Flowing in August Helsinki  reported by Eija Niskanen

8月 17, 2016

Flowing in August Helsinki

repoted by  Eija Niskanen
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Flow, the state of mental easygoing flowing – and also one of the best European popular music festivals, according to the international media. Flow Festival, http://www.flowfestival.com/en/ took place for the 13th time in Helsinki in August 12.-14.


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Along the years Flow has grown from a small local music event to a major festival, with 75 000 visitors this year, 25 000 each day, which was the maximum capacity allowed to the space. Flow organizers’ idea has been to do a different festival than the older rock festivals, such as Ruisrock and Provinssi in Finland, with an urban touch and nice venue to spend summer time. The festival has gathered a reputation as ’the hipster festival of Finland’.

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The space itself is already spectacular, at Suvilahti, amongst the old industrial buildings of power station, gas station and ruins of others. These have become location for many cultural events at the growing Kalasatama area during this decade. The festival has the normal outdoor concert area of main stage, two large tents, with the new Lapin Kulta Red Arena tent taking in 15 000 audience members. The old buildings house a smaller club venue of Voimala, and the 360 ˚ Stage, under ”the ball” has a round stage on which the artists perform, surrounded by the audience from all sides. This small venue is perfect for more jazzy and experimental music acts, which this year included the rising rap artist Paperi-T, classical musician Pekka Kuusisto and Samuli Kosminen trio performing, Thudercats from USA and Mopo (a Finnish jazz band with the great female saxophonist Linda Fredriksson).

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The musical choice of the festival has experimental, hiphoppy, club electro, pop and even punk acts. It has a strong and varied selection of up and coming and established artists from indie rock to top jazz and from underground hip-hop to experiemental. What they don’t have are the metal bands or biggest Finnish sellers, who perform at all other festivals. The bigger venues had this year collected Massive Attack, New Order and Morrissey from UK, Iggy Pop and the 1970s California punk band The Descendants, and the humorous act of Ricky-Tick Big Band, which has Tommi Lindgren and Paleface, amongst other names performing in a big band style. Club enthusiasts enjoyed Hercules and Love Affair and Jamie XX performances. Biggest crowd to the main stage was when Sia performed as the closing act on Sunday with her dancers.




Overall the festival’s music choices are some of the most interesting foreign artists along with rising Finnish music acts – a great place for foreign critics and audience members to check what is going on in Finnish music.


Flow festival has gathered reputation abroad, and many visitors come from other countries in Europe, some even from Japan – I spotted several youngish Japanese and one Japanese reporter at the festival. The space is with an easy access from the center of Helsinki, and offers a huge bicycle parking for those choosing to bike to the event – which I did all three days.


Flow is not only about listening to music. The venue has great selection of food stands, all of whom offered at least one vegan choice of food, and good drink bars, with a gin drink bar and champagne lounge for easy relaxation. The space has several place to sit down and relax, and also offers a movie theater, run by the nearby Kallio based Cinema Riviera movie theater. Aalto Arts University offers an art exhibition. The venue is generally for those 18 and older, but on Sunday there is also a kids’ space for families to come with their children. With the event taking place around the Japanese summer holiday week, why don’t you plan to spend a day or two, or the whole weekend at Flow the next summer you visit Finland!

All This report’s and photos copyright belongs to  Eija Niskanen

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