Tallinn Music Week 2022: Never underestimate the power of culture and music

A brochure of Tallinn Music Week.
TMW Creative Impact Conference offered 28 sessions and panels.

After two years of uncertainty, the 14th Tallinn Music Week was organized this May. The slogan “Oleme Koos” – “We Are Together” – stood perfectly for the overall atmosphere and main message for TMW 2022.

This five-day event includes a festival of city art, exhibitions and concerts with all music genres open for all citizens and visitors in Tallinn. A part of the event is also a conference, one of the key networking meetings for music and creative industry professionals in Europe.

War in Ukraine forces us to re-evaluate what we do

Almost 1000 professionals, more than 100 speakers and 28 sessions and panel discussions during one day is a huge package and gave an insight into topical issues. The life and soul of the event is TMW Founder and Head of Strategy, Helen Sildna.

Helen Sildna giving a speech.
Founder and Head of Strategy Helen Sildna opened the Conference.

“Why doing a festival during these circumstances, why do we go to Narva?”, she asked in her opening speech and replied: “With culture and music we can show how powerful we are together, and bringing our event to Narva, the city by the Russian border, we show the unity of a small nation during the times of crisis.”

“The impact of music in crisis and conflict” was also the title of the opening panel. Anna Marazuela talked about “The vital role of culture in civic thriving, and soft power tools of culture” and Nick Hobbs, owner and promoter of Charmenko underlined the importance of dialogue in the complex moments. Making the Ukrainian culture visible and giving space to those Russian artists who speak against the war. As the Russian-born and Ukraine-based artist Ivan Dorn commented on the necessity of creative resistance in the current geopolitical situation: “They expect us to sink into our anxiety, sadness, and grief, but we won’t give in.”

Equality, sustainability and resilience in creative industries

Tallinn Music Week highlights the current issues and brings hidden or silenced problems of music business into discussion. As an educator in Media and Arts, Music production and Event Management, I find it important to follow discussion and forward the news and topics to my colleagues and students.

Equality and gender have been in public debate during last years in film, theater and music business and education. Since its beginning, TMW has been an active partner in Keychange which strives towards gender representation in arts.Gender problem was in focus in “Female producers – where are they?” -session. In this all-female panel young professionals shared their experiences as female producers. According to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (2022), in the last decade only one woman has been nominated as Producer of the Year at the Grammys and no woman has ever won the title. What can we do in the university to help the industry to make a change?

I have participated TMW for six times and besides the inspiring presentations and discussions the event brings together the key operators from Finland. It is always funny to realize that abroad you have more time to talk with people from your industry, share information and generate new ideas. Networking is the key for co-operation, especially after covid isolation times.

Recovery of live music events

“Resilience & Recovery of the Live Industry” session raised the question of how the events could come back stronger, wiser and better. In the panel discussion Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson from Greener Events talked about Future Fit Festival, a project of YOUROPE, The European Festival Association. Later we had a chat about the challenges of live music and events to increase awareness of green deal and sustainability.

People sitting and discussing: from left: Ingrid Stroom, Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson, Suzi Green, Eva Plam and Ralf Diemert.
Talking about the Future of Live Music, from left: Ingrid Stroom, Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson, Suzi Green, Eva Plam and Ralf Diemert.

I was also caught to an interview for Finnish TE-live program Musiikintekijä: haluatko kansainvälistyä? The program:   https://te-live.fi/lahetykset/ZFWZHCyUF

Link to the insert with my part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyKQROF4RBk


Web magazine Louder Than War


Anna Marazuela  https://www.amkim.net/

Nick Hobbs, Charmenko  http://charmenko.net/)

Keychange: https://www.keychange.eu/

Future Fit Festivals: https://yourope.org/portrait-projects/3f/


Text and pictures: Sohvi Sirkesalo