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Opera nabs biggest share of festival funding

Role-playing and heavy metal events shared this year's subsidies with traditional fine-arts festivals.

Keskiaikaisiin taisteluasuihin pukeutuneet harrastajat miekkailevat.
Espoon roolipelitapahtumassa näkyi muhevia rooliasuja, mutta myös lautapelaaminen kuuluu tapahtumaan. Image: Petra Takamäki /

Minister of Culture Paavo Arhinmäki has approved more than five million euros in support to cultural festivals. Subsidies were divvied out to nearly 170 events, including 10 first-time recipients.

The money comes from profits generated by the state-owned betting agency Veikkaus. Most went to well-established summer festivals focusing on the fine arts.

By far the biggest lump sum – 740,000 euros – goes to the Savonlinna Opera Festival, held each summer at a medieval castle in Eastern Finland. The second-largest beneficiary is the Tampere Theatre Festival, which earned 255,000 euros. Held in August, it bills itself as the Nordic region’s oldest professional theatre festival. Third was another venerable series, the Helsinki Festival, also held in August, which gets 200,000 euros. It began life as the Sibelius Weeks back in 1951, but has since expanded to include virtually every form of art.

Jazz, metal and indigenous voices

Other major recipients include the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (193,000 euros), the Kuopio Dance Festival (190,000) and the Kaustinen Folk world-music festival, which is recovering from a near-financial collapse a few years ago amid allegations of fraud. It gets a 145,000-euro shot in the arm. Close behind at 130,000 euros is the far more commercially-successful Pori Jazz Festival. These events are all staged in July except Kuopio’s which takes place in mid-June.

Among the newer events receiving funds for the first time are the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, which rolls into Helsinki in late June (20,000 euros) and Ijahis idja, an indigenous peoples’ music event, held this August for the 10 time in the far-northern town of Inari (10,000 euros). Other new recipients include Helsinki’s Runokuu (Poetry Moon) fest and the role-playing convention Ropecon, set for July in Otaniemi, Espoo.

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