2-4.7.2010, Kaisaniemi, Helsinki, Finland.
I almost hate to start this way, because I will be hard-pressed to top this, but here it goes. My first entry is about the totally incredible, fucking metal, sold-out TUSKA FESTIVAL 2010 in Helsinki.
Should you feel like going to a European metal festival and have never been to one before, I highly recommend that you make Tuska your first.
Reason #1: Always a good lineup. This year I had my face melted by Tarot*, The Devin Townsend Project*, Testament, and Nevermore*, along with others (list at the bottom of the page). However, being the history buff that I am, I studied everything on the festival’s website. Their history is full of amazing Finnish bands, from Sonata Arctica to Finntroll** to Korpiklaani*** to Lordi and is big enough to attract names from all over the world such as Amon Amarth from Sweden, Blind Guardian* from Germany, Behemoth from Poland, and DIO, W.A.S.P. and Nevermore from the United States. Plus, the festival also showcases many excellent, very local bands straight from Helsinki; Rytmihäiriö, Barren Earth**, I’m looking at you!
Reason #2: Finnish people are some of the most friendly, intelligent, and generally wonderful people in the world (and they speak English almost 100% of the time, probably with much more proficiency than your Finnish). Plus, if they like metal, they REALLY like metal. I will teach you all the Finnish you will ever need to know to travel around in Helsinki right now: “Olen Amerikalainen”. Roll the r. It’s pretty straight-forward.
Reason #3.1: Traveling to the festival is absurdly easy. Taken straight from the festival’s website:
“The festival site is in the very heart of the Helsinki. Just 300m from the railway station. Getting lost is very difficult.”
This is very true for this year and the previous ones. But as of next year this event will be held at Suvilahti, very close to where it has previously been held in Kaisaniemi Park, due to the festival’s need to accommodate more people. My city spidey-sense can take perfectly good directions and turn them into completely unusable crap. However a 33,000-attendee festival is very hard to miss.
Reason 3.2: Where it is. Directly in the heart of Helsinki means no camping out. It does mean nice hotels with real beds and showers and other running water. This also means that the party doesn’t stop when the festival closes, it just moves all over the place. There were several clubs that held events for festival-goers after the gates closed, and even if a certain bar or venue in the vicinity wasn’t holding a festival-sponsored event it was packed with metalheads anyways. You might think that after such a rad festival you’d want to go straight to the room and crash. Try it. With about an hour of dusk between when the sun sets and rises at this time of year in Helsinki, it will surprise you how awake you feel at two in the morning.
Reason 3.3: Plane tickets to Finland are much more affordable than you think. Really. About $500 each way. Not bad, considering England is a thousand.
So that’s why you should go to this festival. It was my first time there, but it certainly won’t be my last. Now, for those of you that would like a bit more about my short stay in Finland, check back next week! Muahahahaha! (why it was so short is a different post)…
Kiitos paljon to Mika Hyvärinen for so graciously allowing me to use his photos from Tuska!
Lastly, I’ll just leave this here.
*These people are touring. Tarot is doing one show in the States as of now, at PowerProg USA XI in Atlanta, GA. The Devin Townsend Project and Nevermore are touring extensively throughout the States (DTP put on one of the best sets I’ve ever seen, plus its their first solo headlining tour). Nevermore tore the place apart in Helsinki, so I can only assume that it would be the same in their native country. If I have to tell you who Blind Guardian is, what are you doing reading this blog. Anyways. Go support them!
**The Finnish Metal Tour 2: Finntroll, Ensiferum, Rotten Sound and Barren Earth are going on tour through the US in early 2011. Go if you can. I saw Finntroll early this year when they came around with Moonsorrow and Swallow the Sun. It was amazing.
***Korpiklaani has announced that they will be putting out an album around February of 2011. Details: http://korpiklaani.com/index2.html