1. The headliners
Tuska has a tendency to pick some headliners that are not necessarily bands that are often booked as such, and has in the past shown to be able to predict which bands might become major players in the nearby future. And this year is the return of some of those bands they’ve had as headliners before.
Back in 2016, before anyone else had the foresight to bring them in as headliners, they had Ghost booked as such, which resulted in a memorable show and a completely sold out day. Now, after over half a decade, they make a glorious return as one of the biggest contemporary rock bands to close the festival weekend on the Sunday.
And a similar story with the French metal masters of Gojira, where they already proved in a great way to be headliner worthy back in 2018, and have now grown out to be an absolute mastodon within the metal scene. After touring through the world, selling out many arena shows, they’re coming back to the holy grounds of Tuska to blow us away yet again on the Friday.
And then there is the Saturday headliner. VV, better known as Ville Valo, isn’t an unfamiliar sight on the Tuska main stage. In 2017, he ruled that very same stage with HIM as the headliners, wrapping up the band’s lengthy career in front of thousands of fans and plenty of tears. While we all still miss HIM, this is the closest we’ll get to seeing that band again at the moment, and from what we’ve seen and heard, this will be a show that will be enjoyed by many!
2. The Finnish music scene
It’s quite well-known that Finland has very fertile grounds considering rock and metal music. And overall, Finnish festivals seem to have a rule that they give a lot of attention to the talent they have in their own neighborhood. So going to a festival like Tuska means that you’ll be able to enjoy many Finnish bands, both absolute legends and bands that you otherwise rarely would see outside of their country. And this year has a pretty stacked bill again on that level with popular bands like Lost Society, Mokoma, Diablo, Turmion Kätilöt, Ville Valo, Swallow The Sun, Finntroll, …and Oceans and Marko Hietala, but also smaller, lesser known or underground bands like Kúru, Kouta, Vansidian, Sepulchral Curse, Galvanizer, Foreseen, Miseria Ultima, Brymir, Silver Bullet, Slash The Smile, Nervebreak, Solothus, Dirt, Ashen Tomb, Smackbound, Irrational Cause, Dreamtale, Xysma, and Vermilia!
3. Up-and-coming bands and future greats
Tuska has always room and an eye for up-and-coming talents and future greats, which is no different this edition. You won’t want to miss bands like Vended (an absolutely ferocious live band with offspring from Slipknot members), Imminence (Swedish metalcore band that has proven to bring high energy shows), Jinjer (finally on the main stage after last year making the tent of the tent stage almost bursting out of its seams), Orbit Culture (groove and riff masters from Sweden that manage to combine the best of melodic death metal with some touches of Metallica-like sounds), Haken (a proggy/quirky band having risen steadily in popularity lately), Dirt (hard rock/grunge/rock ‘n’ roll locals that are immensely popular in their neighborhood, but with a sound that will make them break through into the world at some point), Lorna Shore (the kings of deathcore at the moment, and somewhat of a viral sensation), Electric Callboy (who are sure to make the Tent stage burst with a party people will talk about for a long time still), or The Hu (Mongolian rock/metal brought with traditional instruments and plenty of throat singing). And then we’re probably forgetting a few still…
4. Tuska KVLT
Since last year, Tuska has a new concept to give a platform to lesser known and underground bands to play at a bigger festival and hopefully get discovered by a bunch of people roaming around the festival grounds. Tuska KVLT brings a fine selection of up-and-coming and established underground names, in combination with starting bands that get a spot on the bill by the band members taking part in the KVLT arrangement where they offer their volunteering services some time during the weekend.
This time we get a selection of really solid and established names within their scene like Sepulchral Curse, Galvanizer, Foreseen, Miseria Ultima, Bob Malmström, Dirt, Ashen Tomb, Dreamtale, Vermilia, and …and Oceans, filled out with unknown and even starting bands like Kúru, Kouta, Vansidian, Slash The Smile, Angles Mortis, Nervebreak, Solothus, and Irrational Cause. And a surprisingly really special treat with the Danish metal band Nakkeknækker, a death metal band of which the only music you can find online, are a couple of live videos here and there.
If at any time during the weekend you’re looking for anything that is a touch more extreme and underground, or fresh and new, make sure you check out what is next on the Tuska KVLT stage. You might end up discovering the next big thing really early on in their career!
5. Tuska Expo
Since a couple of editions of Tuska ago, they have brought the Tuska Expo to the festival grounds. Tuska Expo has stands and vendors with things that speak to many of the alternative people and metalheads that visit the event. In the past we’ve seen a barber, body art/modification stand, Metalheads Against Bullying, black metal inspired vegan soaps, jewelry and so on. It’s always a bit looking forward to seeing what new things are coming to the expo for us to discover, and this year is really taking the cake!
