A guide to Finnish summer festivals 2019

Summer is already looming despite the chilly weather, so it's time to draw out your calendars, because the rich and dense festival season is around the corner! We picked 30 interesting Finnish summer festivals here, see more below.

June

Naantali Music Festival, 4–15 June

Naantali Music Festival celebrates its 40th year with several world première performances, impressive orchestral visits and leading international musicians.  At this year’s 39th Naantali Music Festival concert venues in Naantali, Rymättylä, Raisio and Seili Island welcome some of the world’s leading musicians to perform. Programme highlights include premiere of Olli Kortekangas’ Concerto for Violin, Clarinet and Orchestra by Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä, The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jaakko Kuusisto with the premiere of the conductor’s Cello Concerto as well as two performances by cello metal band Apocalyptica.

Silence festival, 6–10 June

Silence festival gathers the most interesting performances and artists from Finland and abroad to Lapland. The multidisciplinary program of art and culture is spread in and around the small village of Kaukonen. This year’s highlights on the music programme include commissioned piece made by drummer Olavi Louhivuori and acrobat Emile Pineault, Greenlandic electronic artist Uyarakq, Elifantree and Quantum Tangle.

Sideways, 6–8 June

Sideways is the largest early summer indie festival in Finland, with 75 live acts showcasing the most interesting Finnish and international indie acts. In addition the festival consists of entertaining sideshows from "animal karaoke" to trivia competitions and 80’s arcade games to drag shows. This year’s most interesting artists include Low, Danny Brown, Suede, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Tim Hecker & Konoyo Ensemble and Finnish acts like Waste of Space Orchestra (world exclusive show!), Jaakko Eino Kalevi, The Holy, Ernie Hawks & The Soul Investigators and Circle.

Rockfest, 7–9 June

Put you classic rock / metal boots on and head towards Hyvinkää Airfield, located mere 50 kilometers from Helsinki. With a lineup of 70s and 80s legends such as Kiss, Def Leppard and Rainbow, supplemented by more recent favorites like Slipknot, In Flames, Dream Theater, Disturbed and Ugly Kid Joe, along with a long line of local greats like Lordi, The 69 Eyes, Temple Balls, Stam1na, Blind Channel, Santa Cruz and Mokoma, Rockfest is sure to cater to all your rocking needs.

Nummirock, 19–22 June

For fans of heavier music spending the weekend of midsummer festivities at Nummirock has become a tradition. In 2019 the lineup features artists like Children of Bodom, Cradle of Filth, Soilwork, Battle Beast and Decapitated to name a few.  

XXXIV Summer Sounds, 26–30 June

The theme for Avanti! Summer Sounds XXXIV is City of Music, during which the music will enter the streets and cafés of Porvoo. Programme highlights include Finland’s premiere of Teoton composed by Jukka Tiensuu for sheng artist Wu Wei and The Avanti! viola da gamba ensemble together with tenor Taavi Oramo, who will perform songs from the 16th and 17th century Europe composed by, among others, the king Henrik VIII, Henry Purcell, Matthew Locke and Ludwig Senfl

Sommelo, 26 June–1 July

You can’t find a festival like Sommelo easily: held on both sides of the Finnish-Russian border, in the historical landscape of Kainuu and Viena Karelia. The festivals offers a versatile selection of traditional and modern folk music, ranging from Värttinä to Vassvik, Solju, Hivshu & Mirja Palo.

Haapavesi Folk Music Festival, 27–29 June

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, with artists like Maria Kalaniemi & Eero GrundströmAnna Murtola, Suistamon Sähkö, Joonas Haavisto Trio, Korpiklaani and OK:KO on the large lineup. The artistic director for this year is Teija Niku

Provinssi, 27–29 June

Provinssi is one of Finland’s largest rock festivals. This year the international artists include acts like Bring Me the Horizon, Macklemore, Limp Bizkit, Cult of Luna,  and Cypress Hill. There’s also a wide range of Finland’s biggest artists performing, such as Alma, JVG, Amorphis and Ville Valo & Agents as well as the most interesting new artists –like Beast in Black, Lac Belot and Ruusut to name a few.

Tuska Festival, 28–30 June

During its existence of over two decades Tuska has become one of the largest metal festivals in the Nordics. This year bands like Slayer, Opeth, Anthrax, Amorphis, Power Trip and The Hellacopters are among the lineup of the three day festival.  

