THE FORECAST for the weekend of the 21st Tuska Open Air Metal Festival was not looking too good the week before. Torrential rains were promised for Friday and Saturday with temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius - Finnish summer at its best. Metal heads from all around the world were praying to the weather gods and stocking up on raincoats, rubber boots and gloves in preparation for yet another wet festival. But the gods seemed to listen: While Friday started off cloudy and temperatures did not reach proper summer heights, it stayed dry for the whole weekend with some blue skies and sun on Saturday and Sunday – summer festival atmosphere was a go!
During these three days, overall 34 000 metal heads found their way to Suvilahti with Saturday being the most popular day with 13 000 visitors. As every year, the area improved ever so slightly from the varied food selection to carts not only delivering beer but also wine and bubbly directly to you, to more seating areas and better located beer areas. The whole festival was decorated with various art installation and Belzebubs comics so there was always something new to discover during the weekend. Not only the area, also the festival goers were once again dressed up and decorated to the max and if one didn’t have time for that at home, a corpse paint and flower crown (or flower beard adornment) station made sure everyone could get their festival style going.
On Friday, the crowd was already going strong (just like the wind that day) for Tribulation from Sweden who played on the Helsinki Stage as the second band on there, before Turmion Kätilöt on the main stage made sure to deliver some more up-beat tunes that got the audience dancing. The evening continued with powerful shows by Mantar and Moonsorrow as well as Arch Enemy and Meshuggah who pumped the festival goes up for the grand finale: Body Count ft. Ice-T took the night away with a performance that blew the festival crowd away and will stay in many minds for a long time to come.
The dancing continued on Saturday with The 69 Eyes and Carpenter Brut, and it was noticeable that the festival was much more crowded that day. Black metal heavy weights Emperor who played on the main stage next certainly had something to do with that as well. Seeing them on a sunny day with blue skies was quite a different experience to the last time they played at Tuska when it was cold, grey and rainy aka much more black metal but the band was in a great mood and the audience of course as well – and who said you cannot enjoy some black metal with a huge smile on your sunlit face?! The mood got more gloomy and melancholic with Hallatar and tears could be seen in a many corner of an eye, before German Thrash machine Kreator made sure to up the ante again. At The Gates and Gojira caped off the official part of the day, but the party and the dancing continued until the early morning hours at the after parties.
Sunday presented itself as the warmest and sunniest day so far which helped the possibly slightly tired festival goers wake up for the last festival day. Tuska regulars Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus took many in the audience on a trip down memory lane with their classics before Emperor front man Ihsahn took the Helsinki Stage with his solo project, the tent above the stage providing some welcome wind protection. From Ihsahn’s atmospheric and groove filled show it was onward to some Sunday dancing at Kattilahalli with Grave Pleasures at Inferno Stage while Europe played on the main stage and heralded the (almost) final (festival) countdown. The evening ended with Clutch and Parkway Drive, who put on an intense, pyro heavy show including a rotating drum kit to end this year’s Tuska Festival in style.
TEXT: NINA RATAVAARA
PHOTOGRAPHER: JESSE KÄMÄRÄINEN