Last year, we commented on the fact that the space where Tuska Expo was held, was getting a bit cramped and too hot and stuffy to be really enjoyable, and it seems our prayers have been heard. They’ve moved it to a new, and bigger location on the festival grounds. Which means that they have more room and thus this will be the biggest Tuska Expo in the history of the event! Not only there are more stands and vendors than ever before, but there is even a complete side event “Pakanalliset Syysmessut Goes Tuska” or “Pagan Autumn Fair Goes Tuska”! There are workshops on corpse paint, palm reading, jewelry making, and many other things to discover whenever you don’t feel the need to get blasted by some heavy music! Check out what you can find this year right here:
AIONI is an esoteric bookshop and antiquarian B&M in Ullanlinna, Helsinki. From AIONI you can find a huge amount of both new and old occult and philosophic literature. AIONI’s specialty are Viides Askel publications, which are related to occultism, theistic satanism and archaic culture.
Beard Park’s barbershop serves now customers also at Tuska festival! If you need a haircut or a beardtrim, don’t hesitate to come. They have also products for your hair and beard, and much more!
Bard & Jester
Bard & Jester specializes in leather goods and designs and manufactures everything from fantasy, medieval, and Viking armors to steampunk and post-apocalyptic-inspired attire. Their selection also includes various related accessories, such as special sunglasses, telescopes, sun and pocket watches, protective eyewear, and much more!
Ice Breakers For Vikings
The Icebreakers for Vikings drinking game is the ultimate party starter that breaks the ice even in a stiff crew! You can take the deck of cards with you anywhere, to a bar, a picnic, a party!
Totentanz offers stylish black attire with attitude. Here, you can find clothes, accessories, and home decor for every night queen’s and prince of darkness’s castle and lair.
Kaamos Co. will enrich Tuska Expo with corpse paint themed Spatanic® goods, including the new black metal rubber ducks, the famous Corpse Paint Soaps and skin care masks, and sauna textiles. You will also find their hand blended organic Spatanic beard and hair oils and other (ab)bathroom related products!
Impossible Bodyart displays an extensive spectrum of body arts at Tuska Expo. Talented and experienced artists working in this booth offer tattoos, body piercing, corpse paints, and hand made body jewellery. For those willing to explore the extreme end, Impossible Bodyart facilitates an opportunity to see or experience body suspension.
The Paskakauppa (Shit Shop) boutique offers all kinds of lovely shit, just as its name suggests.
Annananna is the candy store of your dreams in Helsinki and online, thus covering the entire country of Finland! You can get gluten-free, vegan, and mixed candies in a bag or box, they also deliver the sweets to your home. Only sweet memories!
TDP Clothing is a tattoo inspired streetwear brand with the aim of showing tattoos under a completely new perspective. Adapting tattoo designs to the streetwear aesthetic, TDP created a new way of wearing tattoos on a daily basis.
Metalheads Against Bullying’s mission is to engage people in the fight against bullying.
Tuska is pleased and honored to include a complete side event at Tuska Expo, organized by Sysimaa: Pagan Autumn Fair Goes Tuska (Pagan Autumn Fair Goes To Tuska). This fair, focusing on Nordic folklore and mythology, includes for example various workshops and store stands such as Magiapuoti selling domestic witchcraft and ritual products, Ulottuvuusmatkat offering temporary tattoos and corpse paint, Pieni Noitapuoti selling witchcraft and shamanism-related handicrafts, Kuu Tarot by Laura Luna providing tarot readings, Vainajala producing ritual drums and handicrafts, Valkhea offering esoteric healing treatments, Glimmering Deep Designs and Sir Roi as jewelry makers, Iinan Kristallipuoti providing magical products, Suomen Noitaopisto introducing the secrets of witchcraft, Aikuiseksi Energiahoito offering energy healing, Korvenloitsu selling eco clothes, accessories and drums, the handicraft jewellery maker MyKoru and Voimaa ja Valoa offering energy healings with Horstmann technique.For more detailed schedules on some of the workshops, go check it out here.
6. Food court
Tuska doesn’t only put in a lot of effort in selecting the bands they bring in, or even the vendors for Tuska Expo, but always makes sure that we have a very diverse selection of foods we could pick something from. Conveniently, they’ve gathered most of those food providers in the festival “food court”, so you have a good overlook on what your choices are. And it feels that this year is more diverse than ever with some really really interesting newcomers besides the typical festival grub (like burgers, kebab, makkaraperunat,…). Check out what you can expect right here:
The acclaimed BangBang BBQ delivers skillfully smoked genuine bbq food which is truly worth it. Here you’ll definitely get your stomach full in between bands.
