For Finnish Culture Day, six videos transport you to festivals and arts events across Finland

We celebrate Finnish Culture Day, February 28, with six videos that invite you to experience cultural events – mostly music festivals, but we also throw in some dance and architecture.

The definition of “culture” refers to customs and social norms, but additionally extends to all forms of the arts. Finnish Culture Day is also called Kalevala Day, after the national epic Kalevala, a book of verses that were an oral tradition until 1835, when they were published in written format as collected by the scholar Elias Lönnrot.

While cultural events continue nonstop throughout the winter, many Finnish people are already looking forward to the summer festival season. During long days when the sun hardly sets at all, people get together to enjoy the enthralling atmosphere that arises only at live concerts.

We think you’ll agree that we’ve managed to capture some of that feeling with the help of the team that made the videos below. The concerts show a range of artists and genres. It’s the next best thing to being there. (For additional info, visit the videos’ YouTube pages.)

Jesse Markin: “Sidney Poitier”
Festivaali Festival, Tampere

Jesse Markin was born in Liberia and grew up in western Finland. At Festivaali Festival, in a scenic lakeside park in the city of Tampere, he raps about Sidney Poitier and captivates the audience.Video: Kerttu Penttilä, Vessi Hämäläinen, Pekka Rousi, Jukka Moisio/ThisisFINLAND

Silva Kallionpää Quartet: “Stretching Time”
Ilmiö Festival, Turku

Violinist Silva Kallionpää leads a jazz quartet that tests limits and takes new paths to tell its stories. “Stretching Time” refers to time passing faster or slower depending on what’s happening. Art and music make it feel like it’s possible to manipulate time. Ilmiö is an alternative music and art fest in the southwestern Finnish city of Turku.Video: Kerttu Penttilä, Vessi Hämäläinen, Pekka Rousi, Tommi Kinnunen/ThisisFINLAND

Joose Keskitalo: “The Golden Apple”
Odysseus Festival, Helsinki

Singer-songwriter Joose Keskitalo is known for quirky stage charisma, rough-hewn lyrics (now in English) and jangly guitar in songs that range from wistful to ominous. Odysseus Festival offers “adventures for the curious listener” on Lonna, an island outside of Helsinki’s South Harbour.Video: Kerttu Penttilä, Vessi Hämäläinen, Pekka Rousi, Jukka Moisio/ThisisFINLAND

Malla: “Moi” (Hi)
Bättre Folk Festival, Hailuoto

Malla (full name Malla Malmivaara) offers a smooth, light, Finnish-language club sound – an addictive mix of house beats, languid disco and sophisticated electropop. Bättre Folk is a two-day literature and music festival on Hailuoto, an island of the coast of the northern Finnish city of Oulu.Video: Kerttu Penttilä, Vessi Hämäläinen, Jussi Hellstén, Tommi Kinnunen, Relyonkaide (Bättre Folk)/ThisisFINLAND

Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen: “Zomp”
Flow Festival, Helsinki

Saxophonist Timo Lassy and drummer Teppo Mäkynen join forces on the Balloon 360° stage at the always-innovative, ever-urban Flow Festival, a major event on the summer music calendar, held in the heart of Helsinki.Video: Kerttu Penttilä, Vessi Hämäläinen, Pekka Rousi, Jussi Hellstén, Skyproduction (Flow)/ThisisFINLAND

Bonus: Dancing and architecture in Helsinki

Somebody kind of famous once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” What does that even mean? We don’t know, and we don’t even know if we want to know. This video is about dancing on architecture. It features award-winning Finnish choreographer Ismo-Pekka Heikinheimo’s Ismo Dance Company. Have a peek.Video: Ismo Dance Company/Anybody’s Architecture/ThisisFINLAND

By ThisisFINLAND staff, February 2023