Best Music Festival in Helsinki: Flow

Flow 2016

Flow is definitely coming – less than a month and the best music festival of Finland (even Nordics?) is here! Flow is music festival here in Helsinki and it is ALWAYS a weekend when we’ll send our kids to their grandparents and spend our weekend listening music and enjoying great Flow-feeling with our dear friends at festival. Since we are living in downtown Helsinki we’ll invite friends over for whole weekend to sleep, enjoy breakfast and preparty listening best artists from flow-app before entering to festival.

Flow is in Suvilahti, Helsinki. Place is easier to understand when I tell it is in Kallio-area near to metro station Sörnäinen. Kallio is 2-3 kilometers from Stockmann/Railway station so really in downtown. Easiest way to get there is to bike (there is a “bike lot” in front of festival with thousands of bikes, love it!) but if you don’t have one just walk or take metro or tram 7A/7B/6 (step out from tram also in Sörnäinen).

Festival area itself is a pearl – location is just great and old pretty buildings and gas holder creates a “post industrial feeling” which ensures atmosphere is just perfect. Festival is pretty trendy place – you can see beautiful people wearing interesting cloths (no heels however since best to walk around with flats) and you can taste different delicious foods. There is always also art, this year video installationsOf course the main point is music – there are several stages with different artists all the time. This year I am waiting most for Lana Del Rey, London Grammar and always so great Alma (a Finn you should listen a bit right away if you don’t know her!).  Age limit to festival is 18, I would say most people are 30-45 years.

Days for festival this year are 11-13.8.2017. If you plan to enjoy the festival, I suggest you buy your tickets now since normally at least some days are sold out well in advance (however not yet when I am writing this). More information of festival you find here. There are lots of information also in English. Also I guess – since me and my friends Anne and Marjo love Flow festival so much, we’ll write more about this before the festival.

Pictures here are from last year.

Anna

Midsummer in Helsinki – what to do?

 

Today 23.6.2017 we have midsummer celebration here in Finland. This midsummer celebration is called Juhannus in Finnish. It will last all weekend and target is to enjoy summer and sun shining through the night. Since I am supposed to tell you what locals do during Juhannus I do it right in the beginning: almost all locals (I would say more than 70 % of Helsinkians but this is just wild guess) will travel out of Helsinki. We Finns believe right place to celebrate Juhannus is in summer cottage. Helsinki will be very empty and very different from normal during this weekend. So, this time I will tell you what tourists can do during Juhannus if in Helsinki. These things are of course also things what those few Helsinkians might do if in Helsinki during Juhannus weekend. And then – I am also traveling outside Helsinki this afternoon but I did some running first in the morning. There in Kauppatori (the big market square just opposite the President Castle) I saw former Helsinki Mayor Jussi Pajunen. So after all, some very essential Helsinkians are spending their Juhannus here!

Right picture above you see something very essential of Juhannus – kokko in Finnish, bonfire in English. It is burned in the Friday evening. This kokko I took picture is situated next to Cafe Ursula. The address is Ehrenströmintie 3, that is by the see in Southern Helsinki, maybe 2 kilometers south from Railways station. Very nice walk from downtown – many parks. Kokko will be burned 9.30 pm and Cafe Ursula will be open during Juhannus weekend – so it is a great place to find some Juhannus feeling! Another great place to sense traditional Juhannus feeling is Seurasaari. There will be bonfire and old Finnish celebration traditions today from 4 pm until late night. Tickets there are 23 euros (kids under 12 years are free). Seurasaari doesn’t really have an address since it is small island. Google so you’ll see where it is. It is like 5 kilometers from downtown Helsinki. You can take bus number 24 to travel there.

Probably most “Helsinkian” thing to do in Helsinki today and tomorrow is to go to this dancing event – Juhannustanssit in Finnish. It is not disco dancing but more like fox, twist, Finnish disco and some new Finnish hits as well. My guess is (never been but sounds fun!) that there are lots of 25-50 years old downtown people who go there every year. This happening is organized by We love Helsinki -collective and it is situated in Kallio district at Kuudes linja and Kaiku (address Kaikukatu 4). Juhannustanssit is happening both Friday and Saturday from 9 pm until 4 am. Even you absolutely can’t dance I still recommend it!

And what about Saturday and Sunday? Most shops will be closed and town continues to be very empty. My recommendation is to visit Allas Sea Pool (picture below but very bad quality – in reality it looks a lot better!) which is combined restaurant and outside pool. You find there also saunas and it will be open during Juhannus. Great views of Helsinki when swimming in (warm) pool – I highly recommend that!

