Police to bring in additional resources for song and dance festival

Estonian Song Festival

PHOTO: Liis Treimann

The police will bring in additional forces and work closely with organizers and security companies to ensure security at the upcoming Song and Dance Celebration in Tallinn. 

The police will bring in additional forces and work closely with organizers and security companies to ensure security at the upcoming Song and Dance Celebration in Tallinn. 

„To ensure the safety of the participants in the celebration, more police personnel than usual will be around during the large-scale event,“ Kaido Saarniit, head of the police district of Central Tallinn, said according to spokespeople on Thursday.

„We will have hundreds of people contributing to the safe passage of the festival week. The police will help ensure public order at both the dance celebration and the song celebration, as well as at the procession of the song celebration, and we will also do our part in organizing traffic. In addition, district police officers will keep contact with all the schools that accommodate festival participants.“

Participants in the dance celebration will start arriving in Tallinn already this weekend. Next week, they will be joined by singers, musicians and viewers from outside Tallinn. Overall, the population of the capital city will increase by 45,000 singers, dancers and musicians for one week, leaving aside members of the audience.

At previous similar festivals, children have needed the aid of the personnel responsible for public safety the most. To avoid this, children should be explained the rules for moving in a large crowd well in advance and meeting points agreed upon should people lose each other in the crowd. 

At this year’s Song and Dance Celebration, special wristbands will be available at the gates and at information points on which the contacts of the adult accompanying a child can be written and the band attached around the child’s wrist. 

Police desks for keeping lost items will be open at the Kalev Stadium and the Song Festival Grounds until Saturday evening and Sunday evening, respectively. The police will take photos of the more valuable lost items such as documents and mobile phones and post them on the event’s Facebook page. After the police’s „lost and found“ desks close for the night, items will be taken to police stations.

Einar Lillo, head of security services at the Song and Dance Celebration, said that all participants should familiarize themselves with valid rules to avoid an unnecessary wait at security checks and inconvenient surprises. 

„Everyone should reckon with the amount of time that is needed for checking the items that people have with them. We recommend everyone to conduct an inventory of their bag before coming to the festival to not have in it something that has to be ceded at the gates – such as glass containers or other banned items. In case of rainy weather, we recommend that people take a rain poncho with them and definitely leave at home umbrellas, which block the view of other guests. Pets must be left at home, and we also remind photo enthusiasts that flying a drone is not permitted,“ Lillo said. 

During the Song and Dance Celebration, flying of drones will be forbidden within a radius of 500 meters of the concert venues and also in areas where the procession takes place. At a greater distance from the venues drones can be flown in accordance with the requirements of the Aviation Act by applying for a one-off permit and coordinating the flight with the Aviation Administration. 

About 45,000 festival participants are to take part in the procession that will start in central Tallinn at 1 p.m. on July 6. Altogether about 100,000 people are to take part in the song celebration as singers or members of the audience. The procession lasting several hours will significantly restrict traffic in the city center and on Pirita Road. 

The head of the police station of Central Tallinn, Kaido Saarniit, said that more than a hundred uniformed and plainclothes police personnel will be keeping an eye on the procession. The major road intersections that the procession will pass through will be secured with concrete blocks, and rescue vehicles of volunteer rescuers and traffic regulating personnel will be involved in ensuring safety. 

Police urge participants to be considerate of others and keep their eyes open.

„People definitely need to keep an eye on their personal belongings. For reasons of security, we and our colleagues from partner institutions will be taking a very serious approach to bags and other items left unattended that may cause unnecessary alarm in participants in the festival,“ Saarniit added.

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