The ninth edition of Tallinn Bearty took place late last month and was a big success! This year’s theme was music, much to the delight of this year’s attendees. We spoke to event organizer and festival co-founder Alvar Ameljushenko who gave us a recap of this beloved Estonian bear event.
The festivities began with the sold out Wet 100 Pool Party which took place in the spa on the top floor of the beautiful Nordic Hotel Forum. Sexy bears and admirers mingled for the entire evening looking out over Tallinn’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, from the spa’s gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. The atmosphere was cozy, heartwarming and cuddly, a vibe which carried through the rest of the weekend.
On Friday Bearty’s partnering organization, the European Bear Cooperation Group had their annual meetup with club members, activists and Mr. Bear National titleholders present. At the gathering they discussed local events, trans rights, and had an important conversation about Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Organizers collected 500€ to be sent to Kiev and Kharkiv Pride Organizations to show support for the brave LGBTQ people fighting for their freedom in the war-torn nation.
From there everyone headed to Friday’s main event, a huge concert featuring this year’s musical performers Bleedingblackwood from Germany and Perfect Mark & Mike MRF from the US who all rocked the house!
After the show the party shifted to a club event that was held at X-Baar, the oldest operating gay club in the Baltics. London’s legendary DJ Luke Browne aka DJ LCB supplied the beats for a 6-hour set! And even still at the end of the night the boys were begging for more. Everyone, DJ LCB included, was very into it!
Saturday started off with the Talking Bears event during which moderated talks were held with public speakers and discussions were had about what it means to be a bear, the LGBTQ community at large and equal rights. Bear International, a secretariat of the ILGCN (International Lesbian and gay cultural network, from Stockholm, Sweden), was also at the event where they presented their three cultural awards to the bear community. There was the Hyacitthus Award for the Arts which went to Big Daddy Karsten, one of our favorite body-positive gay bear rappers from Oslo, Norway. Then there was the Calais Award for International Networking which was presented to Ian Lekus, the LGBTQIA historian and activist from Washington DC. And lastly, they gave the Iolaus Award for Courage and Resilience to the bear groups of the Czech Republic.
(Photos by D. Rappu)
Saturday evening saw everyone gathering at the club night BEARANOID! Everyone danced the night away to music provided by internationally renowned DJ and producer Sin Morera from the US. Gorgeous bears were decked out in leather/ fetish gear and partied alongside the locals as they worked up a sweat on the dance floor until the early hours of the morning.
Soon thereafter it was time for the Farewell Brunch on Sunday afternoon at the One Sixty Grill and BBQ. New and old friends kissed and hugged goodbye while simultaneously making plans to see each other again at the next Tallinn Bearty, the much-anticipated 10th edition of the festival, taking place from April 18th through 21st,2024.