SaariHelvetti – Ein besonderes Festival mit besonderen Herausforderungen
– Find the english Review below –
Am Freitagnachmittag machte ich mich auf den Weg ins Zentrum meiner Heimatstadt Tampere. Dort, von Laukontori-Hafen, geht es mit einer 20-minütige Fahrt mit der Fähre, zur „Island of Hell“.
Das SaariHelvetti Festival findet auf Viikinsaari statt, einem beliebten Sommerort für Touristen und Einheimische gleichermaßen. Aber bevor wir auf die Insel kommen, erhalten wir alle eine kostenlose Maske und Handdesinfektionsmittel. Während des Festivals muss zu jeder Zeit eine Maske getragen werden (außer beim Essen oder Trinken), dies hat zu Beschwerden von mehreren Hundert Menschen geführt, deren Meinung nach dies übertrieben sei und das Festivalerlebnis ruinieren würde.
Zum Glück waren während des Festivals nur wenige Hartnäckige nicht in der Lage, die Sicherheitshinweise zu befolgen und zu meiner Überraschung haben die meisten Besucher akzeptiert, dass diese Maßnahmen sehr notwendig sind und so war es möglich, dass pro Tag etwa 2500 Menschen noch wenigstens dieses eine weitere Festival in diesem Sommer genießen konnten.
Und Sommer ist es ganz sicher. Ich habe fast einen Sonnenbrand bekommen, trotz Sonnencreme. Zum Sommer-Feeling trägt auch der Geruch von gegrilltem Schweinefleisch bei, der mich bereits bei der Ankunft auf der Insel empfängt.
Etwa eineinhalb Stunden nach der Ankunft auf der Insel beginnt die erste Band Shereign zu spielen. Dies ist ihre allererste Show und auch die letzte Show für Sängerin Sara Strömmer vor ihrem Mutterschutzurlaub und ich denke, sie haben einen wirklich guten Job gemacht. Dies liegt wahrscheinlich daran, dass die Mitglieder bereits Erfahrung mit anderen Bands gesammelt haben (Fear of Dominican / Black Light Discipline). Sehr süß war, dass einige Fans beschlossen, einen ganzen Rucksack voller Plüschtiere mitzubringen, um sie auf die Bühne zu werfen. Ich hätte wirklich gerne mehr von diesem Gig gesehen, aber leider musste ich schon nach wenigen Songs gehen, um zur andere Bühne zu gelangen, wo sich Tyrantti schon zum Spielen fertig machte. (Bilder 1-3 von mir, 4 – 9 von Sami Hinkkanen)
Als nächstes steht Finnlands älteste Doom Metal-Band Spiritus Mortis auf der Inferno-Bühne. Sie haben jahrelange Erfahrung und das zeigt sich, und obwohl sie vielleicht den Lebensfunken der jüngeren Bands vermissen, kann ich mich über nichts an ihrer Leistung beschweren. (Alle Bilder von Sami Hinkkanen)
Tag zwei begann mit Silver Bullet, die ihren Platz auf dem Festival durch den jährlichen Bandwettbewerb, den SaariHelvetti vor dem Hauptfestival veranstaltet, gewonnen haben. Diese Jungs waren meine größte Überraschung des Festivals, ich denke, sie haben großes Potenzial und ich werde sie auf jeden Fall im Auge behalten.
Auch große Pluspunkte für den Versuch, dieses Festival für alle so sicher wie möglich zu machen. Ständiges reinigen mit Desinfektionsmittel, die Möglichkeit für Kartenzahlungen und ein Sicherheitsteam, das tatsächlich überprüft, ob sich die Leute an die Regeln halten und sie wenn nicht daran erinnern.
Dieses Festival ist definitiv hier, um Ihnen eine gute Erfahrung zu verschaffenb und nicht um Geld zu verdienen. Oh, wusstet Ihr, dass Sie sogar Ihr eigenes Picknick und Getränke (sogar Alkohol, solange es in einer verschlossenen Plastikflasche mit maximal 1,5 Litern ist) mitbringen können, wenn Sie möchten? Ich meine, wie cool ist das den!
– English –
On Friday afternoon I made my way to the centre of my hometown Tampere. There, from Laukontori, it takes a 20 minute ferry ride to get to “the Island of Hell“.
