Neighboring Finland plays host to a range of great summer music festivals that are easily accessible to Petersburgers.
Published: June 13, 2012 (Issue # 1712)
The Flow Festival has been held in the Suvilahti former energy production area in Helsinki since 2007.
Finland’s summer music schedule boasts a wealth of festivals with big international and domestic names to offer, something Russia is lacking. A number of Petersburgers lucky enough to live near the border have already made it a habit to take the trip and visit some of them, with more travelers joining the trend every year.
Some of the festivals, held all across Finland, date back to as early as 1970, like Ruisrock in Turku, while others are newer, like the brand new Kuudes Aisti Festival, which will be launched in Helsinki next month.
But one event with both a great reputation and history is located quite far from St. Petersburg. It opens this week, launching the Finnish festival season.
Aptly called Provinssirock, the festival is based in Seinäjoki, Southern Ostrobothnia, Western Finland. The city is 508 kilometers from St. Petersburg and 360 kilometers from Helsinki.
Seinäjoki, June 15-17
Norah Jones will sing at Pori Jazz.
One of the biggest international rock festivals in Finland, the three-day Provinssirock has been held every June since 1979 and draws tens of thousands to enjoy all kinds of music from electronic and death metal to alternative rock, folk music and hip-hop on the event’s four stages — each roughly devoted to one particular style of music.
Held in the park on Törnävä Island on the Seinäjoki River, this year’s Provinssirock will feature bands from all around Finland as well as from the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Denmark and Estonia.
The lineup this year includes the American bands Slayer, Mastodon, Rise Against and OFF!, the French bands Justice Live and M83 and the British bands Example and Snow Patrol.
The Finnish music scene is represented by acts such as internationally popular symphonic metal band Nightwish, the alt-rockers Poets of the Fall, and Michael Monroe of the Hanoi Rocks fame, as well as humppa folk punk rockers Eläkeläiset.
From Estonia come the Baltic country’s leading indie-rock band Ewert and the Two Dragons and singer-songwriter Iiris, who released her debut album “The Magic Gift Box” on EMI Finland earlier this year.
Provinssirock can be reached by plane or train from Helsinki. Traditionally an extra train to the event is put on from the Finnish capital.
Last year, the festival drew 84,000 fans.
Ty Segall will play at Kuudes Aisti.
Turku, July 6-8
Ruisrock is held in Turku, Finland’s oldest city and former capital, located on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It set its record of attendance in 1971, a year after the first festival took place, when 100,000 came to hear the diverse music it offered. Since that time the festival has moved from its original site (now occupied by Turku City Camping) to Ruissalo National Park.
This year’s event will feature Pulp, the Britpop legend that finally came back from its nine-year “sabbatical” last year, American rapper Snoop Dogg, The Cardigans, Bloc Party, The Mars Volta, Suicidal Tendencies and Explosions in the Sky, among many others.
Finnish rock music will be represented by the likes of Nightwish and Michael Monroe.
Pori, July 14-22
Jools Holland will play at Pori Jazz with his Rhythm Blues Orchestra.
American singer-songwriter Norah Jones will feature at this year’s Pori Jazz, the international festival held annually in the coastal city of Pori.
Founded in 1966, it is one of the oldest and best-known jazz festivals in Europe, offering a broad spectrum of music from jazz, blues, soul, funk, hip hop, Afro-Cuban and world music to pop.
The festival’s main venue is Kirjurinluoto Arena (also known as Pori Delta Arena), a concert park designed specially for open-air events.
Emeli Sande, Janelle Monae, D’Angelo, Paloma Faith, Estelle, Sam Sparro, Hidden Orchestra, Robert Randolph the Family Band, Monty Alexander, Sly Robbie, and Jools Holland with his Rhythm Blues Orchestra will perform during the nine days of the festival which will see more than 100 concerts at 11 different venues. A special Pori Jazz Kids Festival will also be organized for children.
Helsinki, July 27-29
Bjork will headline this year’s Flow Festival in Helsinki.
A new festival, which features both some of the most respected international underground heroes and newcomers in genres from techno to punk and from rap to metal and dubstep to indie, will make its debut in the Kallio neighborhood of Helsinki.
The district is the former home of a match factory, the biggest bakery in Finland and a plant that made metal bed frames, as well as workers’ accommodation. The area is now occupied by students, artists and musicians and reputed as “bohemian” as it houses three clubs and an art school.
Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth will play a special set with No Wave legend Ikue Mori, while The Avengers, a band that opened for the Sex Pistols on their fateful U.S. tour, will bring some seminal American punk.
The best of today’s American music is represented by modern psychedelic rocker Ty Segall and low-fi indie singer/songwriter Kurt Vile. From Atlanta, Georgia comes the garage-punk band Black Lips, while indie rockers Veronica Falls come from London, England. Finnish underground is well-represented by the Helsinki-based psychedelic metal band Tombstoned and the melodic punk rockers Pää Kii, the folk rock band Eetu Floor, a new crop of singers-songwriters such Tiiu Helinä and Sarah Kivi, as well as the new indie bands, such as Big Wave Riders, Black Twig, Splits and Death Laser. Established Finnish acts and legends to perform at Kuudes Aisti, which is the Finnish for the “Sixth Sense,” include Rubik, Circle, PK Keränen of 22 Pistepirkko and Pekka Airaksinen.
Joensuu, July 13-15
Ikue Mori (l) and Kim Gordon (r) will also perform at Kuudes Aisti.
Ilosaarirock Festival is in its 42nd consecutive year of running since it was held on Ilosaari Island (literally, “Fun Island”) on the Pielisjoki River in 1971.
Informally known as “Rokki,” the first event was called Rock Rieha (Rock Rave). There are a total of five stages at the festival, in addition to the club events held on Friday at the festival site.
“Ilosaarirock was originally created to be a great party for the public, not as a profit-making scheme for the organizers,” according to its website.
This year’s event will feature the U.S. “baroque-pop” band Antony and the Johnsons, which will perform with Joensuu City Orchestra, Swedish rockers The Hives, the new generation London indie pop band The xx, the American blues rockers Rival Sons from Los Angeles and the hip-hop duo Black Star from Brooklyn, New York City. Denmark’s seminal glam rock band D-A-D (previously known as “Disneyland After Dark”) will also perform.
Finnish bands include indie rockers Lapko and psychedelic black metallers Oranssi Pazuzu.
Helsinki, August 8-12
Flow Festival, a music and arts festival in Helsinki, has taken place in the historic Suvilahti former power plant area in Helsinki since 2007. Headlined by Björk this year, it boasts an impressive selection of both new and established artists in diverse genres ranging from indie rock and folk to soul, jazz and contemporary club music. Feist, The Black Keys, St. Vincent, The War on Drugs and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon will perform along with dozens of others.