A violin player and a listener on a balcony

Hundreds of Art Gifts presented around the city before the Helsinki Fest weekend

The annual Helsinki Festival will not be held this summer, but a Helsinki Fest festival weekend will take place on 21–23 August on urban yards, online, on the radio and on TV. Art will be close to everyone, when residential yards become venues for intimate block concerts, and the citizens of Helsinki can delight their friends and family with personal Art Gifts. Anyone can go online to order a performance as an Art Gift for someone else. The Art Gifts are delivered in early August in cooperation with Helsingin Sanomat as a prelude to Helsinki Fest.

Art may touch anyone even at their homes in August, when hundreds of Art Gifts are delivered around Helsinki as a part of the Helsinki Fest festival weekend. Art Gifts are performed by 20 Finnish frontline musicians, by other performing art professionals and by poets. The contents of an Art Gift are a surprise both to the sender of the gift and the recipient, and the performer is revealed only on the spot. The performers include dancer Minna Tervamäki, cellist Markus Hohti, violinist Tami Pohjola and poet Harri Hertell. These short performances are conducted safely, for example, on the yard, at the building entrance or at the balcony of the gift recipient.

Art Gifts are free of charge. They comprise unique art experiences that can be ordered by anyone for a friend or family member living in Helsinki. Art Gifts can be ordered online at https://taidelahja.helsinkifest.fi/en/ until 6 August or until gifts run out. There are close to 300 Art Gifts available for order.

“Many people have used apps like those of Wolt and Uber to order meals and rides on their smartphones in recent years. After this exceptional spring season, we and Helsingin Sanomat partnered to offer an equally easy method to order an Art Gift for a friend or family member – a short delightful performance taking place, for example, on grandmother’s home yard,” says Marko Ahtisaari, the artistic director of Helsinki Fest.

The Art Gifts will be delivered during 7–9 August, to attune their recipients to celebrate the Helsinki Fest festival weekend and to watch and listen concert broadcasts and webcasts ranging from classical music to jazz to indie music. The Helsinki Fest programme will be seen and heard on 21–23 August around the city, on HS Live and on the channels of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle.

On Friday 21 August, HS Live will stream a special gig by the crown jewel of the Finnish progressive rock scene, the legendary Tasavallan Presidentti, a band that has been preaching the gospel of progressive rock in Finland and abroad for 50 years. The concert is realized in cooperation with the Viapori Jazz festival.

On Saturday 22 August, HS Live will focus on families with a children’s jam session. This delightful morning event features many children’s favourites, including Mimmie, Flip Flop, Maukka and Väykkä, and OP:n Hippot, who inspire children to move to their tunes.

HS Live will allow the audience to take a peek at block concerts on private yards during the Helsinki Fest weekend, to see and hear, for example, Pekka Kuusisto and Maria Ylipää perform their versions of music by Avicii.

The Art Gift app was developed by Counterpoint in cooperation with the Helsinki Events Foundation team. 

Helsinki Fest weekend 21–23 August 2020. See the programme at https://helsinkifest.fi/en/. 

The Helsinki Fest weekend is made possible by the partners Helsingin Sanomat, Elisa and OP, by the sponsors Accenture, HOK-Elanto and Clear Channel, and by the suppliers PunaMusta, Heku and Renault. The event has been supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The Helsinki Fest festival weekend is an event produced by the Helsinki Events Foundation. The Helsinki Events Foundation seeks to develop Helsinki into an ever more functional and attractive event city. The Helsinki Events Foundation is a part of the Helsinki City Group.

Photo: Niklas Sandström