Antov (graphic design and web), Ott Kangur (interior design), Aigar Vals (video), RGB Baltic, BGMD and Soundhouse, Kingent Management and SCS Logistika, Cuu Club, Kataja Event, Pirtel, Moe Fine Spirit Distillery, cafe Muna, Indrek Kõverik, Piirone, Kusmiku, F&B Cafe and Kokomo, Rapid Security, Toi Toi Eesti, Tuuliku Puit, International House Tartu and other good partners.