Once again, it's time to draw out your calendars and take a look at this year’s festival selection. For this guide, we picked over 40 interesting Finnish summer festivals from classical to pop, folk and beyond.
Sommelo, 26 June–1 July
Even in the global landscape of festivals, Sommelo, held on both sides of the Finnish-Russian border, in the historical landscape of Kainuu and Viena Karelia, is truly a unique one. This year, with a slightly downsized program, Sommelo offers a nice selection of Finnish folk music, ranging from Zäpämmät to Johanna Juhola and workshops with topics from runosong to kantele and back.
Haapavesi Folk Music Festival, 1–3 July
Haapavesi Folk Music Festival’s programme is once again filled with folk and world music along with music for children, jazz, rock and classical music. Artistic director for the event is Teija Niku. This year’s line-up includes artists like Ojajärvi Blom Ojajärvi, Alda, Hurja Halla, Haapoja & Illmari Kollektiivi and Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha, among many others.
Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, 11–17 July
Established in 1968, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is the largest folk music festival in the Nordic countries. During the festival week in Kaustinen you can catch Värttinä, Mari Boine (NOR), Ida Elina, Kotamäki Company, Maija Kauhanen, Vilma Jää and quite literally countless others – over 4000 performers are expected to play at the free-for-all folk jam festival! Internationality is also visible in a new way during the festival week., following Unesco's decision to place the Kaustinen Fiddle Playing tradition on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Unesco celebration will take place on Thursday in the Keskipohjanmaa Arena.
Helsinki Festival, 12 August – 4 September
Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland, with a program consisting of concerts and happenings from classical and contemporary music to indie rock, hip hop, jazz and world music. This year the schedule contains, for example, a performance of all Kaija Saariaho’s choral works, including a premiere of her newest, Renaissance. On the bill there are also domestic pop and rock acts like garage rock pioneers 22-Pistepirkko, singer-songwriters like Bobby Oroza, Mikko Joensuu and Suad (all supporting international acts), The Hearing’s Ringa Manner and Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen with UMO Jazz Orchestra as well as Timo Lassy with "Finland’s largest symphony orchestra devoted to popular music", Vantaa Orchestra. From the international side you have crossover acts like Holly Herndon (US), Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (US), Arooj Aftab (PK/US), Angelique Kidjo (BENN), as well as hip indie and rock acts like Low (US), Kurt Vile (US), Lucy Dacus (US), Goat (SWE), Deerhoof (US) and Agnes Obel (DK) and much more. Not to forget dance, theater, film, visual arts and children’s culture.
The article has originally been published @ MusicFinland.com, May 2022, a showcase in English for Finnish musical culture since 1985.
Photo Credits: (1) Maija Kauhanen, (2) Zäpämmät, (3) Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha, (4) Johanna Juhola, (5) Värttinä, (6) Finnish Music Quarterly / Music Finland (unknown/website).