Vaasa Festival’s smaller stage Hellyysagrrressio kicked off with a lot of energy that one would not have expected. The name of the band means affectionate aggression, a form of playfulness often exhibited by small children and baby animals. Many years ago Satu, the lead singer, came up with the band name ‘Hellyysagrrressio’ and the members unanimously agreed. Although there were only a few dozen listeners, it did not matter to the performers; a powerful and loud wake-up call for those that were not awake yet.
The second day started on the main stage with UK singer Bonnie Tyler. She was astonished herself, performing already at 2 p.m. However, a lot of elderly people came just for her hoarse voice and her greatest hits like “Total eclipse of the heart” and “Holding out for a hero”, written by Jim Steinman (who passed away last April) and the song is a heartache. She also sang “Simply the best”, originally her song from 1988, which never became a success. It was Tina Turner who made the song a hit single in 1989. She performed a new version; so new that she had to sing it twice to make it perfect, “The best is yet to come”, a statement that she does not want to quit yet, luckily! Bonnie Tyler, now 70 years old, still had a lot of charm and people enjoyed her performance and her band, which was a solid experienced.
Just before the release of his new album “I can’t take the cold” Finnish Sepikka wanted to show some of his new songs to the audience at the Vaasa Festival. His latest single “Juoksee, juoksee” (or in English: “Running running”) was a good song to get the happy summer vibes going.
Following Tyler at the main stage was Anssi Kela who has been a talented musician for more than 20 years. His greatest hits come from his first record ‘Nummela 2001’. He also scored with a few hits after finishing his first album, such as “Ilves”. The show came to a climax with “Nummela”, which tells about his father’s death when he was twelve years old. He has had a hard life, which his songs reflect; maybe as a form of therapy? It’s hard to listen to the songs as they contain many tragic things that happen in life. Luckily, we have a reporter who understands the Finnish language better than the photographer does, because otherwise we would get lost in the translation. The melody by itself sounds happy, nicely balancing out the melancholic lyrics. During the show the Anssi Kela lays down on the stage and gets some water poured over him by the bass player, he could laugh about that!
The youngster of the family Von Hertzen went on before the ‘big brothers’ went on the big stage. Johanna Von Hertzen, with here noticeable red hair, had a good set of adorable music. Her appearance was fresh and shiny, which she got a warm set of applauds from.
Blind Channel is a band that represented Finland in the Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. They became 6th with the song “Dark side”, which was different form all the other Eurovision competitors. The band was founded in Oulu in 2013, roughly 300 kilometres north of Vaasa. The band’s energetic performance was appreciated by the audience. With Blind channel, the program of the evening became more oriented towards rock and metal music. For those who did not know, success in the Eurovision (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) is only one merit among many others! “Dark Side” is currently the most listened to Finnish song of 2021 with over 700,000 streams, beating other big Finnish bands like HIM and Nightwish. They played mostly new songs, only “Wolfpack” from 2018 was one of the older songs that they performed. They asked to make a mosh pit, it became more a circle pit: when the crowd runs and jumps in a circle, pushing and bumping into each other, often leaving a clear space in the centre of the circle.
The only mistake that the festival organizers made was to let Ressu Redford play on the smaller stage. The sun had been there all day and Redford made it even hotter! With his easy to sing along songs from the 80’s he catches everyone’s attention. He went to all sides even beyond the stage to reach out to his audience. As a professional, he knows how to play all around. Musically, maybe not the best of the day but many definitely enjoyed his active performance!
The Von Hertzen brothers played rock music in English. The three brothers Kie (guitarist/singer), Jonne (bassist/singer) and Mikko (singer/guitarist) founded the band in 2000. Their music was a mix of many different styles, it went from classic rock to folk, punk and contemporary rock. It was a steady performance, like always Jonne was the most active on stage.
Amorphis is a Finnish metal band from 1991. They sing in English. The songs have been influenced by Finnish mythology. It was also possible to view their performance via Twitter if you were not able to make it to Vaasa. From there, you could have seen that the singer Tomi Joutsen didn’t use his favourite mic. It’s nice to hear his real and clear voice when he switches from the grunting. They turned the volume quite up during their performance, so there was no way of escaping their sound in the festival area. They are also touring abroad; this autumn they go to St Petersburg, Dublin and Amsterdam.
The last notes from the terras stage were from Bob Malmström and his band. The volume and screening went up again. They took the last energy from all around. The ones who had enough left could go to the show of Apulanta, the closer of the day, on the main stage.
Apulanta was the last band to finish the Vaasa festival 2021. Apulanta is a Finnish rock band from 1991. They have been playing punk, rock and heavy metal. In their first songs, they vociferously criticised society through punk. Following that, their music shifted to alternative music and hard rock. Normally they sing both in Finnish and English. However, today they only played Finnish songs. They started off with a question to the audience: “Mitä kuuluu”, which means how are you? There was also a cover from Klamydia, (who played earlier themselves on the festival) “Vaasalaiset on…”, on their list to play in Vaasa. Apulanta made it their own version. The last song to finish up the festival was the quitter song “Valot pimeyksien reunoilla”, so that all could go home with an easier mindset.
With the last act, Apulanta ended Vaasa Festival like it started, loud and full of energy. Compared to the Kokkola wine festival, Vaasa’s version was more balanced in their music. Additionally, the decoration and atmosphere were better utilized in Vaasa. It was pleasant to walk around if you wanted to have a break from the music. As the icing on the cake, the Seaview, park with trees and some old/renovated buildings really create a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. There were over the three days 14000 guests who enjoyed the festival.
We look forward to the edition of 2022, curious who might be the special follow-up guest to Bonny Tyler. The first booking has been done by Tomas Ledin from Sweden, who will be at the Vaasa festival next year.