At the opening of Espan Lava on Wednesday, May 17, Piia Viitanen, Cellomania, and Vimma will perform. Photo: Jussi Hellsten


The city of Helsinki is set to invest in an extensive program of events at Espa Stage this summer to revitalize the city center and enhance the well-being of its residents. Located in Esplanadi Park, the iconic Espa Stage will host a diverse range of musical genres, including rock, indie, ethnic, jazz, and rap music. With over 200 events planned, there will be something for everyone to enjoy throughout the summer season.

The opening of Espa Stage's summer season will take place on Wednesday, May 17, featuring three remarkable performers. Starting at 5 PM, Viitasen Piia, the frontwoman of the dark indie-folk band Viitasen Piia, will take the stage. At 6 PM, the cello duo Cellomania, consisting of Jaani Helander and Lukas Stasevskij, will perform. The evening will be capped off at 7 PM with a performance by Vimma, a band that blends ancient melodies with the thoughts of young Helsinki musicians on the fast-paced modern world, the climate crisis, and our relationship with nature.

During the opening weekend, there will also be a performance by Honey B & T-Bones, a Finnish rhythm music ensemble known for their unique blend of delta blues, funk, and garage rock on Friday, May 19. On Saturday, May 27, the familiar Big Band Marathon will return, featuring five orchestras presenting a diverse selection of big band music, from groovy summer hits to traditional jazz compositions. At the end of the month, the first IndiEspa event of the summer will take place, showcasing the most exciting alternative mainstream music. On Wednesday, May 31, the lineup will include Sepikka and Pambikallio, two masterful artists of modern pop.

June will see performances by renowned artists such as Muska, Emma Salokoski, and Jorma Uotinen. On Friday, June 16, the talented singer Emma Salokoski and guitarist Jarmo Saari, who released their first joint album, "Viileässä Virrassa," in the spring, will take the stage. Before Midsummer, there will be two exciting concerts. On Wednesday, June 21, the audience can enjoy the skilled Finnish jazz performances by Nina Mya and the OK:KO ensemble, followed by the legendary Muska on Thursday, June 22, performing her greatest hits and carefully selected covers accompanied by the six-member band Hot Dogs. The month will end in a spectacular fashion, with Jorma Uotinen and Trio Avec performing on Tuesday, June 27, and Vuokko Hovatta, an actress and singer who combines poetry and music, on Wednesday, June 28.

This year's Open Stage, based on an open artist application, will be bigger than ever. Over 400 applications were received during the spring, setting a new record. Throughout May to September, over 40 Open Stage artists or groups will perform at Espa Stage. Some of the notable performers include emerging singer Ida Alex on Tuesday, May 30, Helsinki-based percussion group Samba Sinestesia, drawing inspiration from Brazilian samba, on Tuesday, June 6, and the punk band "77," comprised of seasoned professionals, on Monday, July 10.

In addition, the summer will feature MIL-Espa, which offers entertaining military music and has been captivating audiences in Esplanadi Park since 1927. Nine concerts featuring various military bands are planned for this summer, starting with the Kaartin Soittokunta (Guard Band) on Friday, May 19.

July and August will see the return of the popular themed weeks, including Jazz-Espa, Etno-Espa, and a celebration of poetry and music on Eino Leino Day, which falls on Thursday, July 6. The full schedule of events at Espa Stage can be found at

With a rich and diverse lineup of over 200 events, Espa Stage promises to be a vibrant hub of music and entertainment throughout the summer. Whether it's enjoying renowned artists or discovering emerging talents, residents and visitors of Helsinki can look forward to an unforgettable season of free performances at this iconic venue in Esplanadi Park.