Kaustinen Folk Music Festival 2019 caters for all the senses

8–14 July 2019, the happiest days of the summer, help establish a place on UNESCO’s list

The programme of the 52nd Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is packed with celebrated Finnish and international artists.

This year’s theme is rhythm that engages the listener through all the senses. In addition to the festival, a great deal of work is carried out at Kaustinen all year round in order for local violin playing to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2021.

– The violin playing tradition has existed uninterrupted in Kaustinen for at least 250 years. There are a couple of hundred violists and the same number of dancers in Kaustinen. The tradition also continues to be strong among the young people. The community also includes locals and people from the neighbouring areas as listeners, family members, association members, festival workers, volunteer workers, and customer service personnel of companies. Through the festival, the community involves people throughout Finland, says the chair of Kaustinen’s UNESCO work group and the Director of the Finnish Folk Music Institute, Matti Hakamäki, about this unique living heritage.

The rhythm theme and unique cooperation with associations in the hearing sector brings to the festival the well known Finnish sign language rap artist Signmark.

– Music produces a physical experience. Sign language is linked to a strong culture. This is utilised e.g. at day care centres with small children who have not yet learned to speak, explains Peer Activity Planner Susanna Salokannel from the Finnish Association of Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.

Salokannel encourages everyone to drop by at the association’s pavilion, where they can learn easy signs, such as greetings and ‘thank you’. On Wednesday, there will be sign language interpreters present in the area.

Over 40,000 visitors expected

The artists performing during the week include Vuokko Hovatta, Antti Paalanen, Mikko Alatalo, Tallari, Vesterinen, and Tsuumi Sound System. On Friday, Samuli Edelmann will perform with a gypsy music band that radiates rhythm and feeling. International artists will come, for example, from Morocco, Argentina, Cuba, Italy, Great Britain, the United States, Russia, Sweden, and Estonia.

The festival has also this year attracted a vast number of traditional folk music artists. In addition to music, the week will be filled with other activities, such as dance workshops, ukulele courses, and a spoon playing school. Known as a festival for the entire family, Seikkailukone from a popular Finnish children’s TV-show Pikku Kakkonen will also be present.

Kaustinen Folk Festival is expected to attract over 40,000 visitors during the second week of July. In a municipality of 4,300 people, providing accommodation for them all is a tall order. A festival bus will operate between Kokkola Market Square and Kaustinen once every two hours.

This year, the visitors can also travel to the location by museum train. On Tuesday 9 July, an old rail bus will depart for the festival area before noon from Jyväskylä and from Oulu. Contact details of hotels, camping sites, and home accommodation have been compiled at www.kaustinen.net.

Promising future stars

The brave, intuitive, and bursting folk music girl band ENKEL has been named the Band of the Year in Kaustinen. Leija Lautamaja, Maija Pokela, Miia Palomäki and Iida Savolainen are extremely talented folk music professionals. Their music is modern, creatively joyful, and reflects the deep respect of the artists for the tradition.

The showcase concert series offers promising newcomers an opportunity to build their brand. Dozens of applications were received to the series from Finland and abroad. Among them, AXVY from Sweden, Eva Väljaots from Estonia, and Nooli from Finland were chosen as this year’s showcase artists.

Night Quadrille is a memorable experience

The oldest and largest folk music festival in the Nordic countries starts off with a night hike on Sunday 7 July. The hike is organised in cooperation with a local hiking association Perhonjokilaakson retkeilijät ry. The opening day (8 July) is free of charge. The Konsta Jylhä competition will be organised for the tenth time, and the theme province of the year is Savo.

The legendary Night Quadrille is one of the miracles of Kaustinen: hundreds of people will engage in wild dancing in the middle of the night. The 38rd Night Quadrille will be led by Petri Kauppinen and JPP. The popular hashtag of the festival #thehappiestdaysofthesummer is true, especially on the night of the quadrille!



Welcome to 52nd Kaustinen Folk Music Festival 8 – 14 July 2019!


Kaustinen is already heading towards the coming summer. The festival will take off with a night-time hiking event Yövaellus on Sunday July 7th in cooperation with Perhonjokilaakson Retkeilijät ry. Monday’s free opening day together with the festival is provided by Kaustisen Seutukunta, a joint organization of five municipalities (Kaustinen, Lestijärvi, Toholampi, Veteli and Halsua), developing the region and its business life. Kaustisen Seutukunta sees the folk music festival as the most important event in the Kaustinen region and, through mutual cooperation, wants to promote the visibility of regional municipalities at both regional and national levels.

Feel the music! #tunnemusiikki

The theme of the festival this year is rhythm. Rhythm reminds us that music can be detected with different senses along with hearing. Kaustinen Folk Music Festival works in cooperation with Finnish Hearing Associations. On Wednesday, Kaustinen presents Signmark, the most famous sign language rap artist in Finland. You’ll also find sign language interpreters and hearing organizations info booths in the festival area.

Band of the Year 2019

Kaustinen Band of the Year in 2019 is the bold, delicate and delightful ENKEL band. The band originated from spontaneous jam session at the airport in 2013 and the band’s musical grip has continued to be frantic and creative as spontaneous jams continue.

