In his brief address under the festival’s arched stage at the end of the celebration, Minister of culture Indrek Saar said that as a small nation we need constant affirmation that our language and culture are vital. “The Youth Song and Dance Celebration affirmed it in the strongest and most powerful way,” emphasised Saar. “All that, first and foremost, thanks to these awesome young people – the thousands of young dancers and singers, the hundreds of musicians, who put on this party for us. Thank you, young friends!” said Saar.
As the celebration ended, the Minister thanked everyone, who contributed to the success of this major event.
“Families, communities, local governments, teachers, artistic teams, curators, all those who contributed with their ideas and help all over Estonia – without you, this event would not have been possible. You have the sincere gratitude of us all!” affirmed Saar. The Minister added that the message “Here I’ll Stay”, conveyed to the youth, developed into a clear expression from this growing generation – they want the celebrations to continue. “Knowing that is an immense source of joy, however, nothing comes from nothing. The message that the youth gave us obligates us to seriously think about what we have to do today, here and now, to keep the song, dance and instrument traditions alive,” stated Saar.
The Minister of Culture gave directors of the song, dance and traditional instrument sections Heli Jürgenson, Margus Toomla and Juhan Uppin a symbolic gift meant for all participants – a rowan tree sapling, as a sign of strength and continuity of the Estonian culture and national traditions.
On Monday, January 15th, Minister of Culture Indrek Saar announced the start of the Culture Friend 2017 competition. As always, private individuals, institutions, companies and organisations will be honoured who have made a financial contribution or supported activities in the cultural field.
On 2 January, Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and Ago Tuuling, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Confederation of Estonian Employees' Unions (TALO), signed the salary agreement for cultural workers for 2018. The agreement calls for increasing the gross minimum wage of cultural workers to €1,150 a month as of this year.