Can You Festival?
Finland hosts an unbelievable number of music festivals every summer. Pick your favourite, book your ticket and get prepared to celebrate long into the white night.
From large-scale rock festivals to small local happenings, you’ll find something going on more or less every day throughout the short but sweet Finnish summer.
The big three
The biggest festivals cater for all tastes in the popular music category, gather tens of thousands of people and have been organised for decades.
There’s three staple events in the Finnish summer, the longest-running being Ruisrock in Turku on the west coast, organised for the 44th time in 2013.
Ilosaarirock in Joensuu, Lakeland sees its 42nd and Provinssirock in Seinäjoki in the coastal region its 35th edition in 2013.
Heavy Metal Mania
Finland is a country of hard rock and heavy metal lovers, which is evident in genre-dedicated events all over the country.
The best-known is Tuska (translates directly to “pain”), a three-day metal festival in central Helsinki. Sauna Open Air takes place in Tampere, Lakeland.
Nummirock blasts out the sounds of darkness in Kauhajoki in the coastal region and Jalometalli dresses the northern city of Oulu in black.
Hip hop heads get together at Blockfest in Tampere at the end of August. The festival features world-class rhymers as well as Finnish talent.
Another rap extravaganza is Pipefest in Himos, Lakeland at the end of July. Like Blockfest, Pipefest boasts big-name international headliners with a score of Finnish artists.
Trendy urbanites into melancholy guitar tones and yearning vocals – some might call them hipsters – feel at home at the Flow Festival in central Helsinki’s Suvilahti in early August and again at Monsters of Pop in Tampere at the end of September.
A more alternative approach ranging from punk to hip hop and metal is offered at Kuudes Aisti (Sixth Sense) Festival in a converted factory milieu in Helsinki’s Kallio district in early July.
The list goes on…
Not all festivals specialize in one genre of music. Kivenlahti Rock in Espoo, half an hour from central Helsinki, has an emphasis on rock but features also reggae, rap and pop artists in early June.
Kalajoen Juhannus is a midsummer festival that focuses on getting people in the party mode with live acts performing everything from eurotechno to classic Finnish rock.
Qstock in Oulu draws people from all walks of life to the festival island of Kuusisaari, and Down by the Laituri takes over the whole city of Turku, both in late July.
In early August, the small Lakeland town of Mikkeli gets merry at Jurassic Rock, and Simerock in Rovaniemi is Lapland’s answer to the nationwide festival call.
Contrast is the main ingredient in Finnish cultural life, probably because everything looks and sounds different from our northern perspective. This may explain heavy metal music played on cellos and films almost completely without dialogue.