The members of the band Leija Lautamaja, Maija Pokela, Miia Palomäki and Iida Savolainen are strong folk music professionals who, by their own example, encourage people of all ages to be creative in their own way. The music of the band is modern, creatively revelling, and delightfully interesting. Everything the band does exalts their deep respect for the tradition and their own folk musician’s identity. By choosing this band as the band of the year, the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival wants to highlight the importance of preserving the spirit of traditional folk musicians alongside professional activity. Furthermore, the festival wants to support the idea of us all being superheroes of our own lives – a thought that has made a brilliantly functioning brand for ENKEL.

Programme highlights

Ever since the early years of the Kaustinen festival, international programme has played an important role. The Central Committee for Folk Music and Dance theme of the year is ‘Around the World – Internationality in Folk Music and Folk Dance’. This is a perfect theme for the nature of the festival, and the programme features many bands and projects working across countries. Väsen (SE) is celebrating their 30th anniversary with Finnish guests, intense Flemish sibling duo Madingma (BE), the interesting and fresh multinational Farandi (FI / SE / BE / DK / UK), and SANS (FI/UK/AM) who first got together at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival and have since gathered their members from all around the world. The magically skillful and groovy Crying Uncle’s Bluegrass Band (US) brings an unparalleled energy boost to Kaustinen as part of its tour of Finland. The Nordic countries will have an even stronger representation in the next two years with the aid of Nordisk Kulturfond’s Pulse funding. Mats Berglund & Arto Järvelä (SE / FI) and Vesselil (DK), presenting modern cadence, will be seen in the footsteps of forest Finns of Sweden and Norway in Puls concerts and workshops. Nordic folk dance workshops are now on the festival menu all week. Folk dance has a significant role at the festival again, the programme will include more traditional dance pieces and new choreographies. Also, international folk dance programme will again be prominently displayed. In addition to social dancing and more traditional general dances, there is also a wide range of dance workshops, and the ever traditional and always spectacular Yökatrilli quadrille event under the brand new leadership of Petri Kauppinen.

Programme for the whole family includes Pikku Kakkonen’s Seikkailukone (Adventure Machine), televised together with the Finnish broadcasting company YLE. The concert features familiar faces and happy orchestra members from the television, and of course the hero of all heroes, Heppu the Heppu. At the Children’s Tent, the Tradi Birds celebrate the 20th anniversary of children’s programme in Kaustinen. Mikko Alatalo, the whole nation’s favorite, arrives to Kaustinen and makes sure everyone gets to sing. Other names familiar to the general public include: Samuli Edelmann and Orkestra Suora Lähetys, and Vesterinen. In addition to these, Vuokko Hovatta Kolmisin will perform at the festival as well as Antti Paalanen, the world-renowned master of the accordion, and the energetic Tsuumi Sound System will be returning to Kaustinen after a long break. Bill Hota & the Pulvers are also making their return to Kaustinen, and Jussi Raittinen celebrates the 50th anniversary of Finnish country music with Eldanka, a group of top musicians from around the region. Kaustinen-style Baroque music will be served by Beethovenin parempi marssi (Beethoven’s Better March), compiled by Kreeta-Maria Kentala, and Kaustinen Mysteerio, a musical performance based on an incredible essay written by Ilmari Wirkkala on the history of Kaustinen, continues the tradition of cavalcades, or musical plays at Kaustinen.

The international Ethno Finland camp will be organized for the fifth time in Finland. The camp is aimed at young folk musicians around the world. The Finnish Folk Music Association is the main organizer in Finland.


Program 2018: From intimate and acoustic to DJ-moods


Last year Kaustinen Folk Music Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary but when the festival is arranged for the 51st time the tempo does not slow down! The whole festival program is published Wednesday 16th of May and contains a wide range of artists. The same music festival hosts the top names of Finnish roots music as well as hugely popular acts from Suvi Teräsniska to Egotrippi, international stars from Haiti and Colombia, not to forget the countless pelimanni amateur musicians keeping up the festival spirit.

– I’d like to highlight for example the interesting concert series Pelimannit framilla, where we portray some pelimanni players both through music and stories, program director Anne-Mari Hakamäki tells.

Among the portraited players are baroque violinist Kreeta-Maria Kentala, whose roots are firmly in the pelimanni ground of Kaustinen and who has performed on international stages like last year’s London Proms.

Welcome to join!

– During the whole week we have all sorts of program going on from early in the morning until late in the night, says Anne-Mari Hakamäki. We are trying to create both lots of variety and some broader themes for each day.

On Tuesday hundreds of childrens are gathering to take part in the Mukulamatinea (Children Matinees), on Wednesday the focus lies on music and dance of the Swedish speaking minority and on Thursday the festival presents especially local tradition from Kaustinen. Towards the weekend we raise the pulse among others with Colombian DJ KillaBeatMaker.

Besides of concerts the festival arranges a wide range of work shops and short classes, where you can for example learn to play ukulele.

The popular jam workshops are joined by dance jam workshops at Maunon makasiini – anyone who is interested is welcome to join!

