Kaustinen Announces First Performers: Tuure Kilpeläinen, Paula Vesala, Frigg…


More than four thousand folk musicians are expected to perform at the 53rd Kaustinen Folk Music Festival on 13th – 19th July. In recent years, the total number of visitors has remained at a steady number of just over 46,000 festival guests. The first period of performer applications is open until January 15th. Supplementary application period begins February 17th and ends March 31st, 2020.

– The search for Showcase bands and artists will continue until the end of January. This year, we especially welcome applicants who are ready and willing to go abroad for a gig. Being chosen as a Showcase band is now an exceptionally valuable merit, as a delegation arriving to Kaustinen will include foreign gig organizers who will also meet the Showcase bands in person, says program director Anne-Mari Hakamäki.

Frigg celebrates their 20th anniversary with a tour abroad and as a soloist with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra, but return to their roots to celebrate at Kaustinen. The festival receives a healthy amount of modern interpretation from Piirainen Blom Company, where musicians Venla Ilona Blom and J-P Piirainen and four dancers combine guitar, vocals and beatboxing.

Paula Vesala, Jutta Rahmel and Aili Järvelä perform as trio on Wednesday. Cousin duo Arto & Antti Järvelä are also members of the well-known Järvelä family. All the songs on Freija’s latest album are tragic ballads, some of which we’ll surely hear at Kaustinen. Tuure Kilpeläinen and Kaihon Karavaani will be seen on Thursday evening. South Ostrobothnian humor takes center stage as Rehupiikles returns to Kaustinen after a long break. Finland’s largest folk music orchestra, Orivesi All Stars, is of course involved in the programme.

One of the festival’s foreign attractions is the DHOAD Gypsies of Rajasthan from India, which has performers from seven generations. Performing in over 110 countries, the group sends six musicians, one dancer and a fakir to Finland. Les Trois Lézards arrives from Italy and MandoTrio from Estonia. Timo Alakotila performs as a duet with Catriona McDonald from Shetland.

Konsta Jylhä’s music will be heard this year in a concert instead of competition. The concert features winners of the Konsta Jylhä Competition from the past ten years. The annual theme of the Center for the Promotion of Folk Music and Folk Dance is May I Have This Dance – Folk Dances.

One of the definite highlights of the festival week every year is the Night Quadrille. Petri Kauppinen leads this spectacular event and JPP takes care of the music.

Anniversary Celebrations

Kaustinen’s summer includes many anniversary celebrations. Kokkola, the nearest town to Kaustinen, celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. The celebration extends to Kaustinen through Kokkola-born artist Jannika B’s gig during the festival week.

Kangasalan Pikkupelimannit from Pirkanmaa who have been operating for 40 years, have been selected as the band of the year in 2020. Founded and led by Leenamaija Raukola, the folk music group is one of the oldest and largest youth folk music bands in Finland. Pikkupelimannit have always had about 50 children and adolescents playing in the group, and they are known for their own kind of relaxed sound. Between 1979 and 2019, the band raised hundreds of folk musicians, some of whom have become music professionals.

Finland’s oldest folk music association Folk Music Association of Central Finland celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Throughout the week, their programme features traditional and modern folk music, spiritual music, dance music and songs. The anniversary concert brings together a great number of musicians from Central Finland.

Sorokoska, a folk dance and music group from Tampere, celebrates its 30th anniversary. The folk music course from Käpylä Music Institute will arrive from Helsinki to celebrate its 10th anniversary on the festival’s stages.

The provincial theme this year is Kymenlaakso. Dozens of musicians, singers and dancers will be presenting folk music from Kymenlaakso during the week.

Fun and games throughout the festival

The theme of this year’s Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is Play. Children and young people have always been an integral part of the festival’s program and audience, but now the theme draws on the strong cultural capital of the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival: community and internationality through music and dance.

– The theme gives the opportunity, and at least the idea, to let yourself loose and let your creativity flourish, both for the performers and the festival audience, describes program director Anne-Mari Hakamäki.

Festival visitors can also play their favorite childhood games, such as Hide-and-go-seek, Duck, Duck, Goose or Dodgeball.

A new youth event, Tubeta ja Folkkaa, will offer communal activities on Saturday through the use of performing arts and social dance. The free event is open to all young people at Club Kallio, outside the festival area.

The Children’s Kaustinen programme features Mimmit and Siina & Taikaradio as well as the familiar Tradi Birds.

Courses, workshops…

The festival week can begin as early as Sunday, 12th July with a two-day workshop where Esko Järvelä from Kaustinen, and Louise O’Connor, an Irish violinist, lead you to Finnish and Irish folk music styles and the steps of rhythmic dance.

The Finnish Folk Music Association organizes the international Ethno Finland camp from 7th to 14th July. Dozens of participants from around the world came to the camp for the first time last year. At the end of the camp, the participants prepare a joint concert.

At the heart of Festival Week is the local style of violin playing, which will be nominated for the Unesco World Heritage List next year. The traditional Kaustinen cavalcade is a musical play that showcases local music and performing arts.

In addition, the programme features dozens of workshops and courses that can only be attended to by going to the right place at the right time. Festival Week begins on Sunday, July 12 with the popular night hiking event.

On Friday, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival organized a programme announcement at the Folklandia Cruise, the biggest folk music event of the winter season. The pre-sale of festival tickets began this week.