Last year we got to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the biggest metal festivals of THE metal country Finland. Metalheads all over the world see Wacken Open Air as the Mecca for metal, so they should try to at least once visit and experience that festival in their mortal life. But personally I think we should add another of these life goals as a metal fan to the list. If you think metal, there’s a good chance you think of Finland or a band that comes from the land of 1000 lakes. There are quite a few festivals throughout the year, but the best one to pick would be Tuska Open Air, held every year at the end of June/in the beginning of July in the capital city Helsinki.
Again they’ve gone for headliners that you won’t necessarily see headlining on the main stage at other big European metal festivals. On Friday Body Count featuring Ice-T will be sharing their anger and rap infused thrash metal with us. The Saturday brings back the progressive groove masters from France, Gojira. And the band that gets to close down the festival on Sunday are Parkway Drive and of what we’ve seen already online, it’s going to be one hell of a show with fire, fireworks and drummers going upside down!
And that’s just the headliners! There are many great bands from all over the world like the black metal legends of Emperor and the solo project of their vocalist Ihsahn, the ever impressive Arch Enemy, mind-blowing Meshuggah and supergroup Dead Cross (with for instance Mike Patton of Faith No More & Dave Lombardo formerly drumming for Slayer). But for the whole list and schedule, check the image below.
Another thing that makes Tuska pretty damn awesome, is the fact that they make sure that about 50% of the bands on the bill are Finnish. You can catch bigger names like Moonsorrow, but also smaller and upcoming names like Shiraz Lane, Blind Channel and Tyrantti.
As I 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. Use 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. Approach the festival gate from Sörnäisten Rantatie, next to the ABC -gas station. An awesome new feature thing this year 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!
The festival days start and end at:
Fri 29.6. 13:00 – 01:00
Sat 30.6. 13:00 – 01:00
Sun 1.7. 14:00 – 22:00
with the last performance ending an hour before the festival area closes down.
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.
Besides that there’s the smaller 4th stage and concept of Solmusali Stage where they provide artist and industry power player interviews, panel discussions and some showings of horror and fantasy related short movies.
Besides the stages there are merchandise areas, a food garden with a wide selection of very tasty foodtrucks and fastfood, bars and even a convenience store. The crazy Finns of Tuska even made place for a sauna on the festival area where you can sit and relax while waiting for your clothes to be washed free of charge! For a closer look at the map, click on the picture below.
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 last year even a stand with “Walhalla” liquor and cocktails for sale) 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. One warning for the foreigners among us who will visit the festival: you will have to stay in the bar section with your alcoholic drink, so you can’t go right up to the stage with your drink. Though you should be able to see every single show quite easily from every bar area.
People with an eye for detail might have seen it already on the map: at every stage there’s a “no smoking” sign and you can find a smoking area. 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 Tuskan smart phone app is available right now, 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. On Friday June 29th you can drown into melodic death metal by Bloodred Hourglass, Whispered and Mors Subita to continue the metal festivities. On Saturday June 30th the highly popular industrial metal outfit Fear of Domination will be destroying the stage with support from brand new Finnish heavy metal band Oceanhoarse and pop punk cover band High School Dropouts. On Sunday July 1st there’s still an after party to close down the whole festival weekend at On The Rocks with shows from Lost Society, Watery and Pahan Ikoni.
To get in the mood for a weekend of heavy music there’s also the second edition of the official pre-party Tuska Heatseeker at one of the oldest still operating rock venues of Europe, Tavastia on Thursday 28th. The pre-party will feature headliner and Finnish modern metal giant Medeia, supported by the Finnish band and Tuska Torstai revelation I Revolt. More bands are still to be announced!
For a closer look on prices, bands performing and so on, go here.
Tuska Open Air 2018 takes place from June 29th till July 1st and there are still tickets available, though they are going really fast at the moment. For additional information go to:
Facebook event page
GRIMM Gent will be represented, hope to see you there!