August 17, 2011

Flow Festival 2011

I arrived to the festival area of Flow on Friday around six when the sun was still up and the first act was just about to rise to the main stage. This was the first time I ever attended Flow and just like anyone else, I had my expectations. Flown is mostly known for 'the fashion week of Helsinki' as hipsters of all sorts crawl from their nests to show off what's in and what's not.

Besides the fashion Flow invests in city minded culture, visual art and decoration of the area. The acts on the festival usually vary from indie rock, soul and jazz, all the way to most recent club sounds. Flow is a state of mind as well as a physical state, where emotion pours collectively through music to be a part of a bigger entity. Flow is the festival where you know and potentially like one or two artists and the rest you have no idea of, this is the festival to discover the new and unknown.

Flow Festival portrays very well how many different forms art can take. During the weekend art can be seen in the decoration; in the red balloons, all sorts of art projects spread around the area, in the the turf specifically set to the serving area and in the thousands of lights that specifically after sunset make the area look very special. Art can also be seen in the clothing of the crow; in their fearlessness and imagination. If you are an exploratory mind there's absolutely no way you'll get bored on the area.

Most importantly the art can be seen in the performers; in the lovely sensitive ones, in the atmospheric interpreters and in the attituded experimenters. I witnessed one of my favorites as Midlake took over the main stage just when the area was bathing in sunset. I've seen Midlake live once before at a club and though I consider that environment more fit for the band's melancholy and gloomy sound, they were just fine at a big stage as well.

Later on I shift closer to the blue tent as Warpaint is starting to take the stage. This was one of those to discover since I had previously never heard of them. The festival program however told me that the band was an all-girl group hailing from Los Angeles. The girls' sweet and lethally seductive voices got me off guard and I was very intrigued. I went to the photopit to take a few shots and once I got off I pushed my way to the third row or so to enjoy the music.

Once I got off the blue tent I noticed it had already gotten dark and I gasped as I turned to look at the festival area. The red balloons that looked like so much fun in bright daylight, had drowned into the dark and instead the area had been taken over by a peck of lights that in the dark summer night made the whole area glow. I walked into the ocean of lights, through the crowd towards the main stage. As I waited for the main act of the night to start their performance, I pondered my first Flow experience; it had been surprisingly pleasant. The hipsters, let them be what they may, had been so thoughtful, kind and friendly and the people had been partying so discreetly it was hard to believe I was actually on a festival. It was like the perfectly arranged festival without any jerks or other cons. Eventually Röyksopp ended the night beautifully.

Text & photography: Joanna Tzortzis