SaariHelvetti festival is located on Viikinsaari, a popular summer location for tourists and locals alike. But before we can get to the island, we all are handed a free mask and hand sanitizer. A mask must be worn at all times during the festival (except while eating or drinking), this has caused complaints from several hundreds of people, who thought that this was over the top and would ruin the festival experience. Thankfully during the festival only a few stubborn individuals were incapable of following the safety instructions and to my very happy surprise most people accepted that this measures are very necessary and so it was possible for about 2500 people on each day to still have at least this one more festival this summer.
And summer it most certainly is. I almost got a sunburn, even with sunscreen on. Adding to summer feeling is the smell of grilled pork, that welcomes you already when arriving on the island.
After exploring the location a bit and there’s a lot to explore (Vip-restaurant, five food stands, merch stand, 3 stages, jewellery stand with even special SaariHelvetti jewellery, Killstar clothing stand, several bar areas, a stand were, you can charge your phone and get cool Polaroid pictures), I used the time before the first band to fill my tummy. Even though only half of the festival area is open yet at that time, I still get to choose between the previously mentioned pork, differently filled pitas and a grill stand with Burgers, fries and co. Another big plus point, at least as a girl, is that there are actual toilets, like real ones, not just Dixis (they do have these as well) and those were actually clean even still on Saturday evening. A big thanks for that. The only problem with these is the usually pretty long line and in combination with the fact that there’s no break between the bands you most certainly miss something if you need to use the restroom. This also brings me to my first critic: There is so much happening on this festival, what I actually like, but it’s impossible to see all. As photographer I barely have time to even just buy a drink between bands. It would improve the festival experience a lot in my opinion if there would be a few minutes break between the shows on the two main stages, at least enough to walk from on to the other.
Approximately one and a half hours after arriving on the island the first band, Shereign starts to play. This is their very first show and also the last show for singer Sara Strömmer before her mommy leave and I think they did a really good job with. This probably is because the members are already experienced from playing in other bands (Fear of Dominican / Black Light Discipline). Very cute was that some fans decided to bring a whole backpack full of plush toys to throw on stage. I would have really liked to see more of this gig, but unfortunately I already had to leave to get to the other stage, were Tyrantti was already getting ready to play. (Pictures 1 -3 by me, 4 – 9 from Sami Hinkkanen)
The trio is more of a fun band. I don’t think they take themselves to serious, what is quite fun to watch live, especially as those three guys are really full of energy, but I don’t think I would actually listen to them on a record. But hey, “remember to drink enough, beer as well“. (Pictures by Sami Hinkkanen)
Next up is I Revolt from Kerava who filled in last minute for Detset (who are in Corona quarantine). They are unfortunately a bit monotone to listen to in my opinion. At the same time there’s also a speed dating event happening, but this is only for people who signed up for it in advance. (Pictures #10 by Sami Hinkkanen)
Back at the Kaaoszine stage the trolls have arrived. Many fans are obviously here for Finntroll, as they are dressed as trolls as well (Unknowingly as I am I at first I thought they were grumpy elves, but one thankfully informed me about the obvious differences). Turns out trolls are actual good musicians, who would have thought that about such grumpy looking little creatures.
At the same time on the small Rock’n’Tits stage Kaikkonen + Liekkola Duo stared playing their first set of the evening. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them at all, only heard a little bit while waiting to get something to drink.
Next up on the Inferno stage is Finlands oldest Doom Metal Band Spiritus Mortis. They have years of experience and that shows and while they might miss the spark of life of the younger bands I also can’t complain about anything in their performance. (All Pictures by Sami Hinkkanen)
And while Kaikkonen + Liekkola Duo still finishes their second set I’m already on my way back to the other big stage again were Swallow the Sun is about to play. Which is also the point my main camera starts making problems. As I later needed to find out all my pictures from before are gone into oblivion (That’s why you get to enjoy some of Samis pictures today). Their dark death-doom atmosphere would have probably worked even better on the next day, when the world actually seemed to end.
A total contrast programme of this is One Morning Left with their electro/metalcore mix. I surprisingly find myself enjoying their music a lot, even though it gives me a bit of a disco feeling.
