Here we go again, one of the biggest metal festivals of THE metal country Finland is gearing up to give metalheads from all over the world a good weekend of heavy music. As one of the oldest running metal festivals in the country, it’s definitely a must to some time visit. Every time it feels a bit like coming home to your extended family and every year there are definitely some cool bands to see or even discover. Tuska Open Air, held in the capital city Helsinki, is definitely the place to be at the end of June.
While last year I was personally a little bit underwhelmed with the line-up, this year the Tuska organisation made me quickly forget any grievances I might have had with them. With some of my favorite bands like Power Trip and Jinjer they already made me quite pleased, but when they announced one after the other bands that I really wanted to catch live some time soon, they made me truly excited for the weekend! I can’t wait to see Alien Weaponry and Heilung, just to name 2 rising stars!
Throw on top of that as headliners the final show of Slayer in Finland, Amorphis with a special ‘Queen of Time‘ show and the legendary Swedish hard rockers The Hellacopters, the glorious return of Behemoth and the first show since long from Dimmu Borgir in this country and you know that you’re in for a good time!
Besides awesome international bands, Tuska (and most other Finnish festivals) are known to book a whole bunch of bands from the own soil. And that’s not different this year, though this turn around they really picked some of the top acts the Finnish scene has to offer at the moment. Make sure you catch bands like Wheel, De Lirium’s Order and Brymir just to name a few!
The 2019 edition of Tuska brings in a couple of really big changes! One of the major ones, is that from this year on the event is no longer a family friendly festival, but K-18! This means that you won’t get in with anyone under 18 years old, but also that the drinking zones where every lover of alcohol got cramped into, will be gone. Also the lay-out of the festival grounds have undergone some major changes, more about that later on.
Because the frequently spotted metal kids are no longer welcome at the regular festival, the organisation has decided to have a “Pikku Tuska” (or “Little Tuska”) on the Sunday of the festival weekend. It will start at noon with face painting in the nearby REDI shopping center, after which the legion of tiny metalheads will march to the official festival grounds to see the planned Hevisaurus show at 15h. Once that show is over, they’ll go back to the mall for a signing session with the band and the regular Tuska program will continue.
As mentioned earlier, the festival takes place in Helsinki. The place where mayhem strikes down for 3 days is a spot called Suvilahti, which is the perfect setting for a metal festival since it’s an old power plant turned into an event area. The address closest to the entrance is Parrukatu 2-4 which should be about a 3 km walk from the city center. Since it’s really close to the center and there is no public parking for cars at the festival, the best way to arrive to Tuska is by metro. Helsinki City Transport website. The closest metro stop is Sörnäinen, a several hundred meters from the festival area.
More info about using public transportation to get to Suvilahti: metro to Sörnäinen-station or tram (6, 7A/7B, 8) to “Kurvi” / Vilhovuori. You can also take the bus (68 and many more) from the central railway station.
Since the organisation did a complete overhaul of the festival grounds, for those who are frequent visitors, be aware that the entrance is on an other side than it used to be.
We assume that like last year there is an agreement with the public transport company to offer extra metro times to get to the center more easily after the last bands. No more overly cramped busses or walking all the way back anymore… hooray for that!
Festival area opening hours
Fri 28.6.2019 13:00-01:00
Sat 29.6.2019 13:00-01:00
Sun 30.6.2019 14:00-23:00
The last artist of each day will conclude their show 60 minutes before the festival gates close. Exact show times from the schedule page
Like mentioned earlier, the festival terrain underwent a major overhaul. Just like the past years, the bands are spread over 3 stages: Radio Rock Main Stage, named after one of the longtime partners of the festival, the Helsinki Stage housed in a big tent and the indoor Inferno Stage (also named after a longtime partner) in one of the buildings of the power plant where all hell will break loose regularly. Those are all still on the same spots.
Besides that there’s the smaller 4th stage and concept of Solmusali Stage where they provide artist and industry power player interviews and panel discussions.
But now the entrance is located behind the main stage, close by the skate park at Suvilahti, there is a Tuska Expo installation, gone are the drink zones with seemingly more bars spread all over the grounds, the food court is in a different corner, the Famous whisky lounge has moved away from the Black Dining building to the Inferno stage building and even the VIP has moved to a different side of the terrain, including the ever-present sauna! Have a good look at how it is now and get ready to discover the new flow, we’re very curious how we’ll experience it as well!
