Feel Helsinki festival celebrates the return to live performances: enjoy art by students free of charge at the Helsinki Music Centre on 4 September

Music, theatre, dance, fine arts and discussions will fill the Helsinki Music Centre on the first Saturday of September, when the very own festival of Uniarts Helsinki returns and brings people together in the centre of the city.

The day-long Feel Helsinki festival will showcase the talent of Uniarts Helsinki’s students, teachers and alumni at the Helsinki Music Centre on Saturday, 4 September, from 11:00 to 22:00 through over 50 different art experiences. The arts programme can be enjoyed free of charge, and a large part of the content is also suitable for families with children.  

Festival-goers are also treated to discussions featuring influencers and thinkers from various fields – guests include President Tarja Halonen, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, actress Krista Kosonen, journalist Saska Saarikoski and coach Anu Nieminen. The discussions are open to the public and scheduled to take place in the Main Foyer of the Helsinki Music Centre between art performances. 

The goal is to organise the Feel Helsinki festival as a live event in September, in accordance with the safety guidelines and restrictions on gatherings that may be valid at the time. The festival programme has been put together with the help of proposals submitted by Uniarts Helsinki’s students and teachers. The overarching theme in the programme is the eagerness of young artists to finally get to connect with their audience after over a year-long break. 

“It’s wonderful that it seems like Uniarts Helsinki’s very own festival gets to be organised as a live event once again. After the COVID-year, the longing to be in contact with an actual audience is immensely strong. We’ve had live-streamed gigs, but playing to a live audience is a completely different thing – and it’s what we’ve been trained to do,” says folk music student Aurora Visa, who will perform with her Vuolas ensemble at Feel Helsinki. Vuolas will perform in the Helsinki Music Centre restaurant at lunchtime.  

A programme with the freshest take on the arts 

Various different artistic fields and genres are represented in the arts programme of the festival, and the audience can be prepared to experience everything from musicals and contemporary dance to fusion rap and video art – as well as fearless combinations of these different styles. The festival gives the public the perfect chance to discover something new in an approachable setting.  

The Concert Hall of the Helsinki Music Centre will serve as the venue for the 10th anniversary concert of the multi-membered Folk Big Band based at Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy. Septad ensemble, on the other hand, will improvise their concert in the Camerata Hall according to the instructions given by a computer software.  

Professional recorder player Eero Saunamäki promises to change each audience member’s perception of the recorder, “the world’s most misunderstood instrument”. Arosa Ensemble will play music composed exclusively for poems by Edith Södergran. The Helsinki Music Centre terrace will be the hot spot for a cavalcade of bands between noon and seven in the evening. 

Families with children, especially, are sure to enjoy the music theatre performance Adventures of the Magic World Egg, which will take the audience to a journey of discovering the meaning of friendship and respect for others. The performers are folk musicians from Denmark, Estonia, England and Finland. A performance titled Agirlisagirlisagirlisasound will combine dance and sound art and comment on girlhood. The Kuulolla meditation walk consists of simple exercises, which help participants pursue alternative listening options in the soundscape of an urban environment. 

Fine arts will get a jump-start on Feel Helsinki, as the exhibition featuring works by Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts students will open at the Helsinki Music Centre already on 18 August. The works have been selected to the exhibition through an open call. Time, passing of time and how to deal with it are recurrent elements in the exhibition. Painting is the most frequently used technique in the works, but photography, ceramics, sculpture, textile and graphic arts are also represented. On the day of the festival on 4 September, the media screen of the Helsinki Music Centre will also display video art by students.  

The third edition of Feel Helsinki 

The Feel Helsinki event was organised at the Helsinki Music Centre for the first time in June 2019. The new festival right in the city centre attracted over 5,500 visitors. In 2020, the event was organised only virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it reached over 63,000 viewers online. 

If the coronavirus restrictions prevent the organising of this year’s festival as a live event, the adaptable parts of the programme will be offered virtually.  

Media enquiries

Anna-Elina Matilainen, communications specialist, Uniarts Helsinki 
tel. 040 860 9515