Flow Festival 2023: 90000 people surrounded by Music, Art, Food, and Fashion
Flow Festival Helsinki is an eagerly anticipated event that Helsinki people look forward to experiencing, and this year nearly 90,000 people attended the event. Visitors included people from Finland and individuals from other countries who share a passion for music, art, and festivals.
Flow Festival is more than just a music festival; it embraces art, fashion, and food culture. The festival took place from August 11th to August 13th, 2023, at Suvilahti, which is conveniently located close to the Helsinki city center. It featured artists and musicians from around the world, with different styles, from techno, electronic, reggae, rap, and pop, for instance... While the most popular and highly attended acts included the most awaited New Zealander pop star Lorde, Wizkid, one of the biggest Nigeria's R&B singers, the rock band Suede, and the historical brit pop band Blur, there were also other well-known artists, particularly in specific musical genres. Flow provided many different venues so different concerts and shows were going on at the same time.
However, I was somewhat disappointed with the stage allocation for certain artists in terms of location and timing. On Saturday, for instance, Nu Genea Live Band performed in the black tent venue, where attendees danced with remarkable energy—something quite unusual for Finnish audiences. Yet, toward the end of the show, the main stage welcomed Lorde, a highly anticipated headliner. This scheduling posed a challenge for those who wished to enjoy both shows fully, as it required leaving earlier. A similar situation happened on Sunday when the reggae legend Horace Andy together with Dub Asante Band ft. Matio Horns performed on the Balloon 360˚ venue just before Blur on the Main Stage. This led to long queues and a clash with other popular bands such as Christine and the Queens that I couldn't see it. Watching Blur's concert properly necessitated arriving at the main stage at least 30 minutes before the show, so I had to leave after a few songs, the Balloon 360˚.
While exceptional musicians performed simultaneously, there were also gaps in the lineup that left some attendees feeling a bit disappointed, at least by the talks I heard while I was there. Fortunately, areas like the X Garden, featuring various DJ sets, provided an alternative for those looking for something funny and relaxing.
However, as previously mentioned, Flow Festival serves as a platform for numerous artists to collaborate and showcase their creations, encompassing video art installations and sound art. I was captivated by the urban art displays, where talented street artists transformed Flow Festival into a vibrant, kaleidoscopic venue. Additionally, the nighttime illuminations transformed the space into a luminous and colorful light show.
The festival attendees themselves contributed to making the festival even a fashion show, exposing beautiful and original outfits as if they had been eagerly waiting for these three days to reveal them. Many Helsinki restaurants participated by setting up and offering diverse festival dishes, healthy and practical to eat.
Flow Festival remains an essential experience for those who cherish music and art. It provides a balanced fusion of these two fields, leaving attendees exhausted yet fulfilled at the end of the festival days. Furthermore, the festival's commitment to recycling and reducing energy waste through a thoughtful plan is respectful, helping attendees feel more ecologically responsible. Additionally, it's important to highlight that most people working there are volunteers, putting significant effort into making this event great.