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Helsinki, also called 'Helsingfors', has been the Finnish capital since 1812. The city is the cultural capital of the country, and it was named the 'European Capital of Culture' in 2000. It hosts many world-renowned events and festivals like the Flow Festival, World Village Festival, Helsinki International Film Festival, Helsinki Pride, etc.
People from all over the world come together to celebrate these exciting festivals and explore this Nordic city. Look at some of the city's most recommended music events and art festivals.
Helsinki Festival (Swedish: Helsingfors festspel) is an annual event in August that celebrates music, dance, theatre and visual arts. Finnish artists and international performers enthusiastically participate in this festival. People come to Helsinki to enjoy this lively festival. Concerts, movies, circus, music, opera and various entertainment forms await all participants. Main concerts take place at a tent called Huvila Festival tent, which is built every time, and theatrical performances are held in the Korjaamo Culture factory in Töölö in Helsinki.
One of Finland's biggest festivals, Walpurgis Night (Swedish: Vappen/ Saint Walpurgis Night/ Saint Walpurga's Eve), is a carnival-like festival celebrated in cities and towns of Finland. The celebration starts on the evening of 30 April and continues on 1 May. This annual spring event encourages bountiful picnics in parks with food and the unrestrained usage of alcohol and sparkling wine!
Finland's independence from Russia is celebrated on 6 December. Independence Day (Swedish: självständighetsdagen) is a flag-flying day and national holiday. The festivities start with raising the flag, continuing with a religious service at the Helsinki Cathedral, visiting the WWII Memorial, and a military parade. In the evening, the telecast of the gala reception at the Presidential Palace, known as Linnan juhlat for special invitees, includes politicians, dignitaries, bishops, diplomats, and celebrities.
Midsummer or Juhannus in Finnish is when the shortest night of the year occurs, and the longest day is ahead celebrated between 20 June and 26 June. It is celebrated in commemoration of St. John. Midsummer centres upon the period of the summer solstice when locals retreat to their summer houses and burn large bonfires at lakesides and by the sea. Swedish descent put up poles embellished with ribbons and flowers. An important feature of midsummer is the white night and the midnight sun because of the country's geographical location. Also, music festivals are organised on weekends. The national flag is hoisted at 6 pm and flown until 9 pm of the following evening.
Helsinki Festival (Swedish: Helsingfors festspel) is celebrated for 17 days from late August to early September. It is an annual celebration of music, dance, theatre and visual arts is participated by Finnish artists and international performers. As Finland's grandest event, the Helsinki Festival experiences tourism overflow where visitors and locals alike enjoy the jolly atmosphere while the festival. The air of mixed cultural expression and modern spirit of youth is evident all over Helsinki. Concerts, jazz, pop music, opera and various entertainment forms await all participants.
Address: Lasipalatsi, Mannerheimintie 22-24, FI-00100 Helsinki, Finland
Tel.: +358 9 61265100
One of Finland's biggest festivals, the Walpurgis Night or Vappu, is a carnival-like festival, celebrated on 30 April or May 1. Observed exactly six months from All Hallows' Eve, this annual spring event encourages bountiful picnics with the unrestrained usage of alcohol and sparkling wine!
Address: along the city streets of Finland
Finland's independence from Russia is celebrated on December 6. The Independence Day (Swedish: självständighetsdagen) is a flag day and national public holiday. The festivities start off with the raising of the flag in Helsinki, continuing with a religious service at the Helsinki Cathedral, visits to the WWII Memorial, and the telecast of the gala reception at the Presidential Palace known as Linnan juhlat. No more than 2000 selected guests are invited to this event. These include politicians, dignitaries, members of Parliament and Government, bishops, high-ranking officials, diplomats, and the president's own choosing which usually consists of celebrities, athletes, icons or anyone who made a mark that year.
Midsummer or Juhannus in Finnish is when the shortest night of the year occurs and the longest day is ahead celebrated between June 20th - June 26th. Celebrated in commemoration of St. John, Midsummer centres upon the period of the summer solstice when locals retreat to their summer houses and burn large bonfires. Those of Swedish descent put up poles embellished with ribbons and flowers. This tradition is one of Finland's most important events. It is also Finland's National Flag Day.
Address: at lakesides and by the sea
The Flow Festival (simply called Flow) is celebrated in August and takes place at a defunct Suvilahti power plant and its industrial surroundings in Helsinki. It is a popular art and music festival where almost all kinds of music, from rock to jazz are presented. Apart from performances of notable and emerging artists, visitors get to enjoy film screenings, visual arts, talk shows, design events, as well as food and drinks.
