Don Johnson Big Band, on track for a good time at the World Village Festival.

The World Village Festival is due to take over Helsinki’s city centre in May, and this year’s theme is human rights in East and South-East Asia, promoting tolerance, multiculturalism and other issues of global importance. Founded in 1995, the festival has become the largest multicultural festival in Finland, attracting around 100,000 visitors in 2012, along with performers from both Finland and around the world.

Apart from the serious issues it gives publicity to, the festival will offer a variety of artistic, musical, dance, theatre, and circus activities, all free of charge!

The highlight of this year’s festival will be a performance by the Don Johnson Big Band, who will take the stage on 25 May at 16:30. Joining them on stage will be the winner of the Metro FeatFest contest. After 42 videos were submitted and nearly 10,000 votes cast, 25-year-old Jyväskylä native, Mea Karvonen was proclaimed to be the winner.

Other goodies that will be on offer include music performances by the Chinese world music band Hanggai, as well as US-based jazz and soul vocalist Charmaine Clamor. The Finnish music scene will be represented, among others, by the veteran of Finnish rock, Ismo Alanko, and the eccentric and energetic pop/rock lineup, PMMP, who are known for their campaigns that criticise violence against women.

World Village Festival
25-26 May 2013
Sat.: 11:00-20:00
Sun.: 11:00-18:00
Kaisaniemni Park and Railway Square

For family-friendly fun, turn to the kids’ programme, which will include theatrical, dance, and musical performances by both Finnish and international artists. From Puppet Theatre and a Balinese Mask Workshop, to a taiji exercise and a hula workshop, the musical and interactive performances will surely entertain the little ones.

On a more serious note, many stages will play host to panel discussions and interviews with activists and writers. The panel topics will focus on issues such as the environmental crisis, human trafficking, forced labour, and sustainability. The audiences will also have an opportunity to listen to interviews with researcher Merab Kiremire on human trafficking, as well as a talk between journalist Sanna Negus and a Red Cross aid worker about the risks of working in areas struck by environmental catastrophes.

Last, but not least, do check out the street art, poetry, and human rights artwork, and move to Club Niubi at Virgin Oil Co. for a night out after the festival!

Tijana Stolic