Flow Festival | Helsinki’s Sustainable Music & Arts Festival

It seems to be a common misconception that if you’ve been to one music festival that you’ve been to them all. Although I can appreciate the subtle differences, I was also guilty of assuming this to some degree. That is until I had the pleasure of experiencing Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland.


The musical festivals I have been to all tend to have VIP sections. These may include places to sit and relax, special food, etc. I truly felt like Flow Festival wanted to give this type of experience to those who even bought their basic tickets.

Throughout the festival grounds you would find plenty of shade as well as multiple places to sit. There were places to sit outside of the food stops as well as comfy options such as cushions and beanbag chairs available. Since I am used to having the grass or dirt be my only options at festivals, this was a very nice surprise.


Although the majority of musicians were Finnish, you definitely do not have to be a local to enjoy this festival. The experience in and of itself is amazing, regardless of what language you speak. Although many of the performers consisted of bands, there were also a lot of DJs and other artists to enjoy.

Flow Festival always tries to bring in some internationally well known musicians for the Main Stage performances. This year, those artists included The Cure (photos), Solange, Earl Sweatshirt, Tame Impala, and Father John Misty. There were also artists such as Ville Valo & Agents (photos), Robyn, and Neneh Cherry that were much anticipated.


Art is a huge part of the Flow Festival experience. Areas such as the Pink Space were dedicated to things such as performing arts, poetry, sound art, video art and spoken word. The whole space was decked out in a pink theme, with plenty of places for selfies and to hang out for a bit.

Directly outside from the Pink Space, there were photo booths with fun elements, such as a fan that blows your hair and mirrors for cool effects.

Another part of the arts included at Flow was the (fo)rest created by the students of Aalto University studying landscape architecture. This forest was the perfect place to rest in between artists or to hang out with friends.

The Finnkino Pop-Up Cinema was another place to spend time at the festival. The short films here were done in collaboration with Aalto University and included both documentaries and fiction pieces.

On one of the days, there was also a skate demo. The festival included an area where a skatepark had been built, and it included places to sit and watch the action.


Perhaps one of the most unique things about Flow Festival is the fact that it is completely sustainable. In fact, it is one of the world’s first carbon neutral festivals. Some of the things that help to make Flow sustainable include the use of green electricity, 100% reused materials, sustainable meal options, and smart transportation.

All of the waste that was produced during the festival is either recycled or reused. Even the stages and setups from the festival are sustainable, including furniture and decorations that are reusable, recyclable and long-lasting.

You definitely won’t go hungry at Flow Festival. There are many vegetarian and vegan options, ensuring that everyone will have plenty of food options. Flow favors vendors that are local and organically produced.

Instead of using thousands of plastic bottles for water, you will find water stations that allow you to re-fill your own re-usable bottle.


Overall, I had a fantastic time attending Flow Festival. From seeing legendary bands to finding some new favorites, you really could not go wrong with the musical choices.

As expected, beer in general was quite expensive, which is typical at a festival. You can expect to pay between €8-10 per drink. If you want to do what many others decided to do, go by a market and buy a couple of beers before entering. While you can’t bring them in, there were plenty of people drinking outside of the gate before going inside.

One of my favorite areas of the festival was the Red Arena. I just really loved that the area was covered (nice if it rained), and I loved the decor around and on the ceiling. The red theme definitely popped.

As a person that can’t eat regular dairy ice cream, I was more than excited to see Oatly there, selling vegan milkshakes. This was the first milkshake that I have had in over 10 years, so needless to say I was pretty excited.

Helsinki is a beautiful city to visit in general, so that is yet another reason to attend Flow Festival. You are free to come and go as you please, so you can spend as little or as much time as you would like exploring the city and attending the festival. Overall, this is one festival that you definitely need to attend.

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