Station Narva festival highlighted Narva as an integral and enriching part of Estonian and European culture

The festival drew 2222 visits

The fifth edition of the music and city festival Station Narva that took place in Narva on 8 – 11 September drew a total of 2222 visits. The event filled the border town with music, art and communal gatherings, showed Narva from new angles and examined local identities and co-creation opportunities.

The festival was opened on Thursday, 8 September at the Narva Art Residency (NART) with the public conversation “Narva – what and who?” hosted by Narva’s discussion series BAZAR, where local people had a chance to speak up. President Alar Karis participated in the event as a listener.

“First you have to listen and then you can talk,” said President Karis to the participants. “It is important to know how the people of Narva themselves see Narva and the identity of their hometown.” 

On Friday, 9 September, the Station Narva Business Day at the OBJEKT multimedia centre hosted a panel discussion on the possibilities of collaboration in the creative industry. At the opening of the event, Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman handed over letters of thanks to the cultural and business promoters of Ida-Viru County. Station Narva and several partners of the festival were among the 13 recipients. In her speech, the minister said that new ideas and friendships are born in the free and pleasant atmosphere provided by autumnal Narva and festivals like Station Narva.

Member of the Estonian Parliament Riigikogu Heidy Purga who gave an inspirational speech on Business Day and DJ-d at the festival, says: “There is a huge potential hidden in Narva, especially in the cultural field, which needs immediate and quick action, not another long-read article on the subject. Investing in culture is one of the keys to that region, which would solve many problems with the shared info space, the formation of new habits, reducing the unemployment bottlenecks and preserving the region’s uniqueness.”

The music festival of Station Narva took place on 9 and 10 September across the three stages in Narva Art Residency (NART), in the Kreenholm management building and on the outdoor stage in the Kreenholm quarter. Among the performers were the Ukrainian electro-folk group Onuka, the British acid jazz collective Red Snapper, the Finnish accordion virtuoso Kimmo Pohjonen and many Estonian artists, including the legendary hip-hop crew A-Rühm and the chamber ensemble of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra as well as Narva’s own rising musicians PTF1987 and IVI.

“We had a great pleasure to perform at Station Narva,” said Onuka’s singer and songwriter  Nata Zhyzhchenko. “The audience and atmosphere were overwhelming, all performers were just awesome! Thank you so much for your warm acceptance and special thanks for the support of the Ukrainian people in this difficult time! Estonia is a small, but very brave, beautiful and cosy country with wonderful people!” She added: “I hope to perform at your festival with a victory performance very soon!”

“Station Narva highlighted that music and culture are crucial in times of crises in bringing people together,” comments the Founder and Director of Station Narva Helen Sildna. “It was heartwarming to feel the support of the Narva audience to Onuka as the band thanked Estonia for our support to Ukraine. Station Narva will stand strong to support the Narva community and to highlight that no matter what language is spoken, Narva is Estonia and Europe.” 

Aside from the main music programme, the festival also featured free city stage concerts and community gatherings in the boat garages of Narva “Venice”, in Gerasimov Park and in local journalist Mihhail Komashko’s bohemian apartment where beloved troubadour Jaan Pehk performed intimate acoustic gigs. 

“I adore events that feature “It” in new and different ways,” says Komashko. “At Station Narva we can eliminate the impostor syndrome and the prejudice that we are boring and provincial. No, we are contemporary artists, residents of bohemian apartments, professionals and smart. The festival shows that Narvinians can speak, create and be no worse than people from well-known centres of culture.”

On Saturday, members of the government and heads of state institutions paid an inspirational visit to Narva to discuss the future of the region. The development plans of Ida-Viru Creative Cluster, Narva Vaba Lava, OBJEKT, Kreenholm cultural quarter and NART were introduced, leading to the conclusion that there is a need to switch from project-based activities to program-based actions in order to ensure a greater sense of security and stability for the regional changemakers.

The head of NART, Johanna Rannula, states that the charm of Station Narva lies in the mix of the high-level promotion and the best that Narva has to offer. “Narvinians “set the table” with the local menu that includes exhibitions, boat tours, ukha, “kvartirnik” and whatnot. The city also shows its more vulnerable side – as was seen at the BAZAR discussion. This bold festival brings new currents to the border town that are needed now more than ever.”

The founder of BAZAR Valeria Lavrova adds: “In difficult times, many perspectives, values and meanings change. We must be resilient and wise to preserve what we have while understanding and embracing the new reality and learning to live in it. Station Narva is like a cross-section of a certain time and space, allowing us to learn more about ourselves and others.”

According to Narva city council chair Vladimir Zhavoronkov, the cultural exchange and high-level programme of the festival are very important for the city’s predominantly Russian-speaking audience. “New event formats and venues, as well as cultural phenomena from all over Estonia and Europe, bring fresh air to the city. This festival had it all – from cosy home concerts to big international performers and visits of national importance. It is significant that Station Narva has the ability to attract such high-level visitors – both performers and social leaders. Together we have to think about how to get even closer to the hearts of Narva people in the broadest sense.”

The fifth edition of the Station Narva festival was organised by Shiftworks in cooperation with the Narva team. Collaborators were Narva Art Residency (NART), Narva Gate, Art Club Ro-Ro, creative incubator OBJEKT, discussion day BAZAR and Arvo Pärt Center.

The music line-up of the festival featured A-Rühm, Bert On Beats, Cool D & DJ Critikal, ERSO club concert Stereo Is King!, IVI, Jaan Pehk, Jacque Falcheti (BR), Kimmo Pohjonen (FI), Kitty Florentine, Mahavok, margiiela, Maris Pihlap, Meisterjaan, Onuka (UA), PTF1987, Red Snapper (UK), Regatt, SUVE and DJs Erkin Antov, Heidy Purga, Raul Saaremets, Ivar Murd and representatives of the Station Narva team Anna Markova, Dan Rotar, Ingrid Kohtla, Indrek Migur and Taavi Esperk.

Station Narva was supported by the city of Narva, the Ministry of Culture, Government Office, the Integration Foundation, the Cultural Endowment, Fortaco, the Finnish Institute in Estonia, Nordic Council of Ministers in Estonia, the British Council in Estonia, Ida-Viru Tourism Cluster, RTK, StartupEstonia, Coca-Cola HBC Estonia.

Station Narva’s international activities, which aim to introduce Estonia as an attractive music and culture destination, were supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Media partners: Postimees and Põhjarannik/Severnoje Poberežje 

Design and homepage: Erkin Antov

Interior design: Ott Kangur

Video: Vita Pictura

Photographers: Anna Markova, Patrik Tamm, Anastassia Volkova, Ilja Smirnov, Jelizaveta Kuznetsova, Svetlana Ivanova, Juri Vshivtsev, Dmitri Fedotkin, Diana Didyk

Catering: Alex Kohvik & Catering, Köömen, The Dumpling Truck, Hulkur, Catering Kene

Thanks: Ivar Murd, Vello Lutter, Soundhouse, Strikken, Meeskond Security, Funrent, Kemmerling, Saundland, VPK Transport, BGMD, Narva Hotel, Hotel Inger