On 29.7-1.8.2021, a new classical music festival was held on Luosto, Pyhä, and in Sodankylä that attracted an audience from both Lapland and all over Finland. This year’s festival’s theme was nature and the environment.
The festival had a turnout of nearly 1000 concert attendances. This is an especially good result when you bear in mind what a complicated year it has been for organizing events.
The main concert of the festival with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra on the outdoor stage of Ukko-Luosto had well over 350 listeners. Thursday’s opening concert, as well as Friday’s concerts in the old church of Sodankylä and Hotelli Luostotunturi were sold out, as was the event in Ravintola Punakettu with the Sodankylä Big Band that same evening.
“These audience numbers surpassed expectations, and the feedback we have received has been glowing throughout the festival. This has shown what a desire there is for this kind of event” said Ali Arsalo, chairman of the Kuusikko soi organization, which organized the festival.
This same message has held through in the feedback gathered from the audience. A feedback form was filled out by 47 different audience members, of which roughly a fourth were from Sodankylä, less than a third from elsewhere in Lapland, and almost half from elsewhere in Finland or overseas. Half of responders reported on having attended between 2 and 4 concerts.
“This shows that the combination of Luosto and classical music has attracted interest, and that Luosto is inviting as a culture destination” declared Aku Sorensen, artistic director of the festival.
Nearly 90 percent of all respondents said they found the concert programs and auxiliary events good or excellent in their entirety, and well over 80 percent said they found the programming interesting or very interesting.
As far as the economic repercussions of the festival, it is interesting to note that 40 percent of attendees reported on having stayed on their trip for 3 nights or longer. Of those, 60 percent stayed in a hotel or rental cabin.
The spirit of Luosto has returned
The so-called “wonder of Luosto” happened this year too. Even though Saturday morning began gray and cloudy, it did not rain during the main concert, and during the final climaxes of Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, the clouds in the sky disappeared.
Central to the spirit of Luosto is a relaxed communal atmosphere. Audiences come to concerts in their casual clothes, and during the main concert, you can pick blueberries while listening.
Luosto also claimed the hearts of the international group of young artists who arrived to perform, and they return to the world as walking advertisements for the Luosto area.
In addition to the concerts, the weekend included daily auxiliary events. The festival brought an exhibit to Sodankylä that highlights the effects of climate change on Finnish Lapland, which will remain in the town hall till the end of September.
The festival was organized by the Kuusikko soi ry. which was formed in 2019. The festival was made possible by the active members of Luoston klubi ry, as well as other volunteers, who kept the festival running with a huge amount of round-the-clock work.