 

July

 

Time of Music, 2–7 July

Time of Music (Musiikin aika) Festival is organized in the beginning of July every year in Viitasaari, Central Finland. Time of Music focuses on cutting-edge contemporary music, and hosts the most important composers and artists of the field yearly, gaining an international reputation as a courageous, border-breaking and innovative event. In 2019 the theme of the festival is “The Grammar of Light”, dwelling on themes linked in music to light and its metaphysic and existential layers bordering on the sacred and mystic, which are central to composers Kaija Saariaho and Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose works will be performed at the festival.

Ruisrock, 5–7 July 

The oldest rock festival in Finland, and the second oldest continuously running rock festival in Europe, located in Ruissalo Park, Turku, has successfully gravitated towards mainstream electronic, hip hop and pop audiences in the past years. In 2019 Ruisrock’s programme features international stars like Travis Scott, Ellie Goulding and Brockhampton, complemented with domestic acts Alma, Ville Valo & Agents, JVG and Robin Packalen.

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, 8–14 July

Established in 1968, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is the largest folk music festival in the Nordic countries. Among the hundreds of acts that perform during the festival week in Kaustinen are Vildá, Antti Paalanen, ENKEL and Tsuumi Sound System.

Ilosaarirock, 12–14 July

Ilosaarirock Festival is held in the city of Joensuu in eastern Finland. The long-running festival is a favorite for Finnish music lovers, selling out every year. This summer, the program consists of international artists like The Chainsmokers and DJ Snake, along with domestics favorites such as Sunrise Avenue, Swallow the Sun, Alma, Lxandra and Turmion Kätilöt.

 

Pori Jazz, 18–20 July

Finland’s oldest jazz festival is known to dig deep also in genres way beyond jazz. This year the line up includes headlining rock legends Toto and Stray Cats, pop megastar Christina Aguilera, legendary jazz, soul and world music performers such as Archie Shepp, Ron Carter, Cymande, Angélique Kidjo, Antibalas and Betty Wright along modern jazz and soul like Melody Gardot, Mahalia, Ibibio Sound System and José James. Finnish acts include pop phenomenon Alma, soul singer Ina Forsman, grimy folkers Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L, local hero J. Karjalainen as well as jazzers Timo Lassy & Ricky-Tick Big Band Brass, Mopo, OK:KO and the brand new supergroup Superposition!.

Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, 14–27 July

In less than 50 years, Kuhmo Chamber Music has grown to become one of the world's foremost classical music festivals. For a fortnight chamber music takes over the streets of Kuhmo, as over a hundred musicians perform at dozens of concerts.

Almost 170 artists appear at the festival, including names such as pianists Natacha Kudritskaya and Nino Gvetadze, violinists Daniel Rowland, Nikita Boriso-Glebsky and Jean-Jacques Kantorow, clarinettists Christoffer Sundqvist and Lauri Sallinen, and virtuoso bandoneonist Marcelo Nisinman. Seven string quartets will be playing, including the Danel and Meta4 Quartets. The program at Kuhmo this year includes an new work by Juha T. Koskinen, as well as music by Magnus Lindberg, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Vivaldi and Piazzolla.

Uusi Tampere, 19-20 July

An urban festival in the city of Tampere, Uusi Tampere will have its third incarnation this summer. Located in an old industrial area, the festival will showcase some of the most interesting names in Finnish indie music today: Jesse Markin, Death Hawks, Aavikko, Vasas Flora & Fauna, Ruusut, New Ro, Lac Belot, Maustetytöt, Exploited Body, Pass and many more.

Weekend, 19–20 July

Year by year, Finland’s most well-known EDM festival branches out to include more rap and pop acts. This year’s line-up covers EDM acts such as Swedish House Mafia, Robin Schultz, Alan Walker, Armin Van Buuren and Afrojack along with rap heavyweights like $uicideboy$, Lil Uzi Vert and Gunna and even indie poppers Bastille. The festival’s long line of Finnish acts include JS 16, Onni Boi, Proteus, Detalji, Blind Channel and Jesse Markin.


Our Festival, 28 July–3 August 

Our Festival (in Finnish: Meidän Festivaali) is renowned for its fresh approach to the arts and its crossover events. With a brand new artistic director, the string quartet Kamus, the event seeks new perspectives on musical encounters and concert practices, with a view to giving the audience an experience that is simply not available elsewhere. The theme for this year is change, and the wide lineup features musicians such as Pekka Kuusisto, Tuomo Prättälä, Malin Broman, John Storgårds and of course Kamus Quartet .

