It’s no surprise that Finland is often called the Promised Land of Festivals. This country of only five million people has hundreds of festival events, and the Finland Festivals organisation represents the pick of the bunch. The figures for public interest in festivals are also impressive for such a small country, with more than two million festival visits recorded and about 725,000 admission tickets sold in 2013.
Festivals provide an ideal opportunity to enjoy the cultural tourist experience, with high standard artistic productions, top class performers from Finland and abroad, reliable infrastructure, excellent transport connections, and festival venues in splendidly scenic rural or urban surroundings.
But leaving aside considerations of artistic produc tion, festival conditions, surroundings, accommodation, transport, food, drink or fine ambience, it always comes back to passion. Festivals always begin with the passion of individual artists. We might well consider the example of Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, which began more than 40 years ago from the vision of cellist Seppo Kimanen of a calm and peaceful venue that would combine a scenic setting with top class chamber music. Or we might reflect on the Midnight Sun Film Festival, created by the worldrenowned Kaurismäki brothers in a place where the sun never sets. The festivals of Finland include dozens of similar stories of powerful personalities; of passionate people whose art leaves a lasting impression on the public mind.
It is indeed ultimately all about passion – and this is easy to find in Finland.