But already soon after were back with the ‘end of the world’ feeling with headliner Insomniums death metal. On such a lovely summer evening with pink skies I find this a bit exhausting to listen. But this isn’t really my genre and I think that for someone who’s into this kinda music it probably was a really good show.
The final act of the first day then was Nicole, a group of four guys. They sing in Finnish and I have no idea what they sing about, but what ever it is I like it.
What I like much less is the now necessary queuing for the ferry back. Even though I already left after the three songs of Nicole I got to photograph and still ended up in front of many Insomnium fans it took an hour to get to the boat. This is One of the other things I don’t find to great on this festival. Would it maybe be possible to get a campground on the island, so not everyone needs to get on those boats? That would be really cool and help the experience a lot. If this isn’t possible, I don’t know how this problem could be improved, but after a long festival day it definitely isn’t fun to wait in line so long just to get home. I started leaving at around 23:15 and was home at around 01:15 and that even though I can literally see my home from the festival area. It’s just about 2 km away, but there’s no faster way. This is very frustrating.
Day two started with Silver Bullet, who won their spot on the festival through the yearly band competition SaariHelvetti holds before the main festival. Those guys were my biggest surprise of the festival, I think they got great potential and I’ll definitely gonna keep tabs on them.
On the main stage Rytmihäiriö takes the start and this about as long as the summer feeling lasts. A storm is coming.
Ember Falls with their very energetic music manage to still keep my mind off the weather for a bit. This was their first show in ages, so they had some new material to show their fans live. While Ember Falls still plays the girls from Tampere Burlesque start their performances on the Rock’n’Tits stage.
Next up on the main stage was Lähiöbotox, what felt kinda out of place, as they play Rap and Hip-Hop. On the other hand this festival is so diverse (in it’s visitors as well), that where if not here, could it work to book an hip-hop act for a metal festival and get away with it.
Easy to listen heavy metal band Satan’s Fall is next to rock the stage. The time past really fast during their performance and before I really realise it I already have to go to the other stage again.
There my long awaited Lost Society is getting ready. This on of these bands that when they play you just get catched in their energy. It’s impossible to not have a good time when these guys play, even with the now starting rain.
Next on the Inferno stage is Vorna, who I’m going to blame for the bad weather, as they said they specifically ordered this weather to fit the atmosphere of their music. Joke aside, even though I don’t really understand what they sing about (as it is in Finnish) I like them, they seem very sympathetic.
Diablo who is next on the main stage, is a band you can’t really do much wrong with. They’re not outstanding, but have delivered well played performances every time I’ve seen them.
Atlas from Tampere who filled in for the (also) quarantined Mors Subita are still very young and still have potential to grow. They themselves call their modern metal music style ‘Northcore’.
By the time Saturday headliner Mokoma gets ready to go on stage I’m soaking wet and cold from the rain. My feet and my camera are the only dry things left. Even my water-resistant backpack under it’s rain cover is wet inside. Luckily the festival also offers hot beverages like coffee, tea and cocoa, so I at least get to warm up a bit. They are worth suffering through, this band definitely deserves the main slot of the festival.
After this I dry up a bit in a train on the playground (yes, this festival has a playground with swings and everything, it’s amazing when you have some time to kill between bands) and then last but not least was Arion. Like many others, after all the rain and cold wind, I just didn’t feel like I could make it through their whole show anymore. I have seen Arion several times before and they’re definitely worth watching, but not on cost of my health and so I rather stay in line for the ferry from where I can still hear the whole show anyway.
In the end it was a very nice festival. I got to meet some old friends and get to know some new people. This festival is very unique and has a lot to offer, so much you never know where you should go to. It would be very nice if in the future they would lose up the schedule a bit so we could enjoy more of the offered stuff. Also the frustration of waiting for the ferry leaves a last memory of the festival that doesn’t do it justice. Next time I’ll just go as a fan to get a more relaxed experience, but I will be back, because the idea of the festival is great.
Also big plus points for trying to make this festival as safe as possible for everyone. Constant disinfecting, possibility for card payments and a security team that actually checks if people follow the rules and if not remind them.
This festival is definitely here to give you a good experience and not to make money. Oh, did you know you can even bring your own picnic and drinks (even alcohol, as long as it is in a sealed plastic bottle with maximum 1.5 liters) if you want? I mean how cool is that!