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A guide to Finnish summer festivals 2018
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. See more below.
Naantali Music Festival, June 5–16
Naantali Music Festival, June 5–16
At the 39th Naantali Music Festival concert venues in Naantali, Rymättylä, Raisio and Seili Island welcome some of the world’s leading musicians to perform. Conductor Dima Slobodeniouk visits Naantali for the first time to lead the Lahti Symphony Orchestra with soloists Christian Altenburger (violin) and one of the world’s premier violists Roberto Diaz. Other highlights include Krzysztof Penderecki’s 85th birthday programme and Aulis Sallinen’s highly acclaimed chronicle The Castle in the Water.
Silence festival, June 6–10
Silence festival gathers the most interesting performances and artists from Finland and abroad to Lapland. The multidisciplinary program of art and culture is spread in and around the small village of Kaukonen. This year’s highlights include ”Reidar”, an improvisatory concert by Verneri Pohjola, Anni Elif, Timo Kämäräinen and Matleena Laine and Kittilä’s 150th anniversary concert with Pekka Kuusisto and the orchestra of poets. Read our interview with the festival’s Artistic Director, Outi Tarkiainen here.
Kokonainen Festival, June 8–9
Kokonainen Festival in Hämeenlinna focuses on works by female composers. This year Cecilia Damström is the composer in residence and her piano quintet Aino is premiered at the event (Aino Sibelius is one of festival’s thematical inspirations). Works by Riikka Talvitie, Lotta Wennäkoski, Amy Beach and Missy Mazzoli are also performed.
Sideways, June 8–10
Sideways is the largest early summer indie festival in Finland, with 75 live acts showcasing the most interesting Finnish and international indie acts. In addition the festival consists of entertaining sideshows from music trivia competitions to art exhibitions or 80’s arcade games to skateboarding sessions. This year’s most interesting artists include Mø, Deerhunter, Young Fathers, A Perfect Circle, James Holden & The Animal Spirits and Finnish acts like Teksti-TV 666, Mirel Wagner and Oranssi Pazuzu.
Nummirock, June 20–23
For fans of heavier music spending the weekend of midsummer festivities at Nummirock has become a tradition.The lineup of 2018, which is a great mix of both old and new acts, features artists like Abbath, Saxon, Sodom, Lost Society, Beast in Black and Moonsorrow to name a few.
XXXIII Summer Sounds, June 27 – July 1
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.
Sommelo, June 27 – July 1
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.
Haapavesi Folk Music Festival, June 28–30
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.
Provinssi, June 28–30
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.
Tuska Festival, June 29 – July 1
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.
Pekka Kuusisto with Brian Crabtree at Our Festival 2017. Photo by Maarit Kytöharju.
Time of Music, July 3–9
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.
Ruisrock, 6–8 July
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.
Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, July 9–15
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, July 13-15
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.
Pori Jazz, 14-22 July
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.
Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, July 14–28
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.
Uusi Tampere, 20-21 July
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, July 22–28
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.
Raahe Jazz on the Beach Festival, 26-27 July
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.
Ilmiö, July 28
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.
Severi Pyysalo at Turku Music Festival 2017. Photo by Seilo Ristimäki.
BRQ Vantaa Festival, 6–12 August
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.
Turku Music Festival, 9–19 August
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.
Flow Festival, August 10-12
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.
Ijahis Idja, 17-19 August
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.
Weekend, 17-19 August
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, 17–18 August
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, 17 August – 2 September
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.
Oulunsalo Soi, 27–31 August
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.