For those that actually plan to sleep a bit during the weekend, there are 2 options they can choose from. Tuska is located in the city so they have no camping area. The closest camping area is RASTILA, by the metro stop of the same name. Affordable accommodation in Helsinki from THIS LINK or via TRIVAGO hotel search. Although the city has plenty of hotels you might want to book your hotel room well in advance as a plenty of Tuska-comers arrive from far away.
The food & drinks
There’s a food garden with a wide variety of food, plenty of bars with a nice selection of beers and some even with cocktails or other specialties and a place called “Black Dining”. Also at the convenience store you can find stuff like sandwiches, ice cream,… They use a deposit system to boost the recycling: 1 euro deposit is charged when purchasing a canned drink or a drink in a mug. Deposit is returned when returning an empty, unbroken can/mug to the bar or to the deposit point.
People with an eye for detail might have seen it already on the map: at every stage there’s a “no smoking” sign. Due to the regulations in Finland you’re not allowed to smoke inside or in the close vicinity of the stage.
Bringing your own alcohol beverages to the festival area is a big no no. Bags will be checked when entering the festival. You can bring one transparent, unopened plastic bottle of non-alcoholic beverage, or a transparent and empty plastic bottle per customer. Max. size 1,5 litres. Security personnel is allowed to forbid any “suspicious” bottles and ask to leave those to the cloakroom. There are water taps for public at the venue. Drinking tap water in Finland is ok.
Professional photo equipment requires press accreditation. Press accreditation & photo passes will be granted for media personnel only, not private customers. Pocket cameras & cell phone cameras are allowed. All video cameras and other recording equipment are strictly prohibited.
Fold out chairs are permitted in the festival area, but not in front of the stages or other highly crowded areas. The security personnel may ask you to move your fold out chair from the crowd if they feel it may pose a danger or clogs up crowd movement.
Professional camera equipment, all recorders, cans, bottles, umbrellas and all things that can be considered dangerous are strictly prohibited, at the security personnel’s discretion.
A Tuska smart phone app is going to be available soon, for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
TUSKA 2017 signing sessions will be announced closer to the festival.
You can leave your belongings in the cloakroom by the festival gate. NOTE!!! No huge backpacks or other large items, those can be left at the Helsinki railway station storage.
Physically disabled and visually impaired customers can bring an escort (1 person).
There is a first aid point at the festival area, which will serve during festival opening hours. The nearest pharmacy is located in Sörnäinen, Hämeentie 58, 00500 Helsinki. Yliopiston Apteekki, Mannerheimintie 96, is open 24 hours.
During the festival, ask for your lost items from the cloak room near the entrance. After the festival, all uncollected lost & found items will be delivered to the Pasila police station lost property
Senior citizens of over 65 years of age are allowed to access the festival area free of charge.
Since the festival day ends pretty early, Tuska has a system of an official afterparty in the city center of Helsinki. This year they’ll take place exclusively with live shows at the legendary Virgin Oil Co. venue and DJ sets in On The Rocks. Check the exact times of the events online and don’t forget that you have to buy a separate ticket for these shows!
On Friday June 28th, you can choose between going to Virgin Oil for some good live music from Pink Floyd tribute band Pulse, the groove/thrash outfit Misterer and the rising stars of heavy metal band Oceanhoarse! While at On The Rocks you’ll get a set of the famous Stereo Terror DJ’s!
On Saturday June 29th, the choice is again live music at Virgin Oil with rock band Tocornal, that mix several different genres into their own signature sound, hard rock outfit Vagabond Hearts and one of Finland’s favorite hard rocker groups: Block Buster! At On The Rocks you can find the “Tuska best of 1998-2019”, put together by DJ Sampsa & DJ Gary.
And lastly, on Sunday June 30th there is a last live show only at On The Rocks where you’ll literally get a last rockin’ of your life to detox slowly of the awesome weekend with newbies Dirt and the familiar faces of Shiraz Lane!
For a closer look on prices, bands performing and so on, go here.
Tuska Open Air 2019 takes place from June 28th till 30th and there are still tickets available, though they are going really fast at the moment. For additional information go to:
GRIMM Gent will be represented, hope to see you there!