Tartu Folk-Off is a web show that brings together folklore groups from all over Europe to challenge each other and participate in a fierce folk battle! The groups will challenge each other to learn a song and a dance from their opponent’s country. The show also includes interval acts from the organizers of the show, Folklore Club Maatasa. The winner is chosen by combining the votes of the jury and the audience. There will be various prizes given out during the show – the winning group will receive a monetary prize, and various Estonian firms will also be giving out special prizes to the competing groups. The show will be broadcasted from the Luunja Cultural and Leisure Centre by the Teatritehnoloogia OÜ team (Estonian National Museum). The show’s editor-in-chief is Helin Pihlap, and it is directed by Raul Markus Vaiksoo.
The web show Tartu Folk-Off was created as an alternative for the Tartu Youth Folklore Festival, which had to be cancelled in 2020 due to restrictions. Helin Pihlap: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an event with a format like this one, not in Estonia or anywhere else. The show offers many new possibilities which would be unheard of in regular festivals.” Director Raul Markus Vaiksoo has said that while it is a competition revolved around folklore, the show is more about inspiring young people to communicate with each other and learn more about different cultures’ similarities and differences. “We strive to focus more on the participation aspect rather than the competition part of the show. Tartu Folk-Off is an opportunity to find new friends and have a fun night together, even if it’s through the web!”
Folklore Club Maatasa has been the representative folk group of Tartu since 2016. The group was awarded “Organizer of the Year 2020” by the Estonian Folk Dance and Folk Music Association.