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Helsinki's Flow Music Festival Gears Up for Best Year Yet

Flow Festival, one of Finland’s premiere music festivals, will play host to over 100 bands from around the world.

Published: July 30, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • This year’s Flow Festival will feature 120 different acts spread out across eight stages during the three-day festival.
    Photo: Jussi Hellsten

  • Tuomas Kallio founded Flow with members of the music collective Nuspirit Helsinki.
    Photo: flow

  • Manic Street Preachers, a Welsh alternative rock band and one of Flow’s headliners, released their 12th album earlier this year.
    Photo: flow

Flow Festival, one of the most significant summer festivals of music and art in Finland and northern Europe, opens in Helsinki next month. Held in historic Suvilahti, a former power plant area, from Aug. 8 to 10, it will feature 120 music acts from around the world performing on Flow’s eight stages. This year’s highlights include Manic Street Preachers, a veteran Welsh alternative rock band, which released its 12th studio album, “Futurology,” on July 7, and Slowdive, an English band that reunited earlier this year to perform at a number of summer festivals.

Flow Festival — or simply Flow, as it is commonly referred to — was established by electronic musician and music producer Tuomas Kallio and other members of the Helsinki-based music collective Nuspirit Helsinki in 2004, when it was first held at a now-defunct warehouse-turned-club. Now working as Flow’s art director, Kallio spoke to The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the event.

Q: When starting Flow, you were a musician rather than a promoter. Did it help? What influence has it had on the festival?

A: Probably a lot. The festival is based on the music itself, on the content. We’re not coming from the music promotion business and we are still more concerned about the music. We try to create a good environment each year for the festival, try to provide as interesting and as topical a selection of music and other art as possible, and then we hope it also sells tickets. So it’s not coming from the kind of idea that we are chasing bands and acts that would sell more tickets. In that sense, it’s pretty different to most of the festivals concerned with the lineup and who is on the bill instead of on the music that is played. In our case, it’s the other way around: first and foremost, we think about the actual music, the actual bands that play and whether or not it’s a good combination.

Q: So is it pretty much about how the bands combine with the setting of the festival?

A: Yes, something like that, and to kind of offer our audience a topical view on what in our opinion is important and worth checking out these days. So it’s a certain kind of a window to the music scene at the moment. I mean our point of view has been quite international from the beginning, so we are not very much concerned about what is really popular in Finland. Instead we try to create a combination on the whole of what would make sense, I’d say, in every part of the world.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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