Saturday, 27 August 2011

Night of the Arts in Helsinki

Friday was the 23rd "Night of the Arts" in Helsinki, an annual city-wide festival where artists of all kind perform throughout the city in restaurants, museums, shopping malls, and throughout the streets. With the terrific weather, the city was packed. Teenagers mainly used it as an excuse to gather en masse at Toolonlahti (a bay/lake near our apartment) for a massive underage drinking party, but others do seem to enjoy the actual arts scene.

For us, we wandered down the esplanade, then over to Kampii area to catch a cool bluegrass band that looked like the "Bears Jamboree" band from Disney, complete with banjo, big double bass, and washboards for instruments, along with big shaggy hair! The big feature for us was the medieval jousting tournament (see pictures and captions by Jacob below). Lots of other musical highlights that you can check out on the Flickr album link, such as the choir in this beautiful old church, the rock band playing from a crane suspended about 10 stories high on Hesperiankatu, along with the bluegrass band and the opera singer from the balcony.

 This is a picture of a guy on a tight rope who was on for a long long long time. He is even drinking coffee.
This is a picture of one of the knights from the medieval jousting. the jousting was cool because they charged and speared heads and the bodies blew up, then they rode passed and chopped cabbages off of poles, then they had small hoops on poles and stuck their sword through, then they jumped over the fire and stuck  their spears into the target, then they did the jousting with spears but no body fell off their horse, then they had a fire battle and one of the night's  hair cought on fire.
At the Opera House (Ooperon) there was a "Finnish Idol" type TV show filming about choirs and poetry and whether they work together (at least that's what we think given our meagre Finnish!). Anyway the scenery with Toolonlahti behind was quite nice!
this is a picture with somebody on their balcony with a crane holding up the grand piano. An opera singer performed from the balcony to the big crowd below.


  1. I enjoyed the music in the little film. It looks like a great city.

  2. Yes, there were lots of musical acts all around. The neat thing was that you could just wander around the streets and "follow your ears" and discover something different without necessarily having a set plan for the night. The Toolonlahti lake area unfortunately looked like a landfill of rubbish this morning when we walked there.

  3. I'm also following the news of your present city of domicile by reading the English version of Helsinki Sanomat.

    There was a come-on there which said, Learn to speak Finnish in three minutes. Hah! I doubt that, as Finnish is one of the world's most difficult languages, being etymologically related to the Magyar language of Hungary.

  4. Finnish isn't actually related to Hungarian they only say they are related because they are two totally weird languages.

  5. Well! It just isn't an art night unless you have a coffee drinking tight rope walker and a jousting thru fire contest replete with hair aflame and heads and bodies being blown up!!! Sadly, I have not been reading the Helsinki Sanomat or brushing up on my Uralic language history. So plowing thru any of the early renaissance works of Mikael Agricola is out of the question. Were any of you brave enough to stand under the piano? hahah. You know, you boys should have used the festival as a way to earn some extra millenium falcon cash by doing gymnastics feats at the medieval tournament. I am sure a few flips and hand stands combined with pyrotechnics would have fit right in:-) I'd hate to think Uncle Crabby would be forced into chronic alcoholism or a moutain dew fetish in order to drive the bottle count up. xoxoxox