For Suvi and Tuomas Kallio, Flow Festival’s founding couple, the festival stands first and foremost for kindredship in the heart of Helsinki.
It wasn’t supposed to grow into anything this big. At first, the festival, which started in 2004 as a hobby of a group of friends, just wanted to offer good new music and a laid-back atmosphere to young adults. Today, Flow is an internationally acknowledged, million-euro event, which emphasises urban culture and visual aspects alongside good music.
“Growth has been very organic and natural. The festivals have always sold out, encouraging us to carry on. While growth has led to greater responsibility, it also offers a host of opportunities, such as the possibility to attract bigger names and expand the area,” explains Suvi.
The festival still lives by the same principles. The music offering and festival atmosphere always include something new and surprising. Activities continue to be run by the group of friends, which has come to include more people with similar interests as the festival has expanded.
“We also want the festival, as a whole, to be an experience from the time you enter to when you leave the premises. We try to find musical and visual materials that people have not yet experienced to create a feeling of community and urban culture in Helsinki. Many people have come to thank us, saying the festival has morphed into a village within Helsinki,” says Tuomas.
The feeling of community can also be seen in Flow’s new visual style, created by Tsto, a design agency, and Santtu Mustonen. The new look is specifically based on the notion of a new community spirit: an urban tribe whose members enjoy each other’s company.
Since most of the music comes from other countries, services emphasise Finnish features. The values of partners participating in the event merge with those of the Flow gang, the goal being to offer truly strong experiences. Previous Flow festivals have presented, among other things, a restaurant decorated by Artek and Marimekko textile installations. This year, all of the furniture, counters and panelling in the Viini & Sapas restaurant, designed by Jaana Karell, were made of wood products from UPM, a Finnish forest industry company. True to its emphasis on sustainable development, Flow recycles materials from previous years. The storage space in Klaukkala is already bursting at the seams.
“Last year’s fence banners may end up as seat covers or other furnishing items this year,” says Tuomas, coming up with ideas.
How do Suvi and Tuomas see the future of Flow?
“We want to make the festival even more diverse and especially develop its marginal side,” Tuomas summarises.
“We’re fortunate in the sense that the last festival has always felt like the most successful one. It’s a good foundation to build on,” adds Suvi.
What can you find in Flow’s storage?
1 kmprint banner fabric
200 mmaterial for bar counters
600 m²material for terrace floors
60 dining tables
20 coffee tables
2 tents of100 m²each
Katri Keihäri Photography Mirva Kakko