Anna

 

First of May in Helsinki: best ways to celebrate May Day (vappu in Finnish)

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Best carneval time in Helsinki (and in Finland) is around first of May. Celebration starts already some days before – you can see groups of students wearing haulers. However, the real “vappu” and big celebration starts early evening of 30th of April. At 6 pm thousands of people want to see when statue Havis Amanda (situated between Kauppatori and Park Esplanad) will receive her “graduation cap”. After that as well as before there will be thousands of people in down town Helsinki celebrating. Most people wear their “graduation caps” (but only after 6 pm), drink sparkling wine and buy some air balloons. Overall feeling is positive and springish (even it would not be warm and sunny at all) and bars are very crowded. Recommend to be somewhere near Havis Amanda around 6 pm and after that visit at least Senaatintori and arounds. After these “must dos” you can have fun evening in bars – but it will be very crowded everywhere. However – don’t party too late since best part of May Day celebrations happens first of May.

 

First of May it is best to be in Ullanlinna (Ullis) and Kaivopuisto (Kaivari) already 9 am (doesn’t matter even you are not looking your best and smelling a bit of sparkling wine) since there will be choir singing and May Day celebration “officially” begins. All the day long there will be thousands and thousands of people having picnics and wondering around. You should have your own picnic snacks with you as well as some sparkling wine since there is not restaurants – idea is to have those with you. Everyone just spends the day meeting friends and having fun. Students were haulers, almost everyone have their “graduation hats” (but you can come without – no problem) and children have their balloons – what a perfect day! Remember to wear warm cloths since Kaivopuisto is next to sea – there can be very cold. See you in Kaivari on Monday!

Anna

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Uisge 2017 — Helsinki Whiskey Festival is back in February

To savor some of the best whiskies around Living in HEL will be visiting the Uisge festival on 10 to 11 February 2017 — just like last year, and many a year before that.

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Traditionally, Uisge has been the “it” event for Finnish friends of all things whisky — Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, Rye, Japanese, Swedish, Finnish. But especially Single Malt lovers.

The atmosphere is always nice, and surprisingly non-commercial. And that’s saying a lot, when all the big brands are present. It’s not a big bash, more like a low key, very enjoyable event, a meeting of minds with a fantastic, laid-back atmosphere. Everybody’s here for one reason only – the love of Uisce Beatha.

A few whisk(e)y societies will also be present, including the Finnish Malt Whisky Society and the more elusive Friends of Irish Whiskey. If you’re looking to enjoy sampling superb whiskies later in the year, as well, both organize tastings, trips to distilleries and more — and will be looking for new members.

 


If you’re like us, do come early, come on Friday and bring along a friend. Also, a notepad to jot down your favorites is recommended, because this being Scandinavia, you wouldn’t be able to buy a bottle of your newest favorite even if you tried.

IMG_3433.JPGThe tastings also have a stellar reputation both taste-wise and information-wise. Enquire ahead at uisge2016(at)yahoo.com (mention you’re of age and want to have this information).

Tix are available here for 18€ per day. Smart money is on buying in advance, Uisge usually gets crowded so tickets may or may not be available at the door.

The price of the entry fee includes a custom-printed nosing glass and the sampling prices are more than reasonable, even for the rarest bottling. Ice water is complimentary, so you can clean your palate and glass in between sampling a drop of the pure.

Like we said last year, a night at Uisge is guaranteed to leave you smiling what with all the socializing, sampling and good-hearted stories — and the whiskey, of course.

 

Sláinte!

Venue & event links

 

ps. From what we know, bottlings, specials and vintage editions,  favorites old & new will be available from at least the following:
Aberlour, Ailsa Bay, Arran, Auchentoshan, Balblair, the Balvenie, Blackadder, Bowmore, Buffalo Trace, Bunnahabhain, Bushmills, Chivas Regal, The Compass Box, Cragganmore, Douglas LaingHunter Laing, Edradour, Four Roses, Glen Moray, Glen Scotia, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glengoyne, Glengyle, the Glenlivet, Hart Brothers, Helsinki Distilling Company, Highland Park, Jameson, Jura, Kilchoman, Knob Creek, Kyrö Distillery, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Loch Lomond, Maker’s Mark, MidletonMortlach, Old Pulteney, Redbreast, Sazerac, Springbank, Talisker, Teerenpeli, Tobermory, Tullamore Dew, Valamo Monastery DistilleryThe Whisky Agency, and more… Some high quality rums will also  be available.

