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Lively Festival Weekend Wraps up Warm July

The final weekend of July brought thousands to cultural events around the country, from the Kotka Maritime Festival to the Faces 'ethno festival' in western Uusimaa.

The Kotka Maritime Festival on the south-eastern coast drew 150,000 people, about the same as last year. Organisers were pleased that attendance remained high despite a change of venue away from the harbour itself. The event was moved because of construction of the new the Maritime Museum of Finland, slated to open next year.

At the old Billnäs forge in Pohja, western Uusimaa, the Faces 'ethno festival' offered an expanded array of events in its ninth year. Along with some 130 musical performers, the festival weekend featured films, dance, workshops, panels and a buskers' competition. Organisers reported attendance of 12,000, a major leap from 9,000 the year before.

One of the festival's headliners, P. R. (Palestinian Rappers) was forced to cancel their performance at the festival. Finland approved their visas a month in advance, but their delivery from Tel Aviv to Gaza was blocked because of the violence in the area.

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