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After the long and dark winter, the cultural life awakens, making summer the prime time for all kinds of festivities in Finland. From international and national music festivals to movies and Finnish tango, we listed the top seven summer festivals in Finland you should not miss!
Since 1986, Sodankylän Elokuvajuhlat, the original name of the festival, has been held in the north of Finland in the city of Sodankylä. The festival takes place normally during the second week of June, and it hosts national and international films for five consecutive days without any breaks. Some of the most famous guests of Midnight Sun Film Festival have included Miloš Forman, Jim Jarmusch and Francis Ford Coppola.
The Tangomarkkinat, a music festival that concentrates on tango, is the oldest festival of its kind in the whole world. Held yearly since 1987 in Seinäjoki, the festival brings together all tango lovers from singers and composers to dancers. A competition for the best tango singers takes place for both women and men who are given a ‘Tango Royal’ award at the end of the festival. The city of Seinäjoki is buzzing during the festival that takes place in mid-July, hosting over 100,000 visitors over the years.
The biggest folk music and dance festival in the Nordic countries, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival hosts national and international artists from all over the world for a week in the town of Kaustinen, located in the western part of the country. The festival has been around since 1968; exceeding the visitor expectations during its first edition, it today hosts over 3,000 artists and over 100,000 visitors every year.
For those who enjoy classical music and more specifically, chamber music, head to Eastern Finland for Kuhmon Kamarimusiikki, Kuhmo Chamber Music. This two-week festival at the end of July hosts around five concerts every day, chamber music classics and more contemporary pieces performed by different forms of ensembles. The first festival was held in 1970, and Kuhmo Chamber Music is the fifth largest festival in Finland when it comes to number of visitors.
Hosting both international and national artists since 1971, Ilosaarirock is the second oldest rock festival in Finland and is mainly organized by volunteer workers. Last years’ headliners included artists like Portishead, Imagine Dragon, and First Aid Kit, to mention a few. The festival serves as an excellent reason to visit the eastern part of Finland and to explore the city of Joensuu, which hosts many cultural events and concerts throughout the festival weekend. Another fascinating detail to know is that the profits of Ilosaarirock go to a nonprofit, Joensuu Pop Musicians’ Association, supporting the North Karelian music scene.
Being one of the oldest and most prominent jazz festivals in Europe, the main concerts of Pori Jazz take place in Kirjurinluoto, an island attached to the city of Pori on the west coast of Finland. Started in 1966 with two days’ of programming, this picnic-friendly festival is now extended to nine days, spreading out from Kirjurinluoto to multiple stages across the city, offering an array of concerts of which many are free. The festival is the biggest summer event in Finland and for good reason – many legendary artists like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Chick Corea, and Dizzy Gillespie have performed at Pori Jazz.
An urban music and arts festival, Flow is held in Helsinki‘s Suvilahti, an industrial district close to the city center, hosting music genres from indie pop to contemporary electro to jazz and soul. Besides the music, the festival also serves as an urban platform for different art installations, video screenings, design, gastronomy and more. Last years’ artists include Nick Cave & The Bad Sheets, Björk, Alicia Keys, and The Roots, to name a few.