For a more complete and likely more up-to-the-minute list, see the Viskisieppo blog.

Best Helsinki Christmas Market – Tuomaan Markkinat

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Anne wrote some weeks ago about Christmas Bazaars here in Helsinki. I think the best bazaar is Tuomaan Markkinat, which is situated in Senaatintori (along the Aleksanterinkatu). It is very beautiful place – Helsinki Cathedral is just next as well as Helsinki University and other old picturesque buildings. At Tuomaan Markkinat I recommend to stroll around and admire all different handicrafts, Christmas foods and Finnish specialities. Many of them are very reasonably priced so you can also buy great gifts for Christmas. If you have kids, they should try carousel. And when feeling cold, try some warm drinks!

 

Tuomaan Markkinat will be open until 22nd of December so there are still some days left. This time I bought some woolen stockings – very warm and useful for those cold winter days we are still waiting for.

Merry Christmas for everyone!

Anna

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Helsinki Christmas bazaars 2016

Helsinki is full of Christmas bazaars from November to December. You’ll find unique hand-made gifts, souveniers, high quality design, traditional pastries and much more in these events. Here are cople of tips where to go for Christmas bazaar shopping in Helsinki.

Tuomaan markkinat
In 2015, the Huffington Post ranked Helsinki Christmas Market among the 15 European Christmas markets we love to love.
In the centre of Helsinki, Senate Square
3.-22.12.2016
Mon-Fri 11am-8pm
Sat and Sun 10am-7pm

Vanhan Joulutori at the historic Vanha ylioppilastalo
Finnish handicrafts by Finnish designers and artisans.
Mannerheimintie 3
17.-22.12.2016
Mon – Fri 11am-8pm
Sat and Sun 11am-6pm
Fri Dec 23rd 11am-6pm

Korjaamo
You’ll find more international flavours in this market. Australia, Italy and India are present together with Finnish products.
Kulttuuritehdas Korjaamo
Töölönkatu 51 a-b
26.-27.11. and 10.-11.12.2016 11am-5pm

Ornamo Design Christmas Market
A selection of high quality design and handicrafts by professional designers
Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1, Helsinki
2.-4.12.2016, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat and Sun 10pm-6pm

Women’s Christmas Fair
You will find hand-knit and embroidered Christmas decorations, pottery, jewelry, candles, leather and wood products and much more.
Pikku Satamakatu 3-5
2.-6.12.2016
Fri 2.12. 11am-7pm
Sat-Mon 3.-5.12. 10am-6pm
Tue 6.12. 10am-5pm

 

tuomaan_markkinatTuomaan markkinat. Picture: Jussi Hellsten

Music festivals in Helsinki – Flow

One of the most interesting music festivals in Helsinki is definitely Flow festival. It’s a perfect way of getting tuned into Helsinki’s artistic and relaxed atmosphere. The festival takes place from 12th to 14th of August – just when the evenings start getting darker and festivals better.

Each Finnish city has its own music festival and Flow is the one to visit in Helsinki. You can buy the tickets already now and get to know the artists playing in each stage. Yes, don’t worry if you don’t know a single band on the list – it’s a great opportunity to explore some new music and just enjoy the atmosphere.

The Flow festival has been organised since 2004 and it has grown its popularity every year reaching over 70,000 visitors. It’s been organised in old power plant area in Suvilahti which a unique and convenient area for an urban festival.

Flow is a nice experience also to someone interested in food. There are several nice restaurants offering food for all tastes; vegetarians, organic and sustainably produced food.

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Photo by Jussi Hellsten, Flow Festival

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Photo by Samuli Pentti, Flow Festival

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Photo by Jussi Hellsten, Flow Festival

What? Flow music Festival
When? 12. – 14.8.2016
Why? Atmosphere, bands, arts and food

Uisge 2016: The best of Helsinki Whiskey Festival

Uisge 2016 whiskey festival at vanha ylioppilastalo

As Rasmus told earlier this week, Uisge Whiskey Festival was held at Vanha Ylioppilastalo (old student house) in Helsinki this weekend. I made a list of the best things at Uisge 2016 – naturally from a Finnish point of view.

