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Finland Puts on Best in Show at Flow

While the major acts dominated the main stage at Flow Festival, it was Finland’s new talent that really impressed.

Published: August 20, 2014 (Issue # 1825)



  • Finland’s Jaakko Eino Kalevi performing at this year’s festival.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

  • Held over three days, almost 130 acts performed across nine stages.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

  • A chance encounter led British music journalist Kieron Tyler to becoming a regular on the Baltic music scene.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

  • The popular annual music event continues to attract a loyal following.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

It was to be expected that Manic Street Preachers, OutKast and The National were going to have the biggest crowds at Flow Festival, held in Helsinki, Finland earlier this month. But alongside the big international names, the almost 130 acts that performed at the festival’s nine venues across three days also showcased some of the most interesting live acts from the Finnish music scene.

The major Finnish acts included the country’s current biggest international hopefuls, folky English-language singer-songwriter Mirel Wagner — now on Sub Pop in the U.S. — and electronic musician Jaakko Eino Kalevi, who was recently signed by Domino Records in the U.K. But Flow Festival also offered a whole range of unique and exciting Finnish music — from indie folk and alternative rock to reggae and hip-hop.

The Main Stage’s program opened with Risto, a keyboard-driven, Finnish-language alternative band from the city of Tampere, described by a local as a perfect example of “Finnish psychedelia, Finnish craziness,” while the Other Sound stage — reserved for less conventional music — sported Hopeajarvi, a frenzical garage-punk quartet from Helsinki and whose very first chords sent the crowd jumping.

The day after the festival had closed, The St. Petersburg Times sat with Kieron Tyler, a contributor to the Mojo magazine and a frequent visitor to music events both in Finland and Estonia, at the Sokos Vaakuna hotel in the center of Helsinki to discuss Flow Festival and local music in general.

Q: What were your impressions of Flow Festival, specifically about the Finnish artists who played there?

A: That’s an interesting question. Obviously there were Finnish artists playing and I noticed the main stage was about the international big names —Manic Street Preachers, Janelle Monae, OutKast. Though there was a lot of Finnish music at Flow — Jaakko Eino Kalevi and Siinai (Siinai were playing on a big stage in a big tent) — it was interesting to notice that the audience wasn’t necessarily going for the Finnish names. So I was watching a band like Mr Peter Hayden, and there were some curious people in the audience, but by the time they finished playing, there were fewer curious people in the audience. However, it’s very, very good that Flow is putting on and mixing in less known Finnish names to get them in front of that mainstream audience. That’s a good thing. It can only be a good thing.

Q: Could you mention some bands that you found interesting?

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

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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