THE largest arts festival in Finland is once again being staged in the capital, with Helsinki Festival showcasing another wide-reaching programme that contains pretty much something for every taste. Here can be found various experiences ranging from classical to world music and pop, from drama to contemporary dance, and from visual art to film and children’s events scattered strategically about town.

Last year’s festival had more than 200,000 visitors, and this year promises to see a similar number in attendance, with the likes of Sophie Ellis Bexter, Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet: Landfall and Los Lobos amongst the international guests on offer. In fact, Kronos Quartet pops up again during the programme. Kimmo / Kronos / Kosminen / Kuusisto celebrates the 50th birthday of local accordion virtuoso Kimmo Pohjonen, teaming him up with the Kronos Quartet, violinist Pekka Kuusisto and sampling guru Samuli Kosminen.

Ever wanted to see Ganesh and Hitler on the same stage? Well, Australia’s Back to Back Theatre offers the opportunity to do so. Feeling like some live music to accompany your gaming? Then the soundtracks to various best-selling Finnish games will be performed live for the first time by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elsewhere, the movie picnic makes a much-anticipated return and Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi invites everyone to view their familiar urban environment through new eyes.

Putting words together in various ways, the always welcome Poetry Moon celebrates a decade of its existence, with another comprehensive programme, with more than 30 free events across Helsinki.

Helsinki Festival 2014
15-31 August

Once again festivities include the highly anticipated Night of the Arts, held on 21 August. Promising a cultural encounter in surprising places and in new ways, here one can find hundreds of cultural events unfolding all around the city, with museums, galleries, bookshops and cafés open until the wee hours.

There’s all kinds of happenings in the capital city in August, see what you can find!

James O’Sullivan