A guide to world and folk music festivals summer 2015

The upcoming Finnish festival season offers plenty of opportunities to hear almost any kind of music imaginable. We compiled a list of essential world and folk music festivals that take over cities and villages all around Finland during the three months of summer.


World Village Festival 23.-24.5.

Started in 1995, World Village Festival is a free event for the whole family. The regional focus on this year’s programme is on Africa and the Middle East. World Village offers world views and possibilities, as well as music, circus, dance, theatre, art and activities. The programme includes international acts like Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics, Aziza Brahim, Jaliba Kuyateh & Kumareh Band, Klezmofobia and Mashrou’ Leila as well as Finnish talent like UMO – Helsinki–­Cotonou, Tsuumi Sound System, Aurora and Pietarin spektaakkeli.


Haapavesi Folk Music Festival, 25.–27.6., Haapavesi

Haapavesi Folk Music Festival is an international music festival, where folk music is paired with atmospheric church concerts, jazz, children's music, dance and theatre. There are approximately 10 000 visitors enjoying folk music in Haapavesi every year. This year’s line up includes Finnish acts like Verneri Pohjola, Helsinki-Cotonou Enseble, Sväng, Ismo Alanko & Kimmo Pohjonen, and Risto & Pekko Käppi as well as international acts such as Söndörgö, Ukulelezaza and Navarra.

Sväng will perform at Haapavesi Folk Music Festival in June.


Jutajaiset, 24.-28.6. Rovaniemi

Jutajaiset Folklore Festival, which began in 1972 in Sodankylä and later moved to Rovaniemi in 1995, is a Lappish dance and music festival with a focus on both northern and international arts and culture. The festival programme includes artists like Semmarit, Ismo Alanko & Kimmo Pohjonen, Raj-Raj Band and Jord. 


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. This year’s programme includes local acts such as Tuure Kilpeläinen ja Kaihon Karavaani and international artists like Gil Goldstein who will perform with Iiro Rantala.

Sommelo, 1.–5.7., Kuhmo

This year the Sommelo Ethno Music Festival will celebrate its tenth anniversary in Kainuu and Viena Karelia in early July. Sommelo offers a versatile selection of traditional and modern folk music on both sides of the eastern border. On this year’s programme, Finnish legends Piirpauke will be performing their 40th anniversary concert. Also on the bill are J-P Piirainen, Martin Åkesson, Puhti, Jrai & Bahnar and Emilia Lajunen.

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, 07.-13.07. 2014, Kaustinen

Established in 1968, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is the largest folk music festival in the Nordic countries. Among the dozens of acts that perform during the festival week in Kaustinen are Baltic Crossing, Jaerv, J-P Piirainen, JPP, Paleface, Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L, and Kaustinen’s Band of the Year, Orivesi All Stars

Helsinki-Cotonou Enseble at Kaustinen 2013.


Jyväskylän Kesä, 7.–12.7., Jyväskylä

Jyväskylän kesä is an established city festival, held in the summery city of Jyväskylä. This year’s concert highlights are pianist Iiro Rantala’s and saxophonist Jukka Perko’s collaboration It Takes Two to Tango!, Ninni Poijärvi Trio, Johanna Försti and Johanna Iivanainen.

Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat, 8.–12.7., 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.


Etno-Espa, 10.–20.8., Helsinki

Etno-Espa is an event which focuses on contemporary Finnish folk music. The first event was held in 2005. The programme for this year’s event has not been published yet. Concerts take place on the Esplanade stage in the center of Helsinki on almost every weekday afternoon in August.

Ijahis Idja, 14.–16.8., 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. The theme of this year’s Ijahis Idja is ”melodies from the wild fells”. The programme will be published later in the summer.

Helsinki Festival, 14.–30.8., Helsinki

Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland, which serves as the perfect closure for the festival summer. In 2014, the festival had more than 230,000 visitors. 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. Festival highlights are Baobab Karavaani (Finnish singer-songwriter Tuure Kilpeläinen together with Senegalese band Baobab), Ismo Alanko and UMO Jazz Orchestra along with Hermeto Pascoal & Itibere Zwarg while international acts include Tanya Tagaq, Yasmine Hamdan and Steve Reich, who performs with Collin Currie Group and Avanti! plus many more.