 

Raahe Jazz on the Beach Festival, 25–27 July

Raahe Jazz on the Beach Festival, with over three decades if history, is an intimate and modern outdoor jazz festival in the idyllic, old wooden seaside town Raahe in Northern Finland. The line-up includes  Ylva Haru, Sole Azul with Jaakko Laitinen, Hot Heros, Litku Klemetti, Bowman Trio, Naïssam Jalal, Three Days of Forest (FR), Linear John, Kaisa’s Machine and more.

 

Ilmiö, 27 July

In late July Fans of the experimental and underground music scene gather to Ilmiö. The festival is held in an intimate environment at an old dance pavillion by the sea and its multi-disciplinary programme consists of acts such as Karina, Tuomas Palonen, Anne-Mari Kivimäki & Palomylly, Penelope Isles (UK), Vanishing Twin (UK) and German kraut/cosmic legend Michael Rother (NEU, Harmonia).


August


BRQ Vantaa Festival, 5–11 August 

The old parish church of St Lawrence’s historical environment is at the heart of the unique BRQ Vantaa Festival, which showcases baroque music and period instruments while also including musical works from other eras. Leading artists will have special emphasis on works not previously heard in Finland.  

Turku Music Festival, 8–22 August

This year Turku Music Festival (Turun musiikkijuhlat) celebrates its 60th birthday, with Conductor Klaus Mäkelä programming the festival for the first time. The Festival lineup includes more than 40 concerts and other events. As always, performers include international stars such as soprano Nadine Sierra and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, orchestras from abroad such as Concerto Köln and the Mariinsky Orchestra from St Petersburg under Valeri Gergiev – both of the above from cities twinned with Turku – and young Finnish and foreign talent such as composer-in-residence Sauli Zinovjev and artist-in-residence Sergey Malov


Oulunsalo Soi, 8–11 August 

Oulunsalo Soi Festival hosts a variety of concerts in Oulu and its surroundings, with a strong focus on Baroque music. The festival's new artistic director is violinist Kreeta-Maria Kentala. This year’s line-up includes artists, musicians and groups such as harmonica band Sväng, pianist Joonas AhonenBarocco Boreale (‘northern Baroque’), traverso players Pekka Elsilä and Pauliina Fred as well as Kreeta-Maria Kentala herself.


Flow Festival, 9-11 August

One of Finland’s best known festivals internationally, Flow Festival provides music from pop and rock music mainstays to newcomers in genres ranging from r&b to indie, techno, hip hop and experimental music. All this is served in a monumental architectural site with exquisite light design and decorations, along with a magnificent choice of world spanning cuisine right in the midst of Helsinki. This year the line-up boasts with international acts such as The Cure, Tame Impala, Cardi B, Stereolab, Erykah Bady, Mitski, Robyn, Father John Misty and Tove Lo, as well as local greats like Alma, Amnesia Scanner, Suad, The Holy, Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Jesse Markin, Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen, Katu Kaiku, Astrid Swan & Stina Koistinen with Owen Pallett, Elifantree as well as legendary HIM vocalist Ville Valo with an even more legendary Finnish surf/beat/rock’n’roll band, Agents. 

Ijahis Idja, 16-17 August 

Ijahis idja is the most important gathering and meeting point for the Sámi people in Finland.  The festival presents the wide range of Sámi arts, with the synth-based modern Sámi pop trio ISÁK and genre-bending trailblazer Mari Boine headlining this year. In addition, the program consists of sports competitions and handcrafts market and other side events.

Blockfest, 16–17 August

Blockfest is the biggest hip hop festival in the whole Nordic area, which has since 2008 gathered countless international rap royalties and local favorites to the city Tampere. This year’s line-up includes US hip hop stars such as A$AP Rocky, G Eazy, Juice Wrld, Jaden Smith, Tyga, Saweetie and Ghostemane along with all the biggest names in ”suomirap” – Finnish rap, that is.

Helsinki Festival, 15 August–1 September

Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland. The program consists 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, Arnold Schönberg’s Gurrelieder by Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, Max Richter’s eight-hour masterpiece Sleep and Walter Sallinen’s experimental sound work UXO. On the bill there are also pop and rock acts like Anna Calvi, Ellips, Asgeir, Courtney Barnett and Yola, as well as soul and funk artists like Orgone, Nicole Willis and Lizz Wright with UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. And on top of that you have the world music sounds of Benin International Musical and Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble, the Finnish all-female hip hop collective Dreamgirls and crossover acts such as Stargaze and Anna Meredith. Not to forget dance, theater, film, visual arts and children’s culture.