In the coming summer, the City of Helsinki is putting extra effort in live events at the Espa Stage in order to promote the city residents’ wellbeing and revitalise the city centre now that the coronavirus restrictions have eased. The summer programme starts on Thursday, 19 May with two brilliant performers, Maria Ylipää and Emma Salokoski. The summer season culminates in an extended closing weekend on 1–4 September.
This year, the programme of the Espa Stage focuses on cultural diversity. During the summer, audiences will get to enjoy Cuban and African rhythms, Sámi songs, fascinating discussions, poetry, dance, and various themed events. The number of free events is unprecedented, as the city wishes to contribute to the wellbeing of city residents and to the recovery of the cultural field from the pandemic. The stage is expected to attract many listeners – city residents and tourists alike – to enjoy encounters and diverse cultural offerings.
The opening weekend starts already on Thursday, 19 May with two great ensembles. Singer Maria Ylipää and accordion artist Niko Kumpuvaara take to the stage at 17.00, performing material by Ylipää & Friends as well as versions of Piazzolla’s most beloved compositions. The evening continues at 18.30 with Emma Salokoski & Mikael Konttinen Quartet.
On Friday, 20 May, Entäs Peltonen? takes its turn on the stage. The band is known for its cheerfully energetic live performances which combine Finnish guitar pop with funk vibes and rock influences. Saturday, 21 May marks the return of Espa’s Big Band Marathon after a break of a few years. The set will feature a diverse array of big band music, from funky summer hits to more traditional tunes. The line-up includes Ladies First Big Band, Ebeli Big Band, Henri Lintula & Birdy Big Band, and Reunion Big Band.
Highlights from the summer programme
The MIL-Espa concert series brings together military and popular music and has entertained audiences in Esplanade Park since 1927. This summer, there will be no less than nine concerts by the various ensembles of military bands. The first concert on Friday, 20 May features the Guards Band, whose repertoire consists of marches and popular music, soloist performances, as well as rich, atmospheric moments. The concert will be conducted by Major (mus.) Timo Kotilainen, with musicians of the Guards Band as soloists.
The popular Open Stage series of performances will continue again this year, with 16 performers or ensembles on the stage on eight days from May to August. The Open Stage call resulted in approximately 140 applications, from which the widest possible range of representatives of different music styles were selected, including soul, blues, folk music, indie rock, and rap. The Open Stage performances begin on Tuesday, 24 May with Katri O and Delado. Some of the gigs will also be broadcast on the Radio Helsinki frequency and can be listened to afterwards as recordings.
PIIRA (Piirainen Blom Saarenkylä), a group that combines folk music and dance, takes over the stage on Sunday, 29 May. PIIRA’s roots in Finnish music and dance traditions grow into fast-paced and surprising performances for the enjoyment of listeners and viewers.
On Wednesday, 6 July, Eino Leino Day is celebrated at Espa with performances combining poetry and music. The winner of the second Eino Leino poetry prize, worth EUR 5,200, will be announced at the event.
Tovik Choir 27 May
Alternative Beats Club 28 May
Young talents of Helsinki International Ballet Competition 4 June
Helsinki Day events 12 June
Jazz-Espa 25–31 July
Etno-Espa 1–10 August
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble 12 August
Helsinki Talks events 23–25 August
Detailed information on the events of the spring and summer will be updated on the Espa Stage website and announced on its Facebook and Instagram pages. All events are free of charge and wheelchair accessible.
Emmaliisa Kaikkonen, Cultural Producer, +358 40 485 7707, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Helsinki, Culture and Leisure, Espa Stage
Anu Ojanen, Communications Specialist, +358 40 523 9005, email@example.com
City of Helsinki, Culture and Leisure, Communication and Marketing Services
Photo: City of Helsinki/Petteri Lehtinen
The news has been published on 17.5. and has been updated on 19.5.