Night of the Arts kicks off Helsinki Festival on Thursday

Hundreds of events on the Night of the Arts will kick off Helsinki Festival on Thursday, 17 August. During the evening, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra concert will be broadcast live from the Helsinki Music Centre to parks across the city, and people will be able to watch the terrifying final scenes of some disaster films in Kansalaistori Square. Helsinki Festival will continue until 3 September.

The festival music will literally be heard all over the city on the Night of the Arts as a Helsinki-themed concert performed by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste, will be broadcast live from the Helsinki Music Centre to parks across the city through the 5G network connections implemented by Elisa, the festival’s main partner. The free Music in the parks (Puistot soimaan) concerts can be enjoyed, picnic style, in Kaivopuisto, Lapinlahti and Sinebrychoff parks on the Night of the Arts and over the festival’s opening weekend, 17-19 August. The Tallis Scholars’ concert from Temppeliaukio Church will be broadcast to the parks on Friday, 18 August, and on Saturday, 19 August, a celebration of the 40-year career of singer Jonna Tervomaa will be streamed from Huvila.

“Demand for experiences is growing, and it’s difficult to get tickets for the most popular events. Digitalisation makes it possible to organise events using multiple channels to reach wider audiences, and the Helsinki Festival park concerts, which are open to everyone, are a great example of this. Elisa’s 5G network Stand Alone technology will ensure that music from the concerts is transmitted to the parks through a data transmission band at high quality,” says Petteri Svensson, Head of Mobile & Fixed Network Subscriptions and Services for B2B customers at Elisa.

Viewers will be able to watch Final scenes of disaster movies in Kansalaistori Square on the Night of the Arts in a participatory project organised by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen. The couple, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary as artists, asked people to submit manuscripts for fictional final scenes of disaster films set in Kansalaistori Square. Selected scenes were shot this summer with the help of about a hundred volunteer actors and will now be screened to live accompaniment by the cult band Cleaning Women. The work will be implemented in collaboration with Helsingin Sanomat. Continuing with the disaster film theme, the event in the square will end with an outdoor screening of Airplane! (1980).

“The world’s disasters are often created by humans, but on the other hand, humans also are part of the solution. We were delighted with the enthusiasm of the citizens to come up with ideas for the last minutes of disaster movies and act in the selected scenes. It felt good to deal with real fears and problems together with others, through imagination and collective play. Film shootings at Kansalaistori, which took place mainly at night times, were a great experience, and we are excitedly waiting for the work to culminate in the Night of the Arts”, say Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen.

The Night of the Arts celebrations will spread across Helsinki with hundreds of other free events. The programme will include open rehearsals at various theatres, dance, circus, literary events and discussions, open doors to museums as well as a great variety of live music. The Night of the Arts gigs include the programme of Etno-Espa as well as Elojuhla in Stoa and events at other cultural centres in Helsinki. There will also be opera from an archway, piano music on the shores of Töölönlahti bay and Tatu Rönkkö’s percussion improvisation in Huvilanranta, among others. In addition to Kansalaistori Square, films will be screened in venues such as the inner courtyard of the City Museum, Kino Engel, Tiivistamö, Teurastamo and Dance House Helsinki. The Night of the Arts programme is created in collaboration with Helsinki residents, and events can be announced until 15 August. The up-to-date programme is available online at

Helsinki Festival will be launched at the Helsinki Music Centre, Huvila and Dance House Helsinki

Helsinki Festival will fill the city with cultural experiences until 3 September. The main festival venues are the Helsinki Music Centre and Dance House Helsinki together with Huvila and Huvilanranta. The opening concert by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra will be followed by other classical music concerts, including performances by Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, the Aurora orchestra, which will play Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring entirely from memory, and O/Modernt, which combines contemporary composers and old music in a creative way. The festival will also feature the premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s last work, trumpet concerto HUSH. The sold-out concert will be broadcast live on Yle’s channels.

The Huvila stage will host acts such as the superstar of Ethiopian jazz, Mulatu Astatke; Beth Orton in her first performance in Finland; Johnny Marr, who started his career in music with The Smiths; John Cale, who is also known as the founder of The Velvet Underground; and one of the hottest rock bands of the moment, Nothing But Thieves. The top Finnish artists to perform in Huvila include Jonna Tervomaa, Katri Helena, Tuomari Nurmio and Arppa as well as Sanni, who celebrates her 10 years in the music business, and Egotrippi, which will play its 30th anniversary concert. On the opening night of 17 August, the stage will be taken by some of the most interesting R&B and hip-hop artists of the moment, such as Yeboyah, F, Hassan Maikal, Pesso, Yrjänä and Figaro.

During the Festival, Dance House Helsinki will feature Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring, which premiered in 1975 and will be performed by an ensemble of more than 30 dancers from 14 African countries, as well as Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo’s duet Common Ground(s). The Festival’s performing arts programme includes Tiia Kasurinen’s ONSTAGE – The Concert, a dive into the world of pop stars and club gigs, as well as Two Phone Calls, a documentary theatre performance that dissects political power. Dance House Helsinki will also host Ajamana by Juhani Nuorvala, Tölöläb and Awake Percussion, inspired by the techno scene.

The diverse programme will also be offered by Helsinki Festival’s friendship festivals: Alakulttuuripäivä, Art goes Kapakka, Helsinki Contemporary Opera Festival, Outsider Art Festival, Poetry Moon, SAMPO Festival, Teatteri Sirkus Suosalo and Viapori Jazz.

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Helsinki Festival’s main partners are Helsingin Sanomat and Elisa, the sponsor is Accenture and service partners include Akun tehdas, Helsinki Bryggeri, Heku, Marski by Scandic and Renault.

Image: Pietari Purovaara