Ruisrock is an annual rock festival held on the island of Ruissalo in the city of Turku, Finland. It takes place in a beautiful public park included in nature conservation programs.

The first Ruisrock festival was organized in 1970 which makes it the oldest rock festival in Finland and the second oldest in Europe. For a long time its founders had thought that Ruisrock was Europe’s oldest continually running rock festival but at some point they discovered that the first Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands was held several months before Ruisrock. Contrary to popular belief, Ruisrock wasn’t modeled after the Woodstock Festival.

The inaugural Ruisrock attracted 38,000 attendees. Foreign acts in the line-up included Argent, Colosseum and Family. Really impressive attendance was recorded at the second festival when 100,000 fans arrived to see Canned Heat, a popular American rock band. Since then, this attendance record had not been broken until 2016.

The festival was almost discontinued in the 1990s because of economic difficulties. Luckily, Ruisrock was acquired by Vantaa Festivals Ltd (Vantaan Festivaalit Oy) that managed to keep it afloat by temporarily reducing the number of top international performers. Attendance began to increase in the late 2000s and has been growing ever since.

Famous bands and artists that have performed at the Ruisrock festival include Uriah Heep, Nazareth, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, Sting, Pet Shop Boys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Björk, Rammstein, Lordi, HIM, Nightwish, Apocalypica, Slipknot, Faith No More, Ozzy Osbourne, The Prodigy, The Cardigans, The Offspring, Oasis, Metallica, Blur, Bon Jovi, and more.

Ruisrock has been subject to criticism because of being held in a protected nature reserve. Instead of moving to another venue, the organizers of the festival have decided to pay more attention to sustainability. In 2016, Ruisrock joined the Ekokompassi environmental management system to promote environmental protection in addition to taking responsibility for the environmental impact of the festival.


Photo: Turku AMK, TUAS




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