Kaustinen Folk Music Festival

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival
Photo: kaustinen.net
The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival (Kaustisen kansanmusiikkijuhlat) is the largest festival of folk music and dance in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). It is held every summer in the Finnish municipality of Kaustinen.

The first Kaustinen Folk Music Festival was held in 1968. The organizers expected an attendance of about 6,000, but the actual number of folk music lovers who came to Kaustinen was over three times the estimate. The festival has been growing ever since and now draws more than 100,000 attendees every year, which is almost 25 times more than the entire population of Kaustinen. The festival runs over a week in July and features approximately 3,000 artists from Finland and abroad.

The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival doesn’t focus on Finnish music. It showcases traditional music and dance from different countries and regions. Every edition of the festival has a featured country whose music and culture are paid special attention to. Past featured countries include Greece, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Russia, and more.

Another tradition of the festival is choosing the Band of the Year. The goal of this nomination is to promote a band noted for its fresh approach, outstanding skill, or long-running career in folk music. The nomination is very highly regarded in the folk music community.

The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is an outdoor event with 27 stages of varying capacity. The largest one can accommodate 3,000 spectators. The program of the festival is packed with concerts, jam sessions, workshops, dances, special events and activities for kids (crafts tent, folk music competition, children’s dance, etc.), and more. Over the years, it has become a meeting point for amateur and professional folk musicians and dancers from different parts of the world.

Fun fact: in the Finnish translation of Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip Peanut, the bird character named Woodstock was renamed Kaustinen. Schulz took the name from the famous Woodstock Festival and Finnish translators decided to name the character after one of Finland’s most popular open-air festivals instead.

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival

Photo: sttinfo.fi




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