In Tuska’s own restaurant at Oranssi’s premises the dark and atmospheric setting meets top quality ingredients and delicious flavours in a unique way. The seats to Black Dining have been sold out in advance for years so we do recommend booking your table in time before the festival.
From Bunit street food kiosk you can grab yourself steam buns that will truly make your mouth water. The soft buns are filled with crispy chicken, yuzu mayonnaise, cabbage and more. Vegan option also available. If you’re really hungry, get yourself a side order of spicy kimchi fries.
Moroccan street food with a modern twist! Casa Moro’s food is a mixture of meal memories of family-style cooking and street food vendors of Marrakesh, Casablanca and Fès. These flavours and local ingredients create a unique twist that in Casa Moro they call the Morocnavian phenomenon. Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options will be on the menu.
Helsinki’s first ramen-focused noodle restaurant arrives to Tuska for the first time! Well-known for their Japanese noodle soups, Fat Ramen’s festival menu is completely vegan and includes the restaurant’s most desired dishes: Jalotofu ramen and Korokke Bao buns. There will also be a lighter gluten-free korokke salad and refreshing iced tea on the list.
Feastie Boys creates delicious portions of loaded fries that will definitely fill your stomach. This you just simply cannot miss.
This is a food experience you don’t want to miss! The filling Georgian hatsapuris and new pizzapuris will truly make your mouth water. On the menu you’ll find the traditional cheese hatsapuris as well as meat, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Naughty BRGR – Pups Hot Dogs & Fries
TV stars Akseli Herlevi and Ossi Lahtinen have toured around the world collecting the best hot dog flavours, ideas and classics, and now present their own special versions of them. At Tuska you’ll be able to taste their new Pups Hot Dogs among the first people in the world. F. ex. Chili Dogs, Pups Special, Korean Dogs and Salt & Vinegar Fries will be on the menu so come give your review of the novelties.
Papa’s Smokery BBQ
These smoked BBQ delicacies will fire up your taste buds. On their menu you’ll find burgers, pulled pork and chicken, traditional festival foods and filling vegetarian options.
Seksico Tacos is well-known for their popular restaurants in Helsinki and Espoo, but also for their Seksico® Chili Sauces that have already become classics.
Sourdough Pizza Crew
Sourdough Pizza Crew was born from the love of high-quality ingredients, season’s best flavours and slow baked sourdough. Delicious pizzadogs are this year filled with local fish kebab, BBQ pork belly, chili marinated scampis or with eggplant and asparagus.
Taste and quality are the frst priorities at Thai Papaya as the restaurant’s ideology is all about best ingredients and genuine Thai flavours, prepared by a chef specialized in Thai food.
Treffi Pub & Bistro
One of Helsinki’s true classic restaurants offers their best to the Tuska crowds: grilled vegetarian and meat burgers and great service. All the burgers are available as gluten-free and dairy-free versions.
After last year’s comeback edition of Tuska, we’re convinced that this is one of the nicest metal and rock festivals you can go to in Finland. The improvements they made to the festival area caused a better flow and overall, the atmosphere was more relaxed than ever before, enabling us to focus on some great music and having good old fun. People from all walks of life are to be found at the festival grounds and we haven’t seen any conflicts at all. It’s basically like a big family coming together, and even at its most busy, it never felt like the space was being overcrowded.
As one of the biggest metal festivals in Finland taking place in a city, the location is amazingly convenient. The by now trusted event area of Suvilahti with its signature buildings and gas tower is a wonderful place to have the festival, located at one of Helsinki’s biggest malls, REDI. Getting there is really easy by the metro that stops right in the mall. A couple of stairs down and a couple of minutes walking, and you’re right at the gates of Tuska’s hallowed grounds! And since you’re that close to the city, if you afterward still want to have a couple of drinks to celebrate the amazing day you’ve had, there should be plenty of bars to choose from! This year they’ve also rearranged and expanded the festival area, looking to make the experience even more epic…
The people behind Tuska are a pretty amazing bunch. Every year they try to improve things to make the festival the best possible experience for every visitor and really listen to the feedback given to them. Even when their plans don’t turn out as great as they expected, it wouldn’t be the first time they start changing things overnight in the middle of the festival weekend when they receive complaints about something. Talk about dedication…
They have a dedicated “harassment officer” you can message with in case of inappropriate behavior, during and even after the festival, and have an amazing app that will notify you whenever the show of one of your favorite bands is about to happen. And to avoid waiting lines, they’ve already started preselling merch of the festival itself and a selection of bands from the line-up!