Sunday, October 16, 2011

Helsinki Festival

The 2011 Helsinki Festival was held from August 19 to September 4. There were some 184,000 guests who attended Finland’s largest cultural event. The festival is held on annual basis during summer. The mission of the festival is to make “arts” accessible to all. And a great way to see this festival is via a Helsinki Campervan!

What has the Helsinki Festival has to offer? For one, the festival serves as a venue for artists in different artistic disciplines. Second, the festival provides enthusiastic and artistically inclined guests the chance to immerse themselves in cultural and artistic performances in music, theatre, art exhibitions, films, dance, children’s programs and even the circus. Since its beginnings in 1968, the Festival has had a string of internationally renowned artists.

One of the most popular events is the Night of the Arts or Taiteiden yö). This is the time when the city is open for anyone who wants to perform in the streets and in the parks. If you are touring Helsinki in a motorhome, how thrilling it would be to just hook-up in one of the motorhome parks in the city and join the throng of “artists” performing city-wide.

The Helsinki Festival is an off-shoot of Sibelius Viikot (Sibelius Week) which was a classical music festival than ran from 1951 to 1965. In 1968, the city of Helsinki established the Helsinki Festival as a broader venue for artistic presentation and performances. Many of the main concerts are held in the Huvila Festival tent built annually in one of the parks in the city of Helsinki. Other performances are held at the Korjaamo Culture Factory in Töölö.

The Helsinki Festival is presently handled by the Board Members of the Helsinki Week Foundation. The board members are natives of Helsinki and elected to seat as members for two years. Artists are personally invited by the board to perform which means one need not “apply” to be part of the line up.

The next Helsinki Festival is set on August 17, 2012 up to September 2, 2012. If you are interested in watching some of the presentations, the organizers release the festival’s program sometime in April. The Festival’s program guide is also published at about this time. The events are grouped by genre but the program does include an alphabetized and by-date listings. You can get a copy of the program from libraries in Helsinki, from Lippupalvelu outlets, STOA, Kanneltalo and Malmitalo. You can get copies too from cafés in the city. You can also get a copy by mail if you send the organizers an email to join their mailing list.

Tickets for the events at the Festival are on sale starting May 5 at Lippupalvelu. You can also buy tickets online. Discounts are available for certain groups such as students, senior citizens, those under 18, servicemen, the unemployed and those employed in the cultural sector. It is best to bring an ID just in case you are asked to prove your eligibility. In case a show is cancelled, refunds are in order. In case you were not able to buy tickets prior to the event, you can still buy tickets in August.

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