Yona represents the local music scene at Faces.

THE SLOGAN of this year’s Faces festival, “We shall overcome,” refers to the current negative attitude in the media and society against immigrants and multiculturalism. Elina Yamano from the festival organisation points out that it is a positive message which takes a stand against this atmosphere.

The idea is directly connected to the original roots of the festival that was organised in 1998 for the first time by Börje Matson and Holger Wickström. The goal was to give different ethnic groups a chance to present themselves and create a meeting place for different cultures and Finns.

Still taking place in Raasepori, the festival moved from Billnäs to Gumnäs, a forest area close to the sea. Nature is directly embedded in the festival’s programme and message. Troubadours will play “under trees and on rocks” to symbolise that multiculturalism fits into the Finnish environment. Another advantage is that the area is basically rent-free. This is an important aspect for the festival as it has been struggling with its finances because it is neither commercial nor mainstream.

Faces Etnofestival 2010
23-25 July
Gumnäs, Raasepori

Some of the international highlights on the musical programme are Dorjee Tsering’s traditional Tibetan music, throat singing by Gangzi from China, the Swedish-Bulgarian folk band Lele-Lele and the Russian ska/reggae band Markcheider Kunst. The popular Finnish bands Posteljoona and Yona are playing as well. But, as Yamano emphasises, there is a lot more to see than just music. Theatre, dance and poetry performances are to be found and many free workshops are held. For children there is a special area called “Small Faces” and in the Roots village there is even a sauna.

Nina Ratavaara