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19. Home-grown or imported goods?

6 May 2013

The will of the people, the good of the people, impartiality and equal rights were the banners under which the cultural debate of the 1970s was waged. Elitism was a four-letter word; popular culture and art sociology were in. It Read more

09. Let us singers inspire one another with song

6 May 2013

In the late 19th century, the cultural organizers found their strongest support among the wealthy landowners in the rural areas. Prosperous country folk allied themselves in the name of the fatherland with the educated classes of the cities. Official cultural Read more

Lux Helsinki

January 2021

Lux Helsinki is an annual five-day festival of light art that spreads across downtown Helsinki in early January, along routes that vary from year to year. The displays are open to everyone free of charge. The artworks of Lux Helsinki vary widely in shape and mode of presentation. For example, they may involve building illuminations in changing colours, video projections and music, kinetic light artworks and installations. These works are created by leading Finnish and international light artists. Lux Helsinki has been organised since 2009.

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Music on the waterfront 2

3 July 2015 - 19 July 2015

This relaxed route takes us from a scenic archipelago and a peaceful old ironworks milieu to a modern cosmopolitan setting.

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20. Finland Festivals – a matter of course

6 May 2013

One of Finland Festivals’ first challenges was to link up it member festivals into a continuous chain of events. Even the slightest overlap gave rise to rancor, as the idea of the unbroken chain had become sacred. After four years, Read more

18. Night frost bites cultural summer?

6 May 2013

Judging by all the success, praise and growing audiences, one might think the work of the festival organizers was just one big party. Far from it. Lack of funds threatened most festivals every year. The Savonlinna Opera Festival hovered on Read more

16. The idea catches on

6 May 2013

Finland Festivals was already in action before it was incorporated. The joint brochure for the summer 1968 still appealed to the old standbys of Finland as a land of architecture and design. The next year was a time of jubilation Read more

15. Finland Festivals is born

6 May 2013

Finland in the throes of change needed new, stimulating forms of togetherness to strengthen the regained sense of community – a new Granfelt to impress the need for culture on people’s minds. Such people were at hand. Their kingpin was Read more

14. Throw out the mothballs!

6 May 2013

In the 1960s, the economy grew apace. Leisure time increased: Finns now got Saturdays off as well as their long summer holiday. Almost every household had a car. Foreign tourists arrived in increasing numbers, but found little more than natural Read more

13. Modernism – but that’s already been invented!

6 May 2013

The course was completely reversed after the war. Finns turned particularly towards Anglo-Saxon culture. They struggled to shed anti-Soviet attitudes and to build up relations with the great neighbour in the east. Germany was sidelined. The last trainload of war Read more

12. Land of farmers, culture of cities

6 May 2013

In 1929, the Finnish Broadcasting Company – which had been founded three years earlier – made a survey of its listener’s preferences. Most of them wanted to hear comic songs, accordion playing, brass bands, folk song, radio plays and cosy Read more

11. The first opera performances in Savonlinna

6 May 2013

The song festival of the Society for Culture and Education would not have been possible without the rural tradition of neighbourly help. Many a present-day festival depends on this very spirit. Still, an imposing setting could not be provided without Read more

10. The friction between high art and amateurism

6 May 2013

The friction between amateur and professional, folklore and foreign influence has always chafed festivals of music and culture. At the song festivals of yore, the conflict brewed for years, until Heikki Klemetti, one of the key figures of the Finnish Read more

08. A sad but efficient nation

6 May 2013

“If several talented and witty people meet, all they need to do to amuse themselves is open their mouths; if several serious and ungraceful people meet, they must organize an entertainment. Amusement is a necessity, and if it does not Read more

07. Separated by song, united by song

6 May 2013

Civic education was promoted in various ways in 19th-century Finland. Well-meaning gentlefolk advocated the equality of all citizens. As historian Henrik Stenius points out, however, despite good intentions, class distinctions often proved insuperable. When singing and dancing were involved, the Read more

06. “Finnish flags fluttered joyfully in the evening breeze”

6 May 2013

After returning from Tallinn, Granfelt set out to find out how many choral and orchestral societies there were in Finland. Everyone who was someone was invited to the musical gala meeting of the Society for Culture and Education in Jyväskylä. Read more

05. The countdown begins

6 May 2013

The Germans exported their song festivals to the Baltic countries, where the original patriotic spirit has survived, amazingly fresh, until the present day. The mammoth events offered a surreptitious channel for giving vent to suppressed national feelings during the years Read more

03. Finland arise, Jyväskylä is coming!

6 May 2013

Eloquent, quick-witted and uninhibited about showing off his broad knowledge of culture, Seppo Nummi had the chance to prove his mettle when he was appointed programme director of the Jyväskylä music and cultural festival in 1957. In his hands, the Read more

02. From blissful backwater to cultural beehive

6 May 2013

New as Seppo Nummi’s vision of a Finnish cultural summer was it sprang from home soil nonetheless. Behind it was the nationalistic cultural heritage of the 19th century. The romantic, almost mystical idealization of the northern summer, of light and Read more

01. The beginnings

6 May 2013

Summer culture would have meant something rather vague to the city Finn of the 1950s: landing stages and dance pavilions, quiet holidays at the summer cottage, family get-togethers in pleasant but primitive surroundings. No-one was likely to speak of “cultural Read more

Salmela Art Centre, Mäntyharju

6 June 2020 - 9 August 2020

Forming one of Finland’s largest cultural events as a whole, this multi-arts programme incorporates exhibitions of Finnish contemporary art and concerts. The Centre also incorporates the operations of Vuohijärvi Nature and Culture Centre in Kouvola. The programme in 2020 will also include the fifth Salmela visual art competition for young people, with the winning entries selected over the summer. Salmela Art Centre and Vuohijärvi Nature and Culture Centre will be open from 11.00 to 18.00 every day between 6 June and 9 August 2020.