Address: Vilhonvuorenkatu 11 B 11, 00500 Helsinki, Finland
World Village Festival (Swedish: Världen i byn) is a music and cultural festival held every year in May and is visited by thousands of people. Started in 1995, the festival is free for everybody and presents arts and culture from all over the world. Visitors can enjoy dance performances, concerts, theatre and literature, as well as food from different parts of the world.
The Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy (Finnish: Rakkautta & Anarkiaa) is a film festival named after the film Love and Anarchy by Lina Wertmüller. It is held in September every year and is one of the biggest festivals of its kind. The festival endorses the art of filmmaking and celebrates all kinds of films, including controversial films that are usually not displayed.
The Helsinki Samba Carnaval is organised by the Finland Samba Schools Association (SSKL) and is one of the most-awaited events in the city. The event, inspired by the Brazilian carnival, takes place on weekends in June. The streets are filled with generously dressed samba dancers from the samba schools during the carnival. Locals, as well as tourists, gather on the streets to watch the festivities.
The Assembly is one of the most popular gaming events in Finland. The Summer event takes place between late July and early August, and the Winter event in January or February. Established in 1992 by Amiga demo groups Complex and Rebels and the PC demo group Future Crew, this festival includes numerous competitions. These events are a result of the joint efforts of enthusiastic volunteers.
The Animatricks is the biggest animation festival held in Helsinki every year in April. This is a unique festival in the country that focuses solely on animated films. Finnish as well as international films are showcased here. This festival also facilitates a meeting point for animation professionals, artists and fans. Various competitions are organised, and the winners are awarded.
Organised in November, the Baltic Circle Festival is an international contemporary theatre festival that was started in the year 2000. This festival takes place in theatres and at different venues in the city. Baltic Circle is a platform for nurturing innovative ideas and trends. It also organises workshops, seminars, training programs, discussions etc. The festival mainly strives to bring together artists from the Baltic and Nordic countries.
Commonly known as Tuska is a Finnish heavy metal festival started in 2001. It is celebrated in June or July every year. Since 2011, the festival has been organised at the Suvilahti event field in the Kalasatama, Sörnäinen district. It is a popular music festival where music lovers come together and enjoy notable artists' performances at three stages: Inferno, Helsinki and Radio Rock Main Stage.
True to its name, 'Funky Elephant' is a jazzy springtime music festival that takes place every year in Helsinki. Visitors come to enjoy a variety of musical genres over here; however, the black rhythm music style is the predominant one. Established in 1994, this festival included genres like soul, funk, jazz, Hip hop, Latin, reggae, afrobeat, etc. The festival is organised at the Tavastia Club, and many well-known artists have performed here.
The Helsinki Comics Festival is the biggest comics event in northern Europe. Held at the beginning of September, this festival has been organised by the Finnish Comics Society since 1979. The events related to the festival consist of exhibitions, competitions, presentations, comic guests, discussions, lectures, children's activities and many more.
Celebrated in the last week of June, the Helsinki Pride is the largest LGBT pride event in Helsinki, Finland. The event, celebrated for a week, includes workshops, discussions, meetings, art fairs and parties. Rainbow-coloured programs are organised, of which Saturday's Pride parade is the most significant event. Entertaining events and programs are also organised in the gay nightclubs of Helsinki.
IHME Helsinki (formerly IHME Contemporary Art Festival) is an art organisation managed by the Pro Arte Foundation Finland. It consists of art-related events like discussions, lectures, workshops and educational art projects. IHME aims to promote eco-social education on many levels. Due to the revised structure, the programs and events are organised all year round.
Summer Sound Festival is an electronic music festival held in Helsinki, Finland and has mesmerised the audience since 2012. This two-day Helsinki festival brings people together to experience performances by international and local electronic music artists.
The Helsinki Beer Festival presents beers, ciders and drinks from around 30 Finnish microbreweries as well as many foreign brewers. Visitors enjoy a variety of beers, ciders, ales, food, live music and entertainment programs. The festival has a different theme every year.
The Helsinki Coffee Festival is an event arranged especially for coffee lovers and professionals. This is the largest coffee festival in the Nordics, where different types of coffee from around the world can be tasted. Tea is also displayed in the event as a natural pairing for coffee.