Flow Festival 2014, the crown jewel of Helsinki’s entertainment almanac, is almost upon us. The three-day extravaganza is set to kick off on Friday the 8th of August, and we couldn’t be more excited. What makes this Finnish fiesta so special? Imagine all of your favourite parts from every festival or gig you’ve ever been to, all rolled into three spectacular days. Flow Festival is so much more than your ‘typical’ festival experience. Here are our top 5 reasons why:
5. The best festival atmosphere you’ve ever experienced
If there’s one thing to be said about Finnish people, it’s that they’re an easy-going bunch of lovable souls with good hearts. Flow Festival captures this essence perfectly with an unforgettable festival ambience and a mellow spirit that seems to resonate within every individual who sets foot on the festival grounds. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly catch yourself in a long conversation with a stranger (a.k.a. new best friend) on everything from current affairs to world music to classic videogames.
Hot tip: Almost everyone in Finland speaks perfect English, but we highly recommend you take the time to learn a few words and select phrases in Finnish, if for no other reason than to impress
4. A phenomenal musical lineup
Having made a name for itself by bringing in a diverse range of esteemed musical guests from all corners of the globe – everything from old school legends to hot-to-trot newcomers – Flow absolutely dominates with its musical lineups each year. 2014 is no exception, with this year’s festival featuring Grammy-award-winning duo Outkast on their worldwide comeback tour, ever-brilliant InvasionMag favourites The National, international superstar Scandinavians Röyksopp and Robyn, genre-spanning rap legend Mos Def, Welsh masters of anthemic rock the Manic Street Preachers, and a slew of electronic behemoths including the likes of Paul Kalkbrenner, Bonobo, Jamie Xx, Kavinsky, Darkside, Jon Hopkins and hundreds more! Flow Festival also prides itself on its impressive roster of up-and-coming acts, and with a glut of smaller bands, singers and DJs playing all through the weekend you’re bound to discover something unique and amazing.
3. Art and design showcases that will make you go, “woah”
Flow Festival is about much much more than just the sounds, with a visual and performing arts programme that easily matches the musical offering in terms of scale and prestige. Film screenings, circus shows, conceptual art displays, and informative talks fill out a packed festival arts schedule that’s proven to be a hit year after year. Each year Flow also selects a ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ to create a new, elaborate piece of art in the festival area, and this year’s honour goes to Iraqi-born visual artist Adel Abidin, known worldwide for his thought-provoking videos and installations that bring into question the social backgrounds which shape us all.
Hot tip: be on the lookout for award-winning visual artist Anssi Kasitonni’s awesome robot installation, part of The Other Sound experimental music concept on show at Flow 2014.
2. Fine Nordic and international cuisine that you’ll be talking about for years to come
To say the food on offer at Flow Festival is mouth watering is something of an understatement. From soul-sizzling street snacks to tradition Finnish fare to three-course meals complete with flutes of French champagne, Flow Festival is an assortment of some of the most delectable culinary treats around, whatever your taste may be. With an emphasis on quality organic fare and a distinctly international vibe – Vietnam, Morocco, China, South America, Thailand, Mexico, India, Korea, America, Japan, Italy, and the Middle Eastern are all represented this year – the food at Flow is some of the best around. And with a plethora of vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes and desserts on offer too we can almost guarantee that you’ll leave Flow with your stomach smiling.
Hot tip: try the gourmet burger at the Restaurant Grotesk stand, and then follow it up with a dessert from Raw Spot – you won’t be disappointed!
1. Great weather and the chance to explore one of Europe’s coolest cities
With temperatures hovering around the blissful 20°C mark and the festival itself not kicking off until mid-afternoon each day, there’s plenty of time and every excuse to explore Helsinki’s sights and sounds. From its coolest-of-cool cafes, parks, museums and public spaces, to the Kallio district’s second-hand and vintage stores, all the way down to the city’s wood-heated public saunas and massive “adult playground” (Taitoliikuntakeskus) filled with trampolines, spring floors and foam pits, Helsinki quite literally has something for everyone. The city’s bars and clubs will be especially bustling too while the festival is on, so make sure you get out there and enjoy it with the locals!
Hop tip: Finland is world-famous for being the home of some of the world’s most innovative designers. Be sure to pay a visit to the boutique stores in Helsinki’s hip Punavuori district for a peek at what’s hot in the design and fashion scenes right now.
Flow Festival 2014 runs from the Friday the 8th to Sunday the 10th of August 2014 on the site of Helsinki’s Suvilahti power plant. You can grab your tickets over at the official Flow Festival website, or check out the 2014 Europe Festival Guide for more details.