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Spelit, Folk and Games in South Ostrobothnia, Ilmajoki

31 July 2020 - 2 August 2020

Our 49th Spelit folk music event will be organised on the premises of South Ostrobothnia Folk High School (including venues and accommodation services) and in the scenic natural surroundings of Ilmajoki, featuring more than 20 concerts of folk music, dance and singing, dozens of smaller musical events and performances, the Finnish championships for harmonica and mandolin players, and the Spelit competition for one and two-row accordions.

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Kimito Island Music Festival

6 July 2020 - 12 July 2020

Leading artists have been providing unique experiences for our audiences in the splendid cultural landscapes of Southwest Finland since 1999, with programmes ranging from familiar classics to the very latest chamber music performed in intimate manor houses and churches.

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Turku Jazz Festival

5 March 2020 - 8 March 2020

This splendid festival has been entertaining with top quality jazz since 1969. The programme will include currently headlining Finnish artists, the most interesting international names and emerging local talent. Concerts will take place in the outdoor venues and clubs of the city centre.

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Ilmajoki Music Festival

4 June 2020 - 14 June 2020

In 2020 we shall premiere Hiljaiset perivät maan (the meek shall inherit the earth), a new Finnish opera on the radical Lapua Movement of the early 1930s, composed by Jukka Linkola, with libretto and direction by Tuomas Parkkinen. Leading performers will include Ville Rusanen, Saara Kiiveri, Taneli Mäkelä, Essi Luttinen, Mari Palo and Jaakko Kortekangas. Hiljaiset perivät maan is a rousing love story set at a time of rough justice, when black wagons brought fear to the plains and the Lapua Movement shattered the village communities of Ostrobothnia. The festival programme will also include a wide range of concerts.

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Lahti International Organ Festival

3 August 2020 - 9 August 2020

Providing organ music experiences since 1973, this annual specialised event provides numerous opportunities to hear Finnish and international organists, orchestras and choirs. The organ serves as an instrument of several musical genres over the festival week, which also incorporates films, opera, dance and various experimental art forms into the organ music programme.

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Mikkeli Music Festival

4 July 2020 - 12 July 2020

Master conductor Valeri Gergijev will once again bring the world famous St. Petersburg Mariinski Theatre Orchestra and soloists to Mikkeli next summer. Initially organised as an intimate chamber music celebration in 1992, our festival has grown into one of the leading classical music events of the Finnish cultural summer.

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Baltic Jazz, Taalintehdas

3 July 2020 - 5 July 2020

Founded in 1987, this swinging music festival is always arranged for the first weekend of July when the summer is at its most glorious. Though growing over the years, Baltic Jazz has always managed to preserve its original cordiality and elevated mood with a balanced blend of classical jazz, blues and rock music in the unique old ironworks milieu of Taalintehdas. Baltic Jazz is part of the Archipelago Sea Jazz festival series.

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Tampere Jazz Happening

29 October 2020 - 1 November 2020

Every year our carefully compiled programme brings together the top names in modern jazz and the pathfinders of the future for a four-day event that is renowned for its warm atmosphere and broadminded appreciation of contemporary jazz. Visitors should be prepared to experience high profile Finnish and international artists and forceful club gigs until the small hours.

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SottiisiMoves, Tampere

10 June 2020 - 14 June 2020

The largest dance event in the Nordic countries will bring 2500 dancers to Tampere. SottiisiMoves 2020 will combine the national Young Culture Moves dance review and the international folk dance and music festival Pispala Schottische into a grand celebration of styles and playmaker encounters open to everyone with an interest in dance and folk music. Pispala Schottische and the Youth Art Event have been arranged since 1970, and so 2020 marks the golden jubilee for both of these regular celebrations. SottiisiMoves 2020 will be organised by the Finnish Youth Association.

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Jyväskylä Festival

1 July 2020 - 7 July 2020

Throughout its 65-year history, this multi-arts urban festival has always sought to remain a few steps ahead of its time and to experiment with new ideas. Our theme in 2020 will be the environment, enabling us to reprise and reassess similar topics that we examined half a century ago in the great environmental year of 1970.

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2 April 2013

Finland Festivals brings together the finest festival experiences in Finland, providing music for all tastes, together with the most fascinating dance, theatre, literature, visual art, film and children’s cultural events. Finland Festivals is a non-profit organisation that serves the culture Read more


22 March 2013

Festival Fever – A short history of Finnish festivals from the early ages till 1990s Text: Kaija and Markku Valkonen, 1994 Translated by Timothy Binham Edited by Kai Amberla and Minna Salonranta, 2013 1. The beginnings 2. From blissful backwater Read more

17. The joyful festival visitor

If design was Finland’s ambassador in the ‘50s, it was now replaced by the summer cavalcade of festivals. To be sure, our music festivals were not particularly unusual; there were many similar, much older events in Europe. What was exceptional Read more

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