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Summer festivals cancelled in Finland as pandemic drags on

Three big festivals have been called off as uncertainty reigns in the Finnish events industry. 

Ilosaarirockin festivaalualue heinäkuisena lauantaina kesällä 2019.
Ilosaarirock normally brings thousands of people to North Karelia. This picture is from the 2019 event. Image: Kalle Kervinen / Ilosaarirock

Four of Finland's biggest music festivals announced they would not go ahead this summer, citing uncertainty over rules governing gatherings as they cancelled for the second year in a row.

Ilosaarirock in Joensuu, Tuska festival in Helsinki and Provinssirock in Seinäjoki threw in the towel on Friday, announcing they would not be welcoming fans in 2021.

Turku's Ruisrock festival announced its own cancellation, for the second consecutive year, on Thursday.

"In the festival office we have already managed to get used to the idea, but it's a real shame," said Sami Rumpunen, who heads up Provinssirock. "It's an even bigger shame for those people who were planning to come to the festival."

He said it was a tough blow financially, but not such a knock that the festival would be threatened in future years.

Ticket holders had accepted 2021 admission after the 2020 version was cancelled, rather than asking for refunds, and Rumpunen hopes a similar arrangement will work this time.

Ilosaarirock employs six people all year round, with around a hundred temporary workers in the summer and several hundred more during the event itself.

The association behind the event, Joensuun Popmuusikot ry, has furloughed staff.

In addition, the Suviseurat gathering of Laestadian groups in North Ostrobothnia has also been cancelled due to the pandemic.

The event usually attracts around 80,000 visitors.

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