Opinion Festival entertainment for all tastes

As if to prove that the Opinion Festival isn’t only about deep, serious discussions, there are many ways to have fun with festival entertainment, if you take a few steps from the main action on Vallimägi. One of these is a beach volleyball court, in the middle of host town Paide, a usually sleepy place that is, the last time anyone checked, landlocked.

Check out the Opinion Festival programme for the full list of entertainment throughout the weekend

The vast expanse of sand, which can be found on the edge of Keskväljak (Central Square), is proof that Pärnu might have the Weekend Festival, and mile upon mile of perfect golden sand, and Haapsalu might have its own blues festival along with some of the best spas in Estonia, but Paide has its fair share of fun in the sun.

Foodies’ delight

If you’re, like many people, a hit-and-miss beach volleyball player, Keskväljak and the adjoining section of Tallinna mnt (Tallinn street) offer enough street food to keep you going through a long day of walking and talking. Our early tips are Hungry Karl, who offer excellent-quality hamburgers and goat’s cheese burgers, or, for a lower price, you can get a taste of Sri Lanka, with authentic chicken curry that is being made all weekend by expert cooks from the island.

More fun!

Following the discussions on both days, there is a selection of entertainment to take your pick from. Over in the Wittenstein/Järvamaa museum there is a video disco between 9pm and 2am on Friday, and on Keskväljak, Tallinn’s longest-established hipster hangout Must Puudel is taking over, on Friday and Saturday, with banging tunes and DJ sets, along with captivating live performances. Back on Vallimägi from 10pm to midnight on Friday, Tallinn’s coolest coworking space, LIFT99, hosts one of its regular get-togethers.

Perhaps the standout entertainment events take place in the yard of Vabalinna Maja (Free Town House, literally), the festival club. There, between 10pm and 11pm on Friday, the beloved musical innovator, singer-songwriter Vaiko Eplik, will play some of his most popular songs from down the years.

There’s also a series of must-see installations from lighting artist Jari Matsi, who is bringing innovation and beauty to Tallinna mnt 24, 32, and 34. You can see what he’s done with these lovingly-renovated townhouses between midnight and 2am after the festival concludes for the day on both Friday and Saturday.

Lunch @ Arvamus: Hamburger

The Arvamus Festival food options continue to excite and enthrall. Having been pleasantly-surprised by the flavoursome beetroot-dominated veggie burger on Friday, I decided to go two metres to the right, and try the meat option, the hamburger, to see how it compared.

For €8, it’s a premium price, but the burger, which came to me after only five minutes, was tender, broad and substantial. Served on a plate (rather than horizontally in paper as is usually favoured by Estonian convenience stalls), and with a wooden skewer through the middle in order to hold everything together, it feels like quality when you take it.

The mayonnaise and red onion chutney go well together, and the brown granary flat bun is a nice touch, though I always prefer it when burger places slightly toast them. However, the big X-factor of this burger was the makers’ use of smoked cheese in place of the usual processed strip – a variation on the theme that made the burger taste classy. Sticking with the upmarket theme, this is definitely a meal for picking apart, not picking up, hence why knives and forks are supplied.

If, like me, you craved a meat fix after a long day on the Festival tracks, the hamburger is something you will not be disappointed with. Head down to the food court and see what we mean.