Flow Festival was fantastic.
It’s no shock to most people who know me that I have never been to a festival before. As Suvi Kallio, the MD of Flow Festival put it to me, “this isn’t a very accurate representation of most music festivals, if this is your first one”. It was still bloody good though.
Bear in mind, the thought of standing around in a field listening to artists whose recordings I’d much rather listen to quietly on my iPod in a room through fancy headphones is far preferable to me. Contrast that to a crowd of several thousand people all vying to see the artist live and being deafened by the speaker systems, that’s not my idea of fun.
Actually though, the festival experience isn’t bad. I mean, you must realise that I have deliberately always avoided going to festivals as a teenager because I knew that it would get “rowdy” and that people would be drunk and get into fights. That isn’t fun, that’s not even enjoying the music.
Flow Festival is a fantastic three days just outside of Helsinki City Centre, with musicians, experimental art and plenty to eat. “It’s important that we book a festival which we would like to be at ourselves”, says Suvi, I can see that they definitely have.
The work goes into preparing the festival year round, discovering new artists and opening up negotiations. Beck was one of the main acts this year on the programme. The team had spent between two and three years getting him to appear, finally he did.
“In the past, we’ve thought about getting in acts who could have sold out tickets for a particular day, just like that, but that isn’t the aim of the festival, we want it to be brilliant, not just profitable.” – Tuomas Kallio, Artistic Director
And they’ve certainly succeeded in making something super.
From something which started from a few thousand people coming for a weekend of Asian food and some artists, Flow Festival has grown into something magical.
Yes, I know the festival experience given to a journalist with a press pass is massively different to what you’d otherwise receive, but I’d buy tickets and go along as a spectator next year. I seriously would.