Inside a winter weekend partying in Helsinki: London’s clubbing cousin
September to November is a particularly beautiful time to visit Helsinki. By the second weekend of October, the sun is already starting to mellow in the sky, hinting at the long, harsh northern winter that’s already closing in; it adds a stunning deepness to the blue of the sky, which makes the Finnish capital seem like its days exist in perpetual dusk. Add to that the dazzling colours of the autumn leaves blowing through the streets and the crispness of the air, and the icy beauty of Europe’s far north is in full effect.
London is a city that’s famously known for its trying, grey weather; compared to the extremes experienced in Europe’s far north though, the UK capital is fairly mild. In the dead of the Finnish winter, the sun doesn’t lift above the horizon until just before midday, and then falls again less than two hours later. Helsinki is compensated though by its spectacular spring, where the days quickly grow longer and warmer, drawing flocks of visitors to the city, and by the middle of summer it’s flooded with sunshine, staying light for as long as 20 hours a day.
The spring and summer are undoubtedly the best times for a clubber to visit Helsinki, when there’s a glut of the summery outdoor dance festivals to choose from, working from the multi-stage, multi-genre template established by the Global Gathering brand just outside of London back in 2001.
The city slides into spring with Waterland, a party in Europe’s biggest indoor waterpark that has thousands in the pool going bonkers at any one time. Summer Sound Festival, in the final sunny weekend of July, is the biggest dance festival in northern Europe, this year featuring a massive line-up of trance favourites like Above & Beyond, Gareth Emery and Markus Schulz, plus a heavy selection of EDM headliners like Hardwell, Axwell, Knife Party and beyond. Meanwhile, the Flow Festival takes place over five days in August, this year hosting a mix of marquee electronic acts like The Knife and Kraftwerk, with underground DJ staples like Tensnake, Maya Jane Coles and Todd Terje also performing.
By the second weekend of October, though, the majority of the clubbing action in Helsinki takes place within the city’s clubs. Many of them are conveniently located around the city “Centrum” and the sprawling Senate Square. When inthemix visited for a weekend, lovers of underground house and techno in Helsinki were indulged on the Friday night by Joris Voorn playing an extended set to a packed house at Tivoli, while on the Saturday, it was a show at Circus right on the square showcasing Finnish talent.
Saturday March 8, 2014
Summer Sound Festival
Fredrikinkatu 51, 00100 Helsinki