Helsinki Fest brought art to courtyards, streets and homes

On 21–23 August, Helsinki Fest spread out all over the city. In addition to over 30 intimate Block Concerts, Helsinki Fest offered more than 17 hours of streamed concert content, most of which is still available online. The weekend performances gathered over 260,000 viewers.

Celebrated over the weekend, Helsinki Fest offered more than 30 Block Concerts in courtyards and at housing companies all over Helsinki, some of which were also broadcast online and on TV. The streamed Helsinki Fest concerts featured, for example, Helsinki Chamber Choir performing Arvo Pärt’s Passio, Tasavallan Presidentti, Erja LyytinenJesse Markin, Ruusut and Pariisin Kevät as well as a wide variety of first class names in classical music and jazz, including Elina VähäläMarzi Nyman, defunensemble, Tölöläb, Elifantree as well as Jukka Perko and Senja Rummukainen.

In total, more than 17 hours of streamed concert content were broadcast during the weekend. Helsinki Fest and its pre-programme employed nearly 200 artists, freelancers in particular.

As an introduction to Helsinki Fest, almost 300 personal Art Gifts were handed out all over the city in August, performed by Finnish musicians, poets and performing arts professionals. The Art Gifts were ordered and delivered to the recipients using a new application, which was open sourced for use by event producers all over the world.

Digital billboards in the city were also given over to art for one week when seven young Nordic artists brought their works to Helsinki. The Open Art Gallery was realised in co-operation with the Nordic Platform GÁTT network.

Through the Block Concerts, Art Gifts and Open Art Gallery, the Helsinki Fest programme spread out to an exceptionally wide degree to each of the major districts of Helsinki, from east to west and north to south. In addition to the residents who watched the performances live, the broadcasts on Yle channels, HS Live and the event website gathered over 260,000 viewers and listeners. Most of the weekend’s streamed programmes are still available on HS Live and Yle Areena.

“Art Gifts and Block Concerts were so well received that they will continue as part of next year’s Helsinki Festival programme. We want to create new ways of bringing art to where people are. Art belongs everywhere!” says Artistic Director Marko Ahtisaari.

The event programme also included live performances for a limited audience, which are still available. The Mika Vainio exhibition 50 Hz, realised in co-operation with the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, is on display until January 2021. Having premiered during Helsinki Fest, Homo Homo Sapiens at Gallery Rankka and Laila at the Finnish National Opera will continue until September.

Helsinki Fest was realised in close co-operation with partners. Art Gifts were delivered in co-operation with Helsingin Sanomat, and HS Live broadcast the Tasavallan Presidentti gig, Kid’s Jam and Block Concerts to a wider audience. Elisa Kulma featured a number of pre-party gigs streamed on Facebook, and Open Art Gallery works were on display on Clear Channel and HOK-Elanto digital billboards. During Helsinki Fest, surprising Block Concerts took place in Prisma stores. OP:n Hipot made the little ones dance during Kid’s Jam, and the OP Art Foundation provided musicians with instruments to perform Art Gifts at familiar Helsinki Festival venues. Accenture took part in facilitating the Art Gifts web app.

The next Helsinki Festival will be celebrated from 19 August to 5 September 2021. The programme will be published in its entirety in June.

Photo: Pietari Purovaara