Festival season continues around the country, yet this weekend sees perhaps the most popular happening on the annual calendar in recent years. Held from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 August, Flow Festival offers a wide range of contemporary music, with its scope encompassing everything from indie rock to jazz, rap, world music and club sounds.
Held once again at the former power plant area of Suvilahti, every year has seen some interesting names announced to the line-up at the last minute and this year is no different. Recently seen here in Helsinki earlier this year at The Circus, Manic Street Preachers return on the strength of their new release, Futurology, their second in the space of one year, following Rewind The Film. Also hitting the stage is US electro innovator Skrillex, whose debut full length Recess dropped earlier this year, following the release of six EPs.
Elsewhere, Sunday's main headliners OutKast are the main drawcard for many, having reunited after many years in the wilderness. Other highlights include the low-key sounds of The National and desert blues in the shape of Mali's Tinariwen. In other surprises, Neneh Cherry pops up after many years out of the mainstream spotlight. In short, there's something for everyone, with many local and international fresh sounds on the cusp of being discovered also to be found across the three days.
A new venue is making its debut this year. Focussing on punk, garage, rap and techno the MixRadio Music Hall in the Tiivistämö building will set the stage for a number of underground gigs during the Flow Festival weekend. Alongside a clutch of Finnish acts, the new venue will host the likes of Brooklyn's Big Ups and Ballet School from Berlin.
Flow Festival 2014
Talking the talk
Other new offerings on the horizon include Flow Talks Lunch Sessions. Presented Saturday and Sunday, here artists, activists, entrepreneurs, professionals and governments meet for two afternoon sessions of sharing ideas. With a range of good food on offer, the talks are mostly in English.
Meanwhile, arts also gets a big push at Flow this year, with various forms of visual and performing arts to be found. For the third year running, Flow Festival will be introducing the Visual Artist of the Year, with Iraqi artist Adel Abidin set to create a fresh and elaborate piece of art in the festival area. Elsewhere, works from Landys Roimola and Anssi Kasitonni are exhibited.
For fans of film, several shorts features are screening at Film Garage and a daily performance from circus artist Ilona Jäntti is on offer at Cirko.
Indulging in this whopping offering is sure to make the 20,000 daily visitors peckish, thus the likes of Ihana Kahvila, New York Ninja, Four seasons and Tori are on hand to help refuel and refresh. Of course, all of this is merely just the tip of the iceberg, the full programme is available from the website.
James O'Sullivan – HT
Image: Flow Festival / Jussi Hellston