Summer is here! We compiled a list of 30 Finnish summer festivals that take place all around Finland, ranging from major indie and metal festivals to intimate small and cozy contemporary music events.
This year Avanti’s Summer Sounds Festival (Suvisoitto) programme includes three works by Olli Virtaperko (one of which is a premiere), premieres of Jarkko Hartikainen’s EMBODIED for solo violin Heinz-Juhani Hofmann’s Kylätasku-laulut. The final concert is led by Sakari Oramo and the soloists include cellist Marko Ylönen, jouhikko-player Ilkka Heinonen and soprano Anu Komsi.
You can’t find a festival like Sommelo easily: held on both sides of the Finnish-Russian border, in the historical landscape of Kainuu and Viena Karelia. The festivals offers a versatile selection of traditional and modern folk music, ranging from Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström to murder ballads by Trio Kelavala and traditional runo singing by Maari Kallberg and Ilona Korhonen.
In 2018 Haapavesi Folk Music Festival turns 30. The programme is again filled with folk and world music along with music for children, jazz, rock and classical music, with artists like Frigg, Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha, JPP & Panu Savolainen, Juurakko and Steve ’n’ Seagulls on the large lineup. The artistic director for this year is Teija Niku.
Also celebrating its anniversary in 2018 is Provinssi, one of Finland’s largest rock festivals. For its 40th year the festival has yet again a large array of artists, ranging from French Montana’s and Run the Jewels’ rap to metal and rock by Meshuggah and Volbeat, not to mention the top prime of Finnish pop stars and marginal favourites like Isac Elliot, Disco Ensemble and K-X-P.
One of Finland’s largest metal festivals, Tuska, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Bands like Emperor, Body Count, Gojira, Moonsorrow and Grave Pleasures are among the lineup of the three day festival.
Time of Music (Musiikin aika) Festival is organized in the beginning of July every year in Viitasaari, Central Finland. Time of Music focuses on cutting-edge contemporary music, and hosts the most important composers and artists of the field yearly, gaining an international reputation as a courageous, border-breaking and innovative event. In 2018 the festival presents three large scale performative works by Rolf Wallin, Heiner Goebbels and Wojtek Blecharz.
The oldest festival in Finland, and the second oldest continuously running rock festival in Europe, located in Ruissalo Park, Turku, has successfully gravitated towards EDM and pop audiences in the past years. This year Ruisrock’s line up consists of international stars like N.E.R.D., Chainsmokers, Marshmello, Rae Sremmurd and Dua Lipa, complemented with domestic acts Alma, Sunrise Avenue, Disco Ensemble and Lxandra – and the tickets were sold out already in May.
Established in 1968, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is the largest folk music festival in the Nordic countries. Among the hundreds of acts that perform during the festival week in Kaustinen are Okra Playground, Tuuletar, Meriheini Luoto, Juurakko, Maija Kauhanen, Sväng and Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström.
Ilosaarirock Festival, founded in 1971, is held in the city of Joensuu in eastern Finland. The festival is a favorite for Finnish music lovers, selling out every year. This summer, the program consists of international artists like Jack White, Zara Larsson, Zedd and Action Bronson, along with domestics favorites such as Nightwish, Beast in Black, Amorphis, Circle, Disco Ensemble, K-X-P, Mop, Shiraz Lane and Mokoma.
Finland’s oldest jazz festival has not been only about jazz for a while: this year the line up ranges from rock headliners like Alanis Morissette and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to pop acts like Jessie Ware, Jess Glynne and James Blunt, legendary performers like Burt Bacharach, Tower of Power and Mavis Staples to modern jazz and soul like GoGo Penguin, Yazz Ahmed and Robert Glasper. Finnish acts include Iro Haarla Quartet, 3TM, Mikko Innanen 10+, Joona Toivanen Trio and Jarmo Saari Republic.
In just over 47 years, Kuhmo Chamber Music has grown to become one of the world's foremost classical music festivals. For a fortnight chamber music takes over the streets of Kuhmo, as over a hundred musicians perform at dozens of concerts. Musicians include pianists Nino Gvetadze and Nikita Boriso-Glebsky, cellist and conductor Klaus Mäkelä, clarinetists Lauri Sallinen and Christoffer Sundqvist, the bandoneon artist Marcelo Nisinman and the singer Romina Basso. Ensembles include the Meta4, Borea, Danel and Enesco string quartets and the Storioni Trio.
A new urban festival in the city of Tampere will have its second incarnation this summer. Located in an old industrial area, the festival will showcase some of the most interesting names in Finnish indie music today (as well as a few international artists): Liima, Circle, Shivan Dragn, Ros Red, Detalji, Onni Boi, Mopo, Dallas Kalevala, Litku Klemetti, Saimaa and many more.
