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Crossing the Finnish line

It might be the most northern of all tour stops, but the land of a thousand lakes remains a popular destination for many international tours…

By IQ on 14 Jun 2016

Cheek, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland, Warner Music Live, Ralph Larman

A Warner Music Live-promoted show by Cheek at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium in 2014

image © Ralph Larman

… while, as Adam Woods discovers, Finland’s homegrown talent also keeps business buoyant.

You’d think the live business might have a problem in a country that has a word – kalsarikännit – for getting drunk at home in your underwear with no intention of going out. And then again, you wouldn’t want to do that every night, which may be one reason why Finland, despite having just 5.4 million inhabitants and standing as the third most-sparsely populated country in Europe, also has a pretty busy live scene.

When we talk about Finns, we’re talking about a dogged, proud people at the chilly top of the world, with sturdy practices, long winters and good reason to make the most of the summertime. That all translates, directly or otherwise, into a notably strong homegrown music business, flush with popular local talent, boasting a short, festival-packed summer and a robust infrastructure.

Once something of a sideline for Swedish and Norwegian promoters, Finland in the corporate age is a territory where Live Nation is strong but is matched by the competition, including indies such as recent FKP Scorpio acquisition Fullsteam and diversified major-label promoter Warner Music Live.

International stars usually make the effort to come – all the more so when nearby Russia is in favour with the western world – but Finnish acts are capable of selling out their own arenas regardless. Meanwhile, the festival scene, with internationally known events such as Provinssi, Ilosaarirock and Ruisrock, packs a lot of excitement into a narrow window, and is driven by long-standing, independently owned events.

Read the rest of this feature in issue 65 of IQ Magazine.

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