A guide to jazz, world and folk music festivals 2016

It's that time of the year again! As the sun stops setting, Finnish festivals begin to bloom in every valley and village. If you're looking for Finnish summer festivals, here's a handy guide for jazz, world and folk festivals we highly recommend. 



Pori Jazz, 9.–17.7., Pori

Since 1966 Pori Jazz has established itself as one of the cornerstones of Finnish festivals. With a variety of jazz and popular music, the festival gathers up to 160 000 attendees annually. In 2016 Finnish jazz highlights include Aki Rissanen Trio, Tenors of Kalma, Teemu Viinikainen III, Jukka Eskola Soul Trio, Pauli Lyytinen Machinery and Kalle Kalima’s Long Winding Road, while international acts feature artists like DeJohnette – Coltrane – Garrison and Steve Coleman & Five Elements.

Raahen Rantajatsit, 28.–30.7., Raahe

The diverse program of Rantajatsit 2016 includes Finnish top names and an interesting setting of international signings and promising newcomers, including Mikko Innanen 10+, Timo Lassy Band and Pauli Lyytinen Magnetia Orchestra.


Turku Jazz Festival, 18.–21.8. Turku

Finland’s second oldest jazz festival takes over the park of the brewery restaurant Koulu in August. The programme features Dalindéo, Jukka Perko Hurmio 2.0, Turku Jazz Orchestra & Teemu Viinikainen, Olli Ahvenlahti & Bowman Trio, Aura Flow and many more. 

Viapori Jazz, 23.–27.8. Helsinki

Held during Helsinki Festival (see below), Viapori Jazz takes place on the UNESCO world heritage site Suomenlinna, which is a fortress island just outside Helsinki. Artists performing at the event include Jukka Perko, Verneri Pohjola, Sid Hille, Dalindèo and Jukka Eskola Soul Trio.

World and folk music


World Village Festival 28.-29.5., Helsinki

Since 1995 World Village Festival has established itself as one of the largest free festivals for the whole family. World Village’s programme offers a wide variety of music, circus, dance, theatre, art, panel discussions and other activities. The programme includes international acts like BombinoAsian Dub Foundation, Idiotape, Alo Wala, Tulegur and Finnish artists like Teho Majamäki & Travelogue Ensemble, Scandinavian Music Group as well as ES-OW and The Ridial Band, whose members come from Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Spain and Finland.


Haapavesi Folk Music Festival, 27.6.–2.7., Haapavesi

Haapavesi Folk Music Festival is an international music festival, which consists of a five days long folk music course followed by the actual folk music festival spanning five days. This year the large lineup consists of acts like Johanna Juhola & Imaginary Friends, Maija Kauhanen, Arnold Chiwalala, Okra Playground, Shava and Piia Kleemola & Juha-Matti Kurra.

Sommelo, 27.6.–3.7., Kuhmo

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 Arto Järvelä, Aallotar, Sväng, Maarja Nuut and Suistamon Sähkö, to film Sijaton Sielu which is shown with a live music performance by Anne-Mari Kivimäki.

Sata-Häme Soi, 30.6.–5.7., Ikaalinen

Every summer the idyllic centre of Old Town Ikaalinen is filled with musicians and friends of accordion music. The festival Sata-Häme Soi is well known for The Golden Accordion, the competition for the Finnish Championship of entertainment accordion music and Primus Ikaalinen International Accordion Competition. In addition to the accordion programme, artists like Susanna Haavisto & Anna-Mari Kähärä perform at the event.


Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat, 6.–10.7., Seinäjoki

To be able to fully experience and understand the Finnish tango phenomenon, a visit to Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat is a necessity. During the festival Seinäjoki is filled with concerts, dancers, major Finnish artists and dance contests.

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, 11.-17.07., Kaustinen

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival’s versatile programme consists, as always, of a myriad of amateur folk musicians, best professional folk musicians in the country, highly interesting international world music names and singer-songwriters from the top of the radio waves. Highlights include Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha, Ale Carr & Esko Järvelä duo and Vilma Timonen Quartet. The band of the year is Piirpauke.

Jyväskylä Festival, 12.–17.7., Jyväskylä

Jyväskylä Festival (Jyväskylän Kesä in Finnish) is a city festival held in central Finland, in the small student town of Jyväskylä. This year groups like Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L, Guardia Nueva and Joonas Widenius represent the world and folk music category at the event.


Ijahis Idja, 19.–21.8., Inari

Ijahis Idja is the only music festival held in Finland that concentrates on Sámi music. The annual festival, which takes place on mid August, consists of workshops, seminars and concerts with guest performers from Sámi and other indigenous backgrounds. Confirmed acts for this year’s festival are YLVA, Ágy and Sofia Jannok. The whole programme will be published in June.

Helsinki Festival, 19.8.–4.9., Helsinki

Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland, which serves as the perfect closure for the festival summer. The programme line-up features classical and world – as well as popular – music, circus, dance, theatre, a children’s programme, cinema and a range of urban events. International highlights are Anoushka Shankar, Teresa Salgueiro, Mbongwana Star and Afro Celt Sound System.