Tuska Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year from June 30 to July 2.


This year is a special one for Tuska Open Air Metal Festival as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. A beloved staple of the festival summer for many visitors from all over the world, Tuska has brought a heavy mix of metal to Helsinki for two decades and this year is no different. Taking place once again at Suvilahti, Finnish and international metal acts will deliver a weekend filled with music from Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2.

Friday kicks off with the Finnish band Rotten Sound on the Väkevä Tent Stage, where later on acts such as Insomnium and Mayhem will perform. Highlights on the Radio Rock Main Stage for Friday include Wintersun, Suicidal Tendencies, the Devin Townsend Project and headliners Sabaton. As usual, the indoor venue Inferno Stage brings some different and more extreme tunes to the festival: Finnish Baptism will unleash black metal, while jouhikko (bowed lyre) player Pekko Käppi will break the metal frame with his electronic and rocky folk tunes. At Somusalistage, 100 lucky festivalgoers will get the chance to experience an intimate solo acoustic concert with Anneke van Giersbergen.

Saturday is also packed with heavy hitters like Impaled Nazarene, the freshly reunited Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus, as well as Soilwork, Lost Society, Triptykon, Electric Wizard and Amorphis. The Inferno Stage’s lineup for Saturday is curated by the founding members of legendary Finnish metal magazine and think tank Suomi Finland Perkele Tony Taleva and Pasi Kuokkanen, bringing acts such as Alabama Kush, Sleep of Monsters and Fear of Domination to the stage. Headliners of the night are the legendary Finnish band HIM, who recently announced that 2017 would be the final year of a career that has lasted over a quarter of a century, making Tuska one of the last chances to see them live.

On Sunday, Dirkschneider, Battle Beast, Baroness, Apocalpytica, Oranssi Pazuzu and Sonata Arctica (among others) will be sure to keep the energy high for the last day of the festival, with headliners Mastodon later closing out the 20th Tuska festival. Of course, the official festival days are followed by the after-parties, where bands like Barren Earth and Blind Channel will keep the night going at Virgin Oil Co.

As is right and proper for an anniversary celebration, there are many specials surrounding the festival. The Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), Tuska Festival and Tiketti Galleria will present exhibitions by Finnish rock photographer Ville Juurikkala, who documents HIM embarking on their farewell tour at HAM (15.6.-3.7.) and a wider selection of his work with other Finnish rock and metal artists at Tiketti Galleria (2.6.-2.7.).

To celebrate the special occasion, jewelry designer Heidi Vornan also designed a silver Tuska Festival Anniversary Collection, which includes earrings, necklaces and even a choker made from reindeer skin. The metal yoga event ‘Musta Jooga Goes Tuska’ is happening again this year as well, and as a special treat it will feature live music: On June 20, the DFF acoustic duo Panu Willman and Heikki Iso-Sipilä will accompany metal yogis at G Livelab.

Artists like Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom), Santeri Kallio (Amorphis), Burton (HIM), Akira Takasaki (Loudness), Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind) and even Tuska promoter Jouni Markkanen came together to record the 7-minute-long Tuska20 – The Anniversary Song. The proceeds will go to the Tuska 20 year-charity fund. Doing good while listening to metal, what could be better?

As usual, the festival weekend will kick off on Thursday, June 29 with Tuska Heatseeker at the rock club Tavastia, where Man With A Mission from Japan, Finnish Arion and Psychwork will get the festival mood going.

Tuska offers a variety of ticket options: From 255 € for the three-day Turbo VIP package to 129€ for a normal three-day ticket, while two- and one-day tickets are 105€ and 75€ respectively. All information and updates can be found on http://www.tuska-festival.fi/, as well as on the Tuska app (available for iOS and Android).

Story: Nina Ratavaara

Photos: Eija Mäkivuoti