Are you ready for a real Headbangers Ball in Helsinki?
If you are not familiar with the metal music scene, the entrance to the Tuska Festival might look a little worrying. There are hundreds of long-haired metal-heads, monsters, vampires and all kinds of creatures, everything from horror stories to science-fiction. But not to worry, it’s OK, because they are all smiling happily. You just put on your most treasured black fan t-shirt on and jump in!
For over 20 years, Tuska Festival has been the highlight of summer for heavy metal fans from all over the world. It has grown bigger and more established every year. This summer, the festival compiled 43 000 visitors over 3 festival days, breaking the record, once again.
Tuska x Pride
Tuska has often coincided with Helsinki Pride Parade, the most significant cultural and human rights event for gender and sexual minorities in Finland. It seems the entire city centre turns into a huge street carnival and a dance party. A wild mix of fabulously creative rainbow coloured summer outfits and herds of tough-looking metal dudes dressed in black get along just fine. And there’s plenty of time to attend both, the parade and the festival. That’s what I do because my friends follow suit in every possible tone and colour variation. To prove the point that Tuska is a very friendly and happy festival, it’s also always the event with the least disturbances out of all great summer activities in Finland.
Suvilahti here we come!
Tuska takes place at the Suvilahti event field in the neighbourhood of Sörnäinen, just 4 metro stops or half an hours walk from Helsinki’s central railway station. Suvilahti is a cool old industrial area with impressive old power factories and gasholders still lurking around the edges. Right next door, Kalasatama, a whole new district of inner-city living (houses ranging from luxury sea view condos to student apartments) is slowly squeezing in on the event field. I wouldn’t mind watching great gigs and international superstars from my own balcony if I lived right next to Suvilahti!
All heavy metal genres are allowed
Altogether 46 bands performed at Tuska 2019. The biggest names this year were Slayer, Amorphis, The Hellacopters, Anthrax, Opeth, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Halestorm and STAM1NA. Every major name of the Finnish metal music scene has performed at Tuska over the years. That includes HIM, Children of Bodom, Apocalyptica and Nightwish. Many global giants from Anthrax to Alice Cooper and Megadeth have also visited Tuska main stage. The variety goes from glam metal to thrash metal and everything in-between.
Babies to grannies
The festival is not an affair for restless teenagers. Serious metal music lovers over the age of 65 and a valid pensioners card can try their luck and apply for a limited edition free pass to the area. They love it! In general, you have to be over 18 to get in, except Sunday afternoon, when a special event called Tiny Tuska takes place. It’s designed for children under the age of 10. They love it too! This year, more than 500 little moshers turned up with their parents to pass the metal torch on to the next generation.
Next year’s festival will also take place in Suvilahti, Helsinki during 26.-28.6.2020.