PORI JAZZ has taken a few steps sideways from its original function on the festival scene. It no longer offers mind-blowing acts exclusively for jazz music lovers as its name suggests, but a range of music from hip-hop to pop, and funk to blues –­­ along with a bunch of the jazzy stuff as well, of course.

The festival was born in the 1960s amongst a group of young jazz musicians who spent their summers playing and listening to music in Kirjurinluoto – the park area in the centre of Pori where the main event of the festival is now held. Pori Jazz quickly established itself as the pioneer of Finnish festival tradition and celebrates its 45th birthday this year.

HELSINKI’S Flow Festival will take place this year for the seventh year running. Originally held at the classic (and now barbarously demolished) venue of VR-Makasiinit in 2004, the event moved to the historic Suvilahti power plant area in 2007, where it has remained ever since. Taking full advantage of the location’s centrality – being just a short walk from Hakaniemi and Sörnäinen and a mere five minute metro ride from the central railway station – Flow has gone from strength to strength, attracting not only ever-growing crowds but an impressively eclectic array of musicians. The festival has grown each year. In 2004 the capacity was a mere 4,500. Last year 41,000 attended over four days, and this year the organisers are expecting up to 45,000 guests over the festival period.

HEARING the name Mariska still makes many of us think of a tough young rapper who became known in the early 2000s for her long dreadlocks and tough attitude. In reality, she is much more than that. Mariska is an established singer-songwriter who, on top of creating her own songs, writes lyrics to such big names in Finnish pop music as Jenni Vartiainen and Anna Puu. Recently she underwent a transformation from a rap artist into an iskelmä (Finnish popular music) singer. This is not the first time the gifted musician has changed her skin, but while everything else may be amendable, her attitude is one thing that sticks.

THOUGH not many would agree at first, folk music can deliver a mind-blowing experience. Contemporary folk bands offer an interesting alternative, and they create music that is fresh, exciting and of high quality. Especially in Finland, a country rich in very diverse music traditions, one can find real gems.

Gjallarhorn represents Scandinavian folklore that originally flourished on Finnish soil, with their style incorporating strong influences from the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland. The band experiments with incorporating instruments like didgeridoo into otherwise traditional Scandinavian-style ballads.

INTERESTED in indie music but not sure how to find new songs? Well, Hitlantis is here for you. Established at the beginning of this year, this bright new online service is quickly gaining popularity and currently hosts music from 21 countries. Although it is an Irish company, both the technical solution and the idea originated in Finland.

“The whole idea came from discussions with Ulf Ekberg (Ace of Base) and Ville Valo, who also came up with the name Hitlantis,” says Marcus Tilgmann, the managing director of the site.