The Helsinki Distilling Company

The Helsinki Distillning Company Finnish whiskey at Uisge 2016

One of the newest distilleries in Finland that I am aware of, Helsinki Distilling company participated the Uisge festival for the first time. The whiskeys are still young and they actually had a 1 year old Prelude Single Malt available for tasting. I had a taste of it and to be honest it wasn’t too bad. Let’s see where they end up in the next ten years or so.

The Helsinki Distillning Company - Helsingfors Fiskehamns akvavit and Helsinki dry gin bottles

In the mean time you might want to try their Helsinki dry gin and Helsingfors Fiskehamns Akvavit and long drinks (ready made mix of gin and juice).

Betelgeuse Design handmade Whiskey Glasses

Betelgeuse Design whiskey glass at Uisge 2016 whisky festival

At the corner of a stand stood a young man promoting quite unique whiskey glasses he had designed. Matias Lehmusjärvi, a industrial design student, told us the story how he wanted to create a handmade glass and ended up collaborating with a Finnish glass factory Nuutajärvi. His whiskey glasses are all unique and made in patches of 50 glasses after which the glass mold needs to be renewed. In other words each patch is different and since the glassblowers manufacture all glasses one by one, no glass is exactly the same.

The glasses cost about 30-40 € a piece and should be available at his online store soon at www.betelgeusedesign.com

Valamo Monastery Distillery

Well there isn’t much to say about Valamo Monastery Distillery yet (since it was established 2014), but I did find it quite interesting to notice that a monastery had also caught up to the new distillery wave here in Finland too. According to Wikipedia, The annual capacity of the Valamo distillery will be 120 000 litres, and it will be the biggest distillery in Finland in the future. I have to keep this distillery in mind in the future.

Midleton Single Cask whiskey for IWY

Midleton Single Cask whiskey for IWY

Specially selected to celebrate 10 years of Friends of Irish Whisky (IWY, Irlantilaisen Whiskin Ystävät), Midleton was one of my favourite whiskies at the whisky Festival. It is available at Alko’s whiskey selections but with a limited availability. I heard that there are about 70-80 bottles left and the price for a bottle is a bit over 200 €. Nevertheless, I do think it’s worth it and would consider buying on if I had any extra at my bank account at the moment!

-Marjo

p.s. I would also recommend trying out Teerenpeli Distelliry’s whiskies if you’re in Finland.

 

 

 

 

Uisge — Helsinki Whiskey Festival

 

This weekend it’s again time for Uisge, the biggest whiskey (or whisky) event in Finland. I have been going there regularly for some years now. Excellent, low key event that gives you the chance to sample and savor the wonderful whiskies of the world over two days.

2Q==Held at the Vanha Ylioppilastalo (Old Student House), the main area is usually very crowded. Importers, distilleries and brands big and small will have a booth in the main hall. The prices are reasonable even for the rarest bottlings. There’s also always special tastings either revolving around a theme or a brand on both days.

Despite big brands being present there’s very little commercial about the event itself. It’s more a meeting of like minds, a place to sample, socialize and meet up. In fact, I’ve ended up joining a few whisk(e)y societies while at Uisge.

The price of the entry fee includes a custom-printed Glencairn Whiskey Glass so you can nose & sample the water of life in an optimal setting. Ice water is also complimentary so you can wash your palate. All in all, a night at Uisge is guaranteed to leave you smiling. Make sure you bring along a notepad to record your impressions and note down your favorites because, this being Scandinavia, you couldn’t buy a bottle to take with you even if you tried.

Tix are available at the door, but to guarantee entry I’d recommend buying in advance through Tiketti.

ps. Due to Finnish legislation, Uisge can’t actually promote the event or even have proper website, but somehow, it’s grown quite popular still. And for further info, you can always look them up on Facebook, under UISGE Viskifestivaalit.

Lux Helsinki Light festival, Part II

Lux Helsinki 2016 light festival at Senate square, Helsinki Cathedral in lights

As Anna wrote last time, we had a light festival Lux Helsinki in the city center last week. This wasn’t the first time we had Lux Helsinki, but this year the light festival was a huge success, over 600 000 visitors walked through the parks and streets and saw the light installations.

I walked the route yesterday evening and made a short video with time lapse from it (bare with me, I’m still learning how to use my Polaroid Cube+).

If you’re planning on coming to Helsinki next year especially during winter I would most definitely recommend checking out Lux Helsinki’s time table for next January and if it will suit your travelling plans! At least I was surprised how good it was this year and how well all the light installations worked in snowy Helsinki.

Marjo

Lux Helsinki 2016 light festival senate square installation