Kaustinen Folk Music Festival 2016 moves your dancing feet to the music of wind instruments. This year’s festival celebrates 150 Years of Folk Dance and traditional wind instrument music. The regional theme is the eastern Finnish region of Kainuu.

The Band of the Year 2016 at Kaustinen is world music band Piirpauke who recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. Led by the Kuhmo-born Sakari Kukko, the band was an undisputed pioneer in the world music genre even before such a genre was born. Piirpauke unabashedly combines flavors from various types of folk music with other music genres. The meaning of the band’s name stems from an eastern Finnish dialect word meaning ’noise’ or ’commotion’.

Piirpauke was first put together in 1974, and their first hit was a recording of Konevitsan kirkonkellot (Churchbells of Konevitsa), and since then the band has frequently made it to top radio playlists in Finland as well as abroad. Sakari Kukko, a founding member of the band, has played in Youssou N’Dour’s Etoile Dakar band and featured on the albums of Kingston Wall and Amorphis. The band’s current members are all at the top of Finnish jazz scene. You can also discern influences of western art music in the band’s repertoire: their 2010 album Koli includes music from Sibelius and Tchaikovsky.

In the course of their long career, both other musicians and the audience have maintained an unwavering adoration of Piirpauke. Throughout Finland, the band has toured countless concert venues, clubs and rock festivals. Behind their enduring popularity lies their ever-changing, yet uniformly unique music. The mental, still landscape of the eastern region of Kainuu combined with a certain commotion always merges into surprising and masterly streams of rhythm and melody.

Also visiting Kaustinen this summer: dynamic Canadian duo Troy McGillivray & Tim Edey, Danish folk music super-band Basco, archaic wind instrument band Wind on Wind from Finland, Zephyr from Sweden and Finnish-British trio Karen Tweed, Tom McEvolgue & Timo Alakotila. The finest of Finnish folk music will also attend: Haaga Folk Machine with Jarkko Martikainen, Puhti, Päre and Purppuripelimannit. Pave Maijanen will perform as a part of the Kaustinen Special concert on Thursday, the traditional Kaustinen Day at the festival. On Saturday, Anssi Kela takes the floor and the audience alike at the festival arena. As usual, there’s lots of children’s programme too throughout the week. The high-quality programme includes Dance Theatre Minimi, and Eija Ahvo & Soili Perkiö with their Muumiperheen lauluretki (Singing with the Moomins) concert.

This summer’s showcase series includes two bands and one solo performer. Lekarerätten from Sweden and Hermanni Turkki from Finland both display a delightfully characteristic and unbiased way of music-making. Singer-songwriter Onni Rajaniemi grabbed a hold of the festival audience’s attention already at the 2015 festival by winning the traditional series in the high-profile Konsta Jylhä Competition.