A new festival arose in the Finnish city of Kokkola, situated in Östenbotten, which is on the west coast, about 7 hours drive up from Helsinki. The festival Kokkola viinijuhlat, Kokkola’s wineparty, began with a bleak wheater prognosis. But, when the music veteran J. Karjalainen took the opening stage, the sun began to shine. He could have played for the whole night long, with his 40 years of music experience, but alas he only warmed up the crowd for one hour. The crowd sang along as he played favourites like “Hän” and “Meripihkahuone” to the crowd. His band also showed excellent quality through their music experience, and one could also notice that they had fun on the stage! J. Karjalainen made a perfect start and got the festival going. However, the wait for the next artist was about one hour. Fortunately, time flew by the sunny weather and the lovely seats.
Tarja Turunen, the former lead singer from the famous Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish (succeeded by the Dutch Floor Jansen) was up next. Oddly enough, the band warmed up without a soundcheck and popped a few songs at full volume. This was probably since they hadn’t performed live for 1.5 years. Tanja was really happy to be back on stage, which was noticeable because her performance was full of energy, dominated by her crystal clear voice. All this formed a nice combination of Metal/Hardrock music together with her soprano opera voice. They even played the Garry Moore cover “Over the Hills and Far Away”, which they also often played with Nightwish.
The artist Oneviolin was quite alone on stage, but entertained himself and took the audience with his violin playing. He didn’t play that long, but the timing was perfect. He was the youngest performer at the festival, among the many musical legends, but he performed well! Also on his setlist was a well-known piece of music; “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend.
After the powerful music of the previous artist came the quieter music. Ida Paul & Kalle Lindroth chased away the oncoming rain with their beautiful vocals. Their voices matched nicely in all their songs. Six years ago they started making music together. Both then made music for themselves and for other artists. They discovered that making music and playing together was great. And so it was. During tonight’s show, they were joined by acoustic guitars and double basses and a singing audience. They made new songs about loneliness during the corona Lockdown, which many people experienced in these special times. They conveyed it through music and struck a chord with the public.
The party really got going when Arttu Wiskari took the stage. The audience knew all the words of his songs and sang and danced along enthusiastically. Plus, he hadn’t played in over a year, which made him and his band even more motivated to give it their all – and they performed! The people’s singer did what he was good at; performing and giving the audience a great time! His show ended with his first song from over 10 years ago, “Mökkitie”. A melancholic song about the summer holidays in the house with his parents and grandparents. The house has since been sold, the parents are divorced and the grandparents have also passed away. Only the road to it is left. The song is recognizable for many Finns, as the Mökki’s, summer houses, are an important part of the culture and many find peace there.
Finnish sub headliner Apocalyptica played mostly their own acoustic songs. They have had several collaborations with Metallica and many other metal bands where they have added cello artists to the respective bands. They had a special guest on stage who sang some songs with them. Because of the corona Lockdown, they were only able to play one of the hundred planned concerts. Normally they tour all over the world, so the band was delighted to be able to play in Kokkola. The Apocalyptica strings let the audience enjoy their arts, combining classical instruments and loud music into a beautiful ensemble.
The end of the first day was reserved for the rapper Elastinen, who brought yet another genre of music to the public. The youth got to hear one of their favourite artists and all music lovers benefit from this day. Yes, Elastinen made everyone jump and sing along. It was a dignified, sweaty and energetic end to a long day. The weather remained dry, contrary to the weather forecast, much to the delight of everyone!