The usually desolate cement landscape around the defunct power plant in Helsinki’s Suvilahti swarmed with hipsters and music fans on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, as the Flow Festival brought some of the most cutting-edge acts in popular music to over a dozen stages.
The weathered industrial buildings among old gas cylinders and chimneys also hosted film shows and art installations, among other colourful diversions.
With one more day to go of the festival – which ends on Sunday – it looked likely that the event would break its audience record by attracting 60,000 people over four days. This is about 10,000 more than the previous year.
Some dark clouds hung over the old power plant, however. Cancellations have plagued the festival, and this Friday soul giant Bobby Womack and a hot new contender in the genre, Frank Ocean, failed to materialize in Suvilahti.
This did little to dent the enthusiasm of revellers. The festival had already got off to a flying start, with U.S. singer-songwriter Bon Iver kicking off proceedings on Nokia’s Blue Tent stage on Wednesday evening. The indie-rock star wowed the hungry Finnish audience as well as critics with his mesmerizing wall of sound and Grammy-winning songs.
A heady mix of talent
Flow offers an eclectic mix of big names from the alternative music world as well as inventive new acts, both international and home-grown.
Perfectly fitting the festival bill, Yann Tiersen from France blasted synthesizer-fuelled tunes from the main stage on Friday evening. Tiersen is best known for composing the music for the Oscar-nominated French film Amélie.
Flow also offers top DJ-talent. This year tipsy crowds danced the night away to the beats of the likes of Four Tet and Caribou.
The festival, which the English daily Guardian recently listed as one of the most ‘picturesque’ in Europe, climaxes on Sunday night as Björk brings her Biophilia show, a high-tech spectacular of sound and visuals exploring science and nature, to Suvilahti.