Spring has more or less arrived in the Barents Region and soon we will be pushing towards summer and a busy festival season. In northern Finland there will be plenty on offer in 2017. What about the famous Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä, founded by the famous movie making Kaurismäki brothers? Or a month-long multi-arts festival in Oulu, or some jazz- and blues enjoyment in border-towns HaparandaTornio? It´s time to grab your calendar and fill in the festivals! We start with the Finnish part of the Barents Region.
In fact, the festival season kick-starts already in mid-april as the Hetta Music Festival in Enontekiö in the north of Finnish Lapland is to be held during six days, leading up to the finale on Easter Sunday. This is a classical music event where top notch Finnish pro´s perform in churches and wilderness huts (!). So if you´re into Mozart, Schubert or Sibelius you will most likely enjoy this.
During the month of May northerners must travel a bit south of the Barents Region in order to find some good festival feeling: the Vaasa Choir Festival is a five day event commencing on the 24th of May.
The hectic festival season really kicks off in June. The Midnight Sun Film Festival runs from 14th to 18th as midsummer approaches. This unique feast is an annual event for both film makers and the movie-loving audience. Initially formed by the renowned motion picture makers, and brothers, Aki and Mika Kaurismäki and director/film historian Peter von Bagh, it is now in its 30th season. The festival hosts leading international and Finnish directors and their works in summery landscapes, when the midnight sun never sets.
The International Kalottjazz & Blues Festival is a tale of two cities, and indeed two countries. Taking place from June 30th to July 1st on the Finnish/Swedish border towns of Tornio and Haparanda. The cultures of these two nations will launch a programme of jazz and blues, this year mainly located around the Aine Art Museum in Tornio. The festival was born way back in 1983.
Haapavesi Folk Music Festival is a annual summer event, this year running from June 26th to July 1st. Haapavesi is situated south of Oulu, and the festival include of a five-day long folk music course, followed by the actual folk music festival, which will go on for four- five days.
The main part of the artists are Finnish, but international artists from around the globe are included in the programme each year.
The Sommelo Ethno Music Festival is to be held in the town of Kuhmo (between Kajani and the Russian border) on June 28th to July 2nd. It is an international music festival arranged, not only here in the area of Kainuu, but also in Russian Karelia near the White Sea, the cradle of most runo singing and other forms of folk music. The event consists of concerts, courses, conferences, art exhibitions and other attractions for all ages.
Kuhmo also hosts the famous Chamber Music Festival in July. From the 9th to the 22nd a quality festival programme will offer concerts in ”beautiful surroundings and sunlit nights that will open the senses to new and sublime delights”, as the organizers write in their programme.
Words and Music in Kajaani from July 5th to July 9th is a literary event. It brings about Finland’s longest-running and largest festival dedicated to poetry, recitation and small-scale theatre for all ages. ”The multi arts programme of performances, author encounters and debates is surprising, entertaining and highly topical” as stated by the organizers.
A dance festival south of Oulu in the beautiful landscapes of Pyhäjärvi is the stage for the highest standard of Finnish and international contemporary dance. The Full Moon Dance Festival happens in July, 23rd to 26th. Programmes will also include dance courses, workshops and discussion events.
Oulu August Festival starts on the first day of the month, and finishes in early September! The period will be absolutely crammed with music, literature, films and cultural experiences of all sorts. The happening is a bundle of eight festivals and many fringe events, with locals and quality international guests performing in concert halls, restaurants and cafés, churches, libraries and galleries, parks, streets and city squares of Oulu and the surrounding districts.
Luosto Classic Festival between 10th August and 13th is a borderless classical music event with many a skilful artist visiting Finnish Lapland. Apart from the unique natural amphitheatres at Aittakuru, Ahvenlampi and Ukko-Luosto, music lovers can experience classy music in meditative indoor concerts at Pyhä-Luosto and Sodankylä.
The Simerock is once again returning to Rovaniemi and the venue is Ounaspaviljonki for this rock fest that originates from the year of 2002. In our year of 2017, it will be going down on the 11th and 12th of August. Two days that certainly will rock the foundations of the Lapland city of Rovaniemi.
A perhaps more unusual festival is to be arranged in September at Kuusamo near the Russian border: The Kuusamo Nature Photo Festival is an internationally recognized event including film and exhibitions that will gather nature photographers and fans of nature photo in this small town in the east of Finland. Dates: September 7th to 10th.
While on the subject we like to mention Nightless Night Endless Light Photography Workshop in Saariselkä-Inari, north Lapland. The event takes the participants through the guidelines and hands-on workshops towards the finale of the event, the Nightless Night Photo Marathon. Dates are June 30th-July 2nd, 2017.