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Top 5 Summer Festivals in Finland You Can’t Miss

The infamously long, dark, and cold winter is finally over in Finland. The whole country seems to come alive in the summertime, and what would be a better way to celebrate this than going to a festival! Finland hosts numerous festivals, ranging from quirky film festivals under the midnight sun to celebrations of thousands of hardcore metal fans. Check out the best five summer festivals in Finland that you should experience at least once in your life!

5. Pori Jazz

Kirjurinluoto, Pori
Jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, blues, Afro-Cuban, popOne of the biggest and oldest jazz summer festivals in Europe, Pori Jazz was found already in 1966. Although the festival started with a duration of just two days with only 1 500 visitors, the event has grown exponentially and has been extended to last for nine days and hosts 120 000 to 160 000 jazz lovers every year. The festival has become one of the most beloved ones, and no wonder: it has hosted international big names such as Betty Carter, Alicia Keys, Earth, Wind & Fire, Phil Collins, Chuck Berry, and The Roots. This year’s main artists include future funk act Jamiroquai, Grace Jones, and Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds.

TOP TIP: Bring your own food with you! Pori Jazz is known for people enjoying picnics while listening to groovy music.

4. Ruisrock

Ruissalo, Turku

Rock, hip hop, pop, electronic music, alternative

The second oldest summer festival still running in Europe, Ruisrock was started in 1970 and has hosted many remarkable artists including Bon Jovi, Nirvana, Uriah Heep, and Bob Dylan. Even though Ruisrock’s roots are deep in the rock genre, the contemporary festival has expanded its offerings. This year’s line-up features the Norwegian DJ producer Kygo, rapper Travis Scott, singer-songwriter Charli XCX, as well as many popular and rising Finnish artists!

TOP TIP: Take your grandma and grandpa with you! All 70+-year-olds will get free admission for one day, and ride the waterbus from Turku city centre to the festival site and back for free.

3. Tuska Open Air Metal Festival

Suvilahti, Helsinki 

Hard rock, metal

The hard-core rock festival gathering metalheads from all corners of the world turns 20 years this summer! Having hosted legends like Alice Cooper, Lamb of God, Anthrax, and Megadeth, Tuska is among the most respected metal festivals in the world. Nicknamed “The promised land of metal”, Finland takes pride in. Many big names in the genre, such as Nightwish, Children of Bodom, and Apocalyptica hail from Finland. This year, one of the iconic Finnish bands, H.I.M., will climb up on the stage as one of the main performers of this summer festival along with Sabaton and Mastodon.

TOP TIP: Try out the mosh pit!

2. Midnight Sun Film Festival


Indie and Alternative

In the middle of Finnish Lapland, north of the arctic circle where the midnight sun burns as brightly in the night as it does during the day, lies the small village of Sodankylä. During the nightless nights, the village comes vividly animated with people when everyone with a love for cinema gathers together. The sense of time disappears when films are played day and night, that merge into one under the never-setting sun.

During the summer festival that was founded by the filmmaker Kaurismäki brothers in 1986, altogether over 100 films are played on 120 screens. The program includes both Finnish and international films, classics, and contemporary pieces. Some films to definitely look forward to are the American thriller The China Syndrome (1979), the exotic Finnish-Bulgarian document The Good Postman (2016), and the sensational Finland100 film Tom of Finland (2017).

TOP TIP: In some screenings, leading film critics will provide insight into the masterpieces and help to understand the delicate undertones and symbolism used in the art of cinema.

1. Flow Festival

Suvisaari, Helsinki

Urban, hip hop, alternative, pop, art

The contemporary festival combines music and arts, and the program includes everything from gigs to film screenings and talks as well as food and drinks. Taking place at a defunct power plant and its industrial surroundings, Flow Festival showcases not only the most notable artists of the moment but also lets the most promising emerging artists take over the stage.

Previous names include the revolutionary South-African zef-act Die Antwoord, US rapper Kanye West,  the politically aware M.I.A., and the Icelandic sensation Björk. In 2017, the capital of Finland had the honor to welcome guests like the ever-so-iconic diva Lana del Rey, the ethereal US ensemble The XX, rock cult favorite Ryan Adams. And a broad representation of the new generation of US rappers including Frank Ocean, Young Thug, Princess Nokia, and Vince Staples.

Remember to keep an eye open for the new and upcoming artists too; it would not be the first time when the conquest of the international music world has started from the stage of the Flow Festival.

TOP TIP: Food is an important part of the Flow Festival experience, and this year the emphasis is on Nordic tastes. Over 40 restaurants are showcasing their culinary skills, and in the spirit Flow, the focus is on the use of local, organic, and sustainably produced ingredients. Maybe you can even find some of the Finnish specialties we wrote about in this blog post!

Summer festivals have become one of the most expected events for Finland’s residents after a long heavy snowy winter. Be sure not to miss it while you are in the country.

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