Event Reviews Meie Kodu Articles

The Festival Esto Pub Night – review

The twenty-third Australian Estonian festival was held from the 27th to the 31st of December. The template for this has remained fairly constant over the last 50 years but at this most recent festival a new evening was introduced which over the last 3 years has proved to be very successful for those living in Adelaide. Did the rest of Australia take to this new evening, well the jury is still out! Which was the best night of this recent Estonian Festival?

Well I certainly believe it was the Festival Esto Pub night, December came alive and the true spirit of what Esto Pub Night is all about was truly reflected during the evening.

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Before I give my reasons, let us look at the other possibilities! Other contenders during the Festival included the opening night. You may read articles about this, which may have certainly boasted 340 people walking through the door with less than 55 people over the age of 65 all seated…

Another night, which possibly came close was Tuesday the 28th of December. Ok the Café style concert with Estonian Operetta duo Annika and Silver Lumi concluded by receiving the first ever standing ovation at any Australian Estonian Festival by the always, critical older crowd that attended! Certainly it was well appreciated that their performance was world class.

Other evenings included Maia Barrow’s fabulous presentation along with Kristina Lupp’s fabulous cooking at the Taste of Estonia or the New Years Eve Ball with our fantastic young Estonian performers, Indrek Raadik and Eda Ines and her band. You will read articles about all these events but I certainly believe the ultimate “Must Not Miss’ night overall was the Festival Pub Night!

Esto Pub Night’s have become synonymous with a relaxed atmosphere, the formal very entertaining Folk dancing performance drew in a very appreciative audience earlier in  the afternoon. Wednesday the 29th of December was forecast as a very hot Adelaide summer day but the main hall air-conditioning was equal to the task. At the conclusion  of the dancing the hall was swiftly transformed to a café style venue by the huge team  of volunteers. Kristina Lupp fabulously coordinated the wonderful true Aussie style BBQ  meal, with a Canadian gourmet blend.

What made this the evening to remember? Some have said the great Lõke’s performance, this was delightful rendition by the 8 member choir group from Sydney. Others commented about the affordable Aussie BBQ meal coordinated by our Canadian chef, Kristina Lupp. For me it was the clearing of the main hall at 9 pm and about 25 random couples standing up to dance their favorite folkdances. The spontaneous nature was what made it memorable with all ages joining in for the appreciation of our culture. The entire Hall and club rooms were certainly full until the early hours of the morning. These certainly were reminiscent of scenes from Estonian Festivals from many decades ago.

The true spirit of what we have attempted to ingrain as the Esto Pub Night motto was clearly evident. There was no formalities, no set tables, people were free to mingle and enjoy the atmosphere of the moment. Australian Estonians from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and elsewhere all able to mix and all enjoy the evening!

The Esto Pub Night fever did hit the festival, this was an evening that had no history as a festival event. Those who were fortunate enough to experience the concept can, only judge the success of the evening. It was an opportunity to sample the Saku Kuld, the Kiss Cider or have a shot of Vana Tallinn or Viru Valge! Historic Eesti Päevad photos were shown on the clubroom video screen throughout the evening. Tom Sarapuu and his team of young volunteers worked tirelessly behind the bar, as they had for most evenings.

During some evenings during any festival, the music has been too load or too soft (depending on what generation you are from). Some evenings the food was served too late or the event did not start on time… Generally these type of complaints were few and far between in Adelaide and certainly did not exist during the Festival Esto Pub Night.

Well in 2011 the Esto Pub Night is back!

This time we are going back to a true Estonian theme. The amazing Chef Greggory is back and will highlight a fantastic Estonian dish. The UEFA qualifying series for Euro 2012 is on and we will screen a 10 minute glimpse of the highlights of the most successful Estonian campaign in it’s involvement in this tournament.

Esto Pub Night 15.5 is set for Friday April the 1st. It has been decided to go back to the grass roots of what Esto Pub Nights were originally all about. No high-powered politics, no advertising in major national or international Estonian newspapers. This will be an opportunity to get together with friendly local Estonians after work on a Friday night, to support our local hall, to meet new people, enjoy a fantastic inexpensive meal and sample our variety of Estonian and local beers, wines and spirits, which is unmatched in the Southern Hemisphere.

If this is your first time, the entire idea of these nights is to drop in for 10 minutes or 2 hours and stay for some food to say hello, support the hall and bump into old or meet new Esto friends… No need to book tables or make formal appointments, it has  become a relaxed, friendly evening for everyone. Drop in after work or some people come through on their way home after being out elsewhere. Put Friday April the 1st into your calendar it will certainly be the ultimate Esto Pub Night at Kalev On Jeffcott here in North Adelaide.

Richard Semenov
Meie Kodu: 9th February 2011


By Kristi Barrow

Loves all things Estonian. Especially Crafters Elderflower gin. Aussie born.

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