St Petersburg is now separated from Estonia by a border and customsand visa complications. But some young Petersburgers will take an eveningtrain to Tallinn to see Simple Minds and other acts taking part in the1995 Rock Summer festival this weekend. By early afternoon, they will cometo the Tallinna Lauluvaljak which can seat up to 150,000 people. It drewthis number of fans in 1988 when the now-annual festival was organizedfor the first time. Estonia was then struggling for its independence andthe festival was more than a purely musical event. It was held againsta backdrop of then not quite legal Estonian national flags and the politicalatmosphere could be felt at the open-air gathering.
The high-energy performance given by the star of the 1988 festival,John Lydon, who was formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, was a trulyliberating experience. Since then the Rock Summer Festival, which claimsto be the biggest event of its kind in the whole of Eastern Europe, haswelcomed the likes of Big Country, Steve Hackett, Robert Cray, The Jesus& Mary Chain, That Petrol Emotion, Jethro Tull, The Stranglers, BobGeldof, Inspiral Carpets, New Model Army, Blur, Iggy Pop, The Pogues, NapalmDeath, and many more. The first two festivals were phenomenal, with morethan 150,000 people present on each day, because a music event like thatwas unprecedented in the former Soviet Union. In 1990 the festival wascancelled because of tensions between Estonia and the Kremlin. The festivalheadliners, including The Cure and Sinead O'Connor, declined to appear,fearing Soviet tanks. The following year the festival returned and fromthen on Rock Summer has been held annually.
In 1991 the festival became a three-day event, adding a fourth day thefollowing year. In 1994, Rock Summer established a camp site as well asall-night dance parties. This year an estimated crowd of over 35,000 willbe treated to performances by both well-known and up-and-coming acts fromthe UK, US, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland and New Zealand.
As to Russian performers, the festival organizers tend to choosethe worst possible. Rock Summer traditionally attracts fans from the Baltics,Finland and St Petersburg.
What: Rock Summer Festival in Tallinn, Estonia
Where: Song Festival Grounds (just outside the city, on theroad to Pirita). Evening trains leave daily for Tallinn from VarshavskyVokzal (Metro Baltiyskaya), arriving early morning
When: Thursday, July 13 - Sunday, July 16
Cost: Four-day pass costs 550 Estonian kroons (about $50). Noone-day passes available this year. The information on tickets can be obtainedfrom the Ticket Center (Piletikeskus), tel: (+3722) 449-494. Informationon camping areas and hotels is readily available there.
Thursday, July 13: Stiltskin (UK) Terminaator (Estonia) Propeller(Estonia) Friday, July 14 Simple Minds (UK) Biohazard (US) Mr Lawrence(Estonia) Tuberkuloited (Estonia) Hazmat (US) Elastic Family (Finland)Prata Vetra (Latvia) Eager Beaver (Sweden) Saturday, July 15 Mike& The Mechanics (UK) The Levellers (UK) Vladimir Kuzmin (Russia) Menswear(UK) 69 Eyes (Finland) Bullyrag (UK) Brain Duster (Estonia) Die Pohh (Estonia)Sunday, July 16 M People (UK) Candy Dulfer (Holland) The MuttonBirds (New Zealand) Sektor Gaza (Russia)Lovebugs (Switzerland) Singer Vinger (Estonia) Ummamuudu (Estonia)