Our Festival (in Finnish: Meidän Festivaali) is renowned for its fresh approach to the arts and its crossover events. Under its Artistic Director Pekka Kuusisto, it seeks new perspectives on musical encounters and concert practices, with a view to giving the audience an experience that is simply not available elsewhere. The theme for 2018 is soul, and the wide lineup features musicians such as pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, violinist Malin Broman, Kamus Quartet and Tölöläb together with Elifantree.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Raahe Jazz on the Beach Festival is an intimate modern and contemporary outdoor jazz festival in the idyllic, old wooden seaside town Raahe in Northern Finland. The line-up includes Mopo (playing two shows, one as a trio and one with singer-songwriter Samuli Putro), live hip hop group Don Johnson Big Band, Gourmet, Virta, 3TM, Claudia Solal & Benjamin Moussay (FR), Papanosh (FR) and more.
During its 10 years of existence, fans of the experimental and underground scene have found a haven of sorts at Ilmiö. The festival is held in an intimate environment at an old dance pavillion by the sea and its multi-disciplinary programme consists of acts such as Maija Kauhanen, Meriheini Luoto, Draama-Helmi, Jesse, Jimi Tenor and Verandan.
The unique historical milieu of the old parish church of St Lawrence provides the heart of this superb musical experience, which gives pride of place to baroque music and period instruments while also accommodating musical works from other eras. Leading artists will place special emphasis on works not previously heard in Finland.
The 59th Turku Music Festival (Turun musiikkijuhlat) will host two performances of the baroque opera Il Pomo D’Oro by Claudio Monteverdi. The festival programme contains altogether almost 40 concerts and events, with artists such as Kristine Opolais, Anneliina Koskinen, Flavia di Nola, Olga Heikkilä, Keith John, Max De Aloe, Marjukka Tepponen, Essi Luttinen, Iiro Rantala, Kaisa Takkula, and Hélène Mercier & Louis Lortie. The artistic director of the festival is Ville Matvejeff, known as conductor, composer and pianist.
One of Finland’s best known festivals internationally, Flow Festival provides music from old school legends to topical newcomers, a monumental architectural site with beautiful light design and decorations and an exceptional array of world spanning cuisine right in the heart of Helsinki. This year the line-up boasts with international acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Sigrid, Patti Smith, St. Vincent, Kendrick Lamar and Charlotte Gainsbourg, as well as local greats like Alma, View, Lake Jons, Lxandra, Lau Nau, Mopo, Imatran Voima, Lil Tony, Onni Boi and Meriheini Luoto.
This summer Ijahis idja, the most important gathering and meeting point for the Sámi people in Finland celebrates 15th anniversary. The festival presents the wide range of Sámi arts, with international acts like A Tribe Called Red and Kevin Boine and the Finnish band Solju. In addition, the program consists of sports competitions and handcrafts market and other side events.
This year Finland’s biggest EDM Festival moves to a new location: Hietaniemi Beach right in the centre of Helsinki. The line-up also broadens, this year covering both EDM acts such as Axwell & Ingrosso, David Guetta, The Prodigy, Galantis and Martin Garrix and rap heavyweights like Stefflon Don, Desiigner and Macklemore. Finnish acts include JVG, Rony Rex, View and Alex Mattson.
Blockfest is the biggest hip hop festival in the whole Nordic area. Every year the event gathers international rap superstars and local favorites to the city Tampere – this year’s line-up includes Americans Post Malone, Travis Scott, Suicideboys, Juicy J, Lil Pump, Ferg and Playboi Carti along with all the biggest names in ”suomirap” – Finnish rap, that is.
Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland. The programme consists of concerts and happenings in all genres, from Esa-Pekka Salonen’s 60th anniversary concert and Kimmo Pohjonen’s Ultra Organ to performances by Tero Saarinen Company and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Susanna Mälkki and cellist Oren Shevlin. On the bill there are also rock acts like Calexico, Steve Vai and Astrid Swan as well as Amadou & Mariam’s and Ladysmith Black Mamabazo’s world music sounds. Not to forget dance, theater, film, visual arts and children’s culture.
21 years old Oulunsalo Soi Festival hosts concerts in Oulu and its surroundings. The artistic director of the festival is world-famous mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänen. This year’s line-up includes artists and musicians such as pianist Olli Mustonen, violinist Daniel Rowland, trumpetist-singer Jeroen Berwaerts, cellist Maja Bogdanović and violinist Kreeta-Maria Kentala, who will be taking care of the festival’s artistic direction from 2019.
A Guide to Finnish Summer Festivals 2018. Published 4.6.2018. The FMQ (Finnish Music Quarterly, www.fmq.fi/archives) has been a showcase in English for Finnish musical culture since 1985. It publishes new items on its website every week and a printed edition at the end of the year. The FMQ is published by Music Finland. Its partners are the Sibelius Academy, the Society of Finnish Composers and the Finnish Musicians’ Union. The magazine also receives a grant from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
Photo Credits: (1) Frigg (by Walkin' Tom); (2) Jaako Laitinen, (3) JPP, (4) Okra Playground, (5) Tuuletar, (6) Maija Kauhanen, (7) Sväng, (8) Kimmo Pohjonen, (9) Ladysmith Black Mambazo, (10) Finnish Music Quarterly (unknown/website).