Set up against the rough industrial background of a defunct Suvilahti power plant flow festival offers an urban alternative to your usual festival.
Flow has been bringing diverse music, performance and visual art to the Finnish capital for 14 years and this year attracted 28 000 visitors who come to see amongst others Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Patti Smith, Charlotte Gainsborough and The Fleet Foxes.
If you’re still not sure you’d get into the ‘flow’ at this festival; here are five things you need to know about Flow:
1) The festival was founded by producer and musician Toumas Kallio and a musical collective called Nuspirit Helsinki. The festival has grown from a small soul & jazz club event into one of the biggest Northern European festivals with an amazing music platform for the international programme and audience.
2) In 2007 the festival moved to its current location; off Suvilahti’s industrial area, close to the centre of Helsinki. The stages, food stalls and tents are incorporated into the rough metal and concrete relics of the former power plant with the giant gas holders and an oversized pressurised balloon (winner of an architecture competition in 2012) overlooking the whole festival area. As this is a truly urban festival wedged into the centre of Helsinki, camping is not allowed! And the recommended mean of transport? Metro, tram or bike 🙂
3) Flow pride themselves on their wide-ranging and ever growing selection of international cuisines; offering food and drinks from over 40 restaurants and 20 bars. In the last few years the focus has been shifting towards vegan/vegetarian and environmentally friendly options. As a tried and tested recommendation and my own little favourite; make sure you taste a dish made from pulled oats (a Finnish vegan meat alternative invention) and the blueberry & cardamom ice cream from 3 Kaverin Jäätelö.
4) Flow is not only about music. The festival’s art programme features critically acclaimed artists as well as pieces presented by the local Aalto University students. This year the visitors will see pieces of street art, sound art, video art, light installations, animation and architecture. And not to forget – a skate show in the Suvilahti skatepark.
5) An important part of this festival’s experience is its fashion. Finnish people love fashion and as a nation with a strong focus on design they are not shy of bold fashion statements. Flow is traditionally considered one of the highlights of young Helsinki inhabitants who allegedly think of and prepare their carefully curated outfits weeks in advance. For the best examples of local street fashion showcased at Flow, take a peek at www.hel-looks.com.
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