Hello Internet, let me tell you about my experience of a Finnish music festival, Provinssirock.
First of all, the sole reason I even wanted to go to this festival in 400 kilometres' distance from home, is the absolutely amazing Finnish band, Nightwish who have robbed my heart - and ears - for good. I missed the first concerts in Finland this year because consequently I was in the UK, so now I'm bound to chase after them around the country when they tour in summer festivals. (There is also a gig in London, in November, for which I have just purchased an incredibly cheap ticket.)
And now I'm just babbling.
Anyway, you should know that I am extremely biased because of this passionate, one-sided love affair that I'm having with the band and the music in question.
So, usually when I go to rock festivals I only spend one day there, and if I have to stay the night I choose whatever indoors accommodation is available. This time though, we open-mindedly went to the camping area. Now the thing about festival camping is that 99.9% of people opting for it intend to get stupidly drunk - a sport that I don't personally do at all. I don’t mind people drinking and smoking so I only had to kind of accept some facts of life: a) that if I wanted to sleep I'd have to do it in a constant cacophony of contradicting radio programs and music choices from different directions, b) that I'd get my fair share of tobacco smoke in my lungs, and c) that the whole area would eventually get a faint characteristic odour of alcohol.
I took us about five hours of driving, plus a dinner break, to get to the festival area. The entire day had been hot and sunny, which is not ideal for sitting in a full car. As soon as we got out of the car and had dumped all of our stuff on the ground, a heavy shower occurred and everything got soaked in 3 and a half seconds. How very convenient.
The sky cleared out in ten or so minutes, though and so, accompanied by a few curses we carried on with the activity of putting up the tent. An interesting operation that was.
The rest of the evening included inventing a new way of heating up frozen mozzarella sticks in the campfire and spending time with our tipsy tent mates.
Next day, the first day of the actual festival, woke us up with full sunshine and someone first listening to proper death metal, then Eminem, then Bomfunk MC's. I enjoyed my first ice cream of the summer and had to put on some sun protection for the first time this year.
In the afternoon they opened the festival area.
You should know that usually when I go to rock festivals, it is because of Nightwish, and therefore the whole day consists of waking up super early, queuing in front of the gates, running for dear life to the main stage and sitting there all day waiting till midnight when the show finally starts.
This time we’d discussed beforehand about acting like normal people: seeing other artists we like, walking around and generally enjoying ourselves. Both of us thought this was an extremely good idea – until we calmly strolled to the main stage and saw that the best spot, our spot was still free of eager Nightwish fans. A quick reconsideration of plans led to us merrily galloping over to the stage where we sat ourselves down on the ground and started waiting like so many times before.
Now a quick word of some musical experiences I had during the day.
I hadn’t seen Poets of the Fall live before so I didn’t know to expect the majority of the fanbase to be approximately 16-year-old girls. I felt old. I know I don’t look older than any of them but I certainly felt so. Anyhow, after warming up a bit the party got really started and with radio hits such as Illusion & Dream and Carnival of Rust the band got everyone jumping and clapping along. It was absolutely great. And my god that singer is tall - and a pretty charismatic fellow as well.
Then Amorphis, which is a supreme Finnish metal band whose music mostly derives from the Finnish folklore, especially Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. I’ve seen these guys before a couple of times already and they always rock the shit out of everyone. This time wasn't a let-down. It was awesome to hear material form their newest album, such as You I Need which is definitely one of my favourite songs of theirs. And let me tell you, in a few years time Tomi Joutsen’s dreadlocks will be longer than the man himself.
The next one was the British Snow Patrol, of which I thought I knew nothing – until they played Chasing Cars and I was able to sing all the lyrics. Despite that I didn’t recognise any other songs of theirs I enjoyed the performance to the full. They were really energetic, and the vocalist’s smile was absolutely irresistible.
And then the beloved Nightwish.
I cannot tell you how much I love this band and their music and everything about them. It is completely irrational and I’m aware that many people just don’t get it.
Once again I shall try to explain what makes Nightwish more than just another musical group among others.
For me seeing this band live in a gig (or randomly bumping into them somewhere, which indeed has happened!) feels like seeing a dear old friend after a while. Actually, it’s more like seeing an old lover who still gives the butterflies your stomach. It is exciting, uplifting, heart-warming, energising, and when the concert is over and you have to let them go, you get this empty feeling for a moment – before you retreat back to your happy place where the show goes on forever. It is not like any gig you go to and feel good about afterwards. With Nightwish it’s like I knew these people even though I obviously don’t but, you know just as if. To assert this illusion of belonging the band members sometimes clearly indicate that your presence has been acknowledged by taking a direct eye contact. And call me a delusional fanatic but I think that at least during a tour they actually remember some recurring faces from the front row.
Shh... Let me live in my bubble.
In addition to this, um, emotional connection and feeling of being one big, happy family it is also most magnificent to sing – or scream – your favourite songs, the lyrics of which you’d know in your sleep, on top your lungs with thousands of others, to bump your fist in the air and jump and wave like there’s no tomorrow, to see how the musicians themselves are having a great time and just not to give a damn about anything else than that perfect moment.
This was the first time I heard music from their new album live as well, and I have to say, it really really sounds amazing. Like I'd mused beforehand, Last Ride of The Day works like magic and so do Scaretale and Song of Myself. One of my everlasting wishes also came true when I finally got to witness a live performance of Come Cover Me. And to bring back Over The Hills And Far Away in the festival set list was brilliant as well.
So long story short, Nightwish was amazingly fantastic as always and I love them to bits.
But where was the encore!?
Only two and a half weeks till next time though!
What happened after Nightwish?
I bought a spring roll because that's what you do in rock festivals.
- brushed my teeth.
- crawled into my sleeping bag.
- woke up at 8 in the morning.
- packed up my things.
- had a chat with a drunken lady who blew too much tobacco smoke in my face.
- caught a bus to train station.
- had breakfast at Robert's Coffee.
- sat three hours in a train listening to Nightwish whilst grinning like an idiot.
This texts contains the word 'Nightwish' 10 times including this one.
Also the radio just started playing Wish I Had An Angel which is a song by Nightwish.
Now it's 11 times.