– With this concept we wish to highlight the social side of dancing: what dancing is really about as well as the relationship between music and dance, Hakamäki explains.

There is also a big amount of program for children: both concerts and other activities – Kaustinen is most certainly one of the most family-friendly summer festivals in Finland.

From nature atmosphere to rap

Some artists of this year’s line-up has already been published in January, but last time additions include among others the intense Chouk Bwa from Haiti, blues-folk-avantgardist Richard Dawson from Great Britain and the sweet voices of The Escarteen Sisters from Spain.

Finnish artists performing at Kaustinen Folk Music Festival this year includes accordion virtuosoMarkku Lepistöhaapoja & illmari kollektiivi combining folk music and rap, shaman violinist Tuomas Rounakari and Teosto Prize nominated Meriheini Luoto, whose personal concert concept Metsänpeitto fits very well into the nature theme of Kaustinen this year. Timo Rautiainen is well-known in Finland as both a heavy rock artist and a big folk music fan and he performs as a duo with the versatile Ville Ojanen. Kaustinen also presents the best of Finnish folk dance groups, fromSiepakat to Motora as well as international dance guests among others from Estonia. The core of the festival is an impressing amount of pelimanni players from whole Finland.

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is arranged for the 51st time 9.-15.7.2018.

Toward the Next 50 Years of Kaustinen Folk Music Festival

The 51st Kaustinen Folk Music Festival will be held 9-15 July 2018. During the opening day of the festival week, Kaustinen municipality will grant everyone free entry to celebrate its 150th birthday!

Nature will be this year’s festival theme. The theme will be approached from multiple interesting viewpoints under the header Naturally: music from nature, natural music, nature sounds, recycling, human nature. The theme will also be used to explore perspectives of music writing, the voice of nature, inspiration, and recycling music. The festival and its nature theme will get a head start during the nocturnal hike on Sunday, 8 July. The light-footed twenty-kilometer hike accompanied by music, will prepare participants for the challenges of the upcoming festival week. The nocturnal hike will be arranged in cooperation with Perhonjokilaakson retkeilijät ry.

The national theme of the year, named by the Folk Music and Dance Promotion Center, is All flavors – the living traditions of folk music and folk dance. The theme will intertwine living and evolving cultural inheritance phenomena through local traditions preserved at Kaustinen, as well as through the production of communal art, without forgetting other national and international phenomena. Local know-how and tradition will be naturally emphasized as Kaustinen municipality celebrates its 150th birthday. Combined with local tradition and in accordance with the year theme, the concert series Living Heritage: This is What We Do will be performed. As a part of Kaustinen for Kids, the program series Living Heritage: Play will be performed.

The children’s music orchestra Ammuu! has been chosen as Kaustinen’s music group of the year. The group was formed in 2007 and has been respectful of folk music and determined in its work ever since. Its members are not only skilled musicians, but also wonderful music education professionals and music pedagogues. Their music is inventive and multifaceted in including genres from Kalevala rune singing to musical traditions from all around the world. With this accolade, Kaustinen wants to promote children’s culture and honor the high standard of children’s music in our country; quality, tradition honoring music belongs to everyone, regardless of age and size.

The festival program will also feature a plethora of amazing new international acts and experienced top artists.  One of the most delightful new acts on the European music scene is OMIRI, refining Portuguese music tradition with an original touch.  Sweden’s phenomenal folk party band Folk All-in Band makes an impressive comeback at Kaustinen. Other international stars include e.g. Scottish violinist legend Alasdair Fraser together will cello virtuoso Natalie Haasin, and the world renowned Danish Helene Blum & Harald Haugaard Band. For the first time Kaustinen has the honor of welcoming the great interpreter and promotor of polish tradition, the much-awarded family band Kapela Maliszów and Norwegian Sami Vassvik, celebrating his 20th year as an artist.

The Nordic countries will be more prominent at Kaustinen for the next three years due to financial support from Nordisk Kulturfond’s puls program, which will be used to build a concert and workshop series of Nordic music. The goal is to bring young people together and create a shared Nordic platform, where youths can create new contacts by e.g. playing music together.

As for Finnish bands, we will have the pleasure of hosting e.g. Hannu Seppänen & co, a master of the 2-row accordion making a comeback to Kaustinen after 20 years, the bold and down to earth a cappella group Ilo Ensemble, Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström who have been nominated for the Finnish folk music award Etno-Emma, Juurakko interpreting Kalevala style blues folk, and the incredible Maija Kauhanen, awarded Newcomer of The Year at the Etno gala. Tango will be especially prominent during this year’s festival with world-famous harmonica group Sväng and the Finnish tango group Tango-orkesteri Unto, celebrating its 20th year. The luminous schlager-star Suvi Teräsniska will again conquer the hearts of the festival audience at Kaustinen. Kaustinen will be serving tradition at its best with a Risto Kupari’s broad ballad concert Kolme Katilaa ja mää: Puntarin kolli, Euran balladi ja muut Frans Järvisen arkkiveisut, and Seinäjoki 2-row accordion 20th year jubilee concert. Also, Finnish folk dance performances, new choreographies and more traditional folk dance concerts will have a strong presence in the festival program, without forgetting international flair.