Thousands of events and festivals of every size and description are held in Finland throughout the year, although the main festival season is the summer. Finland Festivals is a series of events, covering jazz, rock, classical, dance, visual arts, opera and every other conceivable form of cultural expression.
Finland presents a truly mouth-watering array of cultural opportunities, through its huge range of music and arts festivals across the country.
So many reasons to celebrate
Finland is at its most vibrant in the summer. That’s because there is so much to celebrate! The days are long, warm and sunny. There is so much beauty in the cities, the countryside, the lakeland and along the coastline. Combine this with a Finnish love of culture and you will understand why – in so many towns and villages – there is an excuse for a celebration or two!
There are many other festivals which embrace the genres of concert music, chamber music, jazz, rock, dance and many other themes. Finland Festivals is a great place to look for details and schedules of more than 100 festivals taking place in Finland during summers. see the link on the right side.
A visit to one of these festivals will be a definite highlight of a holiday in Finland, where the long sunny days and beautiful unspoilt scenery offer the perfect backdrop for a relaxing and rejuvenating break. In the midsummer months of June and July the sun barely dips below the horizon, offering countless opportunities to enjoy the great Finnish outdoors.
We have chosen some of Finland’s top events
Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland, organised annually in late summer. The festival’s aim is to make art accessible for all.
At Savonlinna Opera Festival, the medieaval castle of Olavinlinna will provide a superb setting for opera productions.
Meanwhile, Kuopio, situated right in the midst of the stunning Finnish lake district, plays home to the dance festival in June.
Pori, situated on Finland’s west coast, plays home to Pori Jazz a major international event with world-class performing artists. Its unique atmosphere, diversified high standard programme, fine services and beautiful surroundings on the banks of the Kokemäki River attract about 150,000 visitors every year.
The opportunity to hear top-class chamber music at Kuhmo is not one to be missed, as leading chamber musicians will transfix the little town town as usual in July. The peace of the forests and the beautiful surroundings, sunlit nights and heart-stirring concerts will open the senses to new and sublime delights.
Head for Turku and its famous festival taking place in August. This versatile city festival provides top class music for a wide range of tastes, including major orchestral concerts, chamber music, recitals, jazz, and concerts for children. All of the concert venues are in the city centre, and performers are leading artists from Finland and abroad.
Crazy Summer Happenings
Of course, it’s not just culture in its purest sense which provides such an attraction for the visitor to Finland. There are also many slightly ‘off-the-wall’ happenings during the summer, with festivals to celebrate wife-carrying, hay-mowing, swamp soccer, witch trials and pea-eating, to name just a few. If you’re looking for a festival with a difference this summer, then a visit to Finland must be almost obligatory. After all, when you know you can find formal celebrations of mobile phone throwing, berry picking, crowbar-walking, kissing and wife-carrying, there really can be nowhere else to consider!
Finns’ love of sports, from rally to ice hockey, is well established. The country has also earned a reputation for hosting a score of eccentric competitions, most of which are scheduled for the summer months.
About 40 such events are held in total, ranging from the more traditional – hay mowing, for instance, and mölkky, a skittles game – to the more contemporary. Finns are among the eagerest record breakers in the world. They also see the main point in record breaking: it’s challenging, dramatic, even stupid, but most of all, fun.
Here’s a summary of some of the weird and wonderful events taking place in Finland in summer:
Wife carrying: Staged at Sonkajärvi in Eastern Finland since 1992, this ‘discipline’ dates back to the 19th century, if local legend is to be believed. Local villain Herkko Ronkainen used to swing his favourite girl on his shoulders and leg it, an act that will be duplicated by couples competing in the Wife Carrying World Championships annually on July.
Air Guitar Festival: Air Guitarists from all over the world travel to Oulu literally for nothing. But in the end they realize that everything aroud that nothing is something they will never forget – And make them return year after year.
The World Championships of Berry Picking will be held in the village of Suomussalmi in Eastern Finland. The event will gather a large amount of contestants and audience to enjoy nature and its richness, especially lingonberries.
Other events that boggle the mind: Mosquito swatting (Lapland is prime country), Milking stool throwing (farms up and down Finland), Table drumming (bars and restaurants all over the country), Sitting on an ants’ nest (in any forest you choose), Kick-sledding competition (Ylläs in Lapland).