The summer season of Espa Stage starts on 16 May – a wide variety of music, dance and circus performances throughout the summer

The centre of summertime Helsinki is Espa Stage, the programme of which has a record-breaking level of diversity this year as well. The programme features nearly 250 performances for all ages until 31 August. Over the course of the summer, the stage will be taken by artists such as Arja Saijonmaa, Samae Koskinen and Paleface. All of the events are free of charge.
Espa Stage is the centre of summertime Helsinki. Photo: Jussi Hellsten
Espa Stage is the centre of summertime Helsinki. Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Espa Stage will feature an opening concert on Thursday 16 May, launching a diverse summer of culture right at the heart of Helsinki. This summer, Espa Stage will feature jazz, folk music, pop, ethno, rock, classical, dance and circus performances. The popular theme weeks Jazz-Espa and Etno-Espa will be held in July and August, and the stage will also feature the MIL-Espa concert series by the military orchestras of the Finnish Defence Forces, starting on Friday 24 May with a Ray Charles tribute concert by the Air Force Big Band and Sami Pitkämö. As usual, the programme for the summer also features Helsinki Day and Night of the Arts concerts.

The Weekly Open Stage concerts starting on Friday 17 May will feature performances by passionate music hobbyists or artists still waiting for their breakthrough. Over the course of the summer, the Open Stage will feature 49 artists or bands, such as prog rock group Overhead on 6 June and Elias Nieminen Ensemble’s combination of classical and popular music on 11 July.

Starting at 17.00, the opening concert on Thursday 16 May will feature indie electropop artist Iris Kukka, harmonica quartet Sväng and jazz singer Anna Inginmaa.

Concerts by artists such as Arja Saijonmaa, Meta4 and Samae Koskinen in June

In June, Espa Stage will be filled with hot international rhythms as the stage is taken by the Chilean fusion band Calle Mambo on 7 June. During Midsummer week, perennial star of the Finnish music scene Arja Saijonmaa will have her first concert on Espa Stage on 19 June, and the Seurasaari Foundation will hold a folk dance and music event. Having recently released a new album, Samae Koskinen will take Espa Stage on 14 June. The park will also receive a blast of punk rock from Tumppi Varonen the same day. For a change of atmosphere, Kirsi Poutanen will perform wistful fado on 28 June, and those craving classical music will be catered to by the legendary Meta4 on 2 June.

Artists such as Paleface, Jaakko Ryhänen and Jyrki Anttila featured in July

In July, people will be entertained by Paleface and Laulava Unioni on 12 July, while Knucklebone Oscar will belt out their brand of rock music. The Espa Stage programme for July also features the international Tall Ships Races sailing event. One of the most interesting sessions of the season will be king bass singer Jaakko Ryhänen’s playful singing masterclass on 17 July, with tenor Jyrki Anttila shining as a star pupil. In the middle of the month, everyone will be invited to sing in the group singing session orchestrated by Sulasol on 15 July. Tango lovers will be entertained by Teijo Lindström on 24 July, while indie pop enthusiasts will be delighted by Satu Lii  on 19 July.

Jazz-Espa and Etno-Espa providing thrills in August

For the first half of the month, the stage will be taken over by the Jazz-Espa festival from 29 July to 3 August and the Etno-Espa festival from 5 to 15 August. The programme of the festivals features performances by artists such as Selma Savolainen and her band Horror Vacui, who are known for their darker shades of jazz, the Skolt Sami group Suõmmkar and Iranian artist Mehrnoosh. The Night of the Arts will feature a performance by fresh Etno-Emma award winner Vilma Jää. Towards the end of the month, the stage will be taken by Liisa Akimof on 30 August and Leija Lautamaja on 31 August.

Families with children may encounter characters such as Aarne Alligaattori or Mimi and Kuku at Espa Stage

The programme of Espa Stage will cater to families with children throughout the summer. On 19 May, the stage will feature the circus performance ‘We Are the Champions’ by Simon Circus, who have toured with their show across Europe. On 16 June, children will be delighted by the hugely popular Aarne Alligaattori. On 1 July, master cellist Jussi Makkonen will play Sibelius for children, and on Saturday 27 July, the stage will be taken by perennial children’s favourites Mimi and Kuku. In August, the youngest members of the family will be entertained by acts such as the Nallekopla ensemble of Helsinki Police Symphonic Band on 28 August.

The closing ceremony of Espa Stage will be held on 31 August. All the events of the summer season will be announced at leads to external service).