Festivals: Midsummer Metal & Tango Camper Vans

Episode 25

Juha talks about more Finnish festivals. From the Heavy Metal Midsummer through the invasion of camper vans for Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat and on to newer, urban events for HipHop and EDM.

Guest: Juha Koivisto – Festival promoter, Agent

Download an MP3 file of Finnish Festivals: Midesummer Metal & Tango Camper Vans

Show Notes

Listen to the part 1 of this interview here

In the second part of my conversation with Juha, he suggests the connection between Finland’s short summer, and the popularity and proliferation of summer festivals. He takes this back to the Midsummer celebrations (around the solstice day) when many Finns depart for the countryside. The Juhannus (Midsummer) celebration is second in importance only to Christmas!

No surprise, then, that the oldest summer festival, Nummirock, is a Midsummer event. What is surprising is that this originated as a Schlager, dance festival, but has transitioned to its modern billing as a Heavy Metal Fest. You can hear a more detailed explanation of Schlager (and other traditional Finnish music) back in episode 18.

Traditional Festivals

You will hear Juha talk about some of the longer-standing events, which have traditionally been run by volunteer associations. The workers in some of these provincial events, have been happy to work a couple of days in order to get a ticket or two. You will also hear a description of the invasion of middle-aged party-goers, that descends on Seinäjoki in a swarm of camper vans, for the Tangomarkkinat every July.

Modern Festivals

Juha goes on to differentiate between these, and the newer, city centre festivals which have started appearing in recent years. These urban locations with good catering and accommodation, can be easier to get to, and tend to finish earlier, so you might end your evening in a nearby night club.

Finally, we discuss the future of festivals in Finland. How restrictive (and expensive) Finnish licensing laws and the proximity of festivals in mainland Europe, are providing strong competition for the Rock festivals. But despite all this, Juha remains positive about the future.

Here’s a neat video from KomiaInfo that gives a great flavour of three of Seinäjoki’s biggest festivals:

Finnish Words in the Episode

  • Schlager – a style of popular music from Central and Northern Europe
    • For context think Abba, The Carpenters, Barry Manilow, Tony Christie, Engelbert Humperdink
  • Iskelmä – The Finnish varient of Schlager

Next episode – Reconstructing Finland’s Emigrant History


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