Finnish Summer Festival Survival Guide

The summer is fast approaching and that means only one thing: the festival season is at our doorstep. Despite its cold reputation, the summer months in Finland are busy with open air festivals and heated by the hottest music and fashion trends. To help you stay cool, HÄN turned to the local experts on music and fashion for a comprehensive guide to Finnish summer fun.


Step 1. Choose Your Festival


Image from Anna Myllyluoma

Image from Anna Myllyluoma


The decision on a festival majorly depends on the type of music you are into. For the Helsinki based DJ Anna Myllyluma, Sundays Summer parties organised by Äänivalli club based in Valilla, Helsinki are where it’s at. “There is basically all this underground partying going on”, says Anna. “These summer Sundays are probably my favourite parties in Helsinki or in Finland. They always get these Berlin and UK techno names, really underground, who play outside in summer”. The parties started off as small gatherings among friends, but thanks to a combination of great techno music, outstanding sound system and open air terrace, they quickly became a hit among Finnish music lovers. “Every person who is interested in fashion goes there on Sunday… It’s very unique, it’s the closest thing to Ibiza parties that we get in here”. The action will start in June.


Image from @flowfestivalhelsinki Instagram.

Image from @flowfestivalhelsinki


In the close neighbourhood Kallio, which has been labeled the Shoreditch of Helsinki, other major music events are taking place. “Kallio is getting bigger and bigger all the time, they have some new festivals coming up in the summer in well”, says Anna. “Close to Kallio there is an area called Suviliati, where they have the Flow Festival in the summer, where all the stylish and fashion orientated people go”. Flow Festival is an internationally recognised urban music and art event that has been running for nearly 12 years and showcased a variety of Finnish and international artists including Kaney West, M.I.A. and this year Sia. With a line up of 150 artists and the audience of 60000 people in 2013, it is definitely an unmissable event for any rock fan.


Image from sidewayshelsinki.fi

Image from sidewayshelsinki.fi


In case you fancy something “not too mainstream”, according to Anna, two days Sideways festival in Teuristamo should be right up your street. Set up last year, the tickets for this event sold out completely, so grab them now while they are still available. These year’s line-up includes Finnish rising talents like Circle and View and international artists like Canadian Peaches and English PJ Harvey. And if you fancy some electronic music, the new Visio festival is perfect for you. Held on the first two days of July, the event will showcase Finnish and International top DJs like Todd Terje & The Olsens, Levon Vincent, Detroit Swindle. “It’s pretty cool and I am definitely going”, says Anna. We at HÄN encourage you to do the same.


Step 2. Choose Your Gear.


Image from Mari Sevonen's latest music campaign.

Image from Mari Sevonen’s latest music campaign.


Now when you know which festival you are going to, it is time to think about your outfit. Mari Sevonen, Helsinki-based freelance stylist (she styled music bands like Poets of The Fall, Justimus and Superscar) and a visual merchandiser for the trendiest high street store Bik Bok. Being a talented musician herself, Mari gives HÄN some tips.

“This year’s summer trends are feminine”, says Mari. “Underwear looking daywear, interesting prints, bright colours mixed together”. She recommends to invest in the season’s key pieces like ankle length jeans, cold shoulder tops, loose trousers and big sunglasses which will serve you well beyond the festivals’ dance floors. “Äänivalli is one of the most well-known summer clubs in Helsinki and you can see a lot of different styles there”, says Mari. “People want to dress simply so that they can dance without worrying about their outfit”. Therefore, according to Mari, the main focus should be on staying comfortable while looking chic.


Partying and snacking at Aaniwalli. Image from @darralooks

Partying and snacking at Aaniwalli. Image from @darralooks


“For Finnish festivals one must pick outfits that are versatile because the weather might change very quickly from sunny to rainy”, says Mari. “This can be achieved by layering clothes”. In case of such a change, she recommends to tie a long sleeved shirt around the waist for a casual yet cool look. “A lot of festivals in Finland happen in parks or on the beaches, so shoes must also be comfortable to wear”, advises Mari. “This makes sneakers probably the easiest choice to go with”. Mari strongly recommends to NOT wear slippers to avoid people stepping on your toes while dancing (safety first). Comfort is a priority when it comes to beauty as well. “Keep the make-up simple and have your hair loose or try some nice braids”, suggest Mari. Nice headpiece can be an easy way to elevate your look. For guys, a not too groomed hipster beard is always a good choice.

At the same time, it might be a good idea to step outside your comfort zone and use a festival as an opportunity to try something new. “Last year we saw interesting looks influenced from hip hop, hipster and boho styles”, says Mari. “This year I would recommend to try some colourful dresses, long loose skirts and lace tops”. Just make sure you are well prepared. “Pack a lightweight raincoat, big sunglasses, a warmer shirt or a jacket and lots of good summer spirit”, says Mari. The last one is definitely a must.


Words by Kira Kolosova.