Where and when? Suvilahti, Helsinki. Over three days, 14.-16.8.2009, plus opening concert on the 13th August
Visitors: 41 000
Stages: 6
Artists:  approx. 70
Highlights: Kraftwerk’s opening concert, Grace Jones’ explosive spectacle and the highly anticipated Lily Allen
Website: http://archive.flowfestival.com/2009/en.main.html (Please note that some imagery or links might not work properly on the archived site.)

Flow Festival 2009 spanned over four consecutive days. Thursday the 13th saw the opening concert, and the festival itself took place from Friday ‘til Sunday. The opening concert was Flow’s first, and it was organised together with Live Nation. Headlined by the iconic German electro group Kraftwerk, the lineup also included two domestic acts: Aavikko and Acid Symphony Orchestra. The opening night drew in about 6 200 visitors. From Friday to Sunday, the capacity of the whole festival was around 12 000 visitors each day. Flow Festival 2009 was part of the Helsinki Festival, and again, it nearly sold out.

Kraftwerk performing at the opening concert of Flow Festival 2009
The Flow Festival opening concert in 2009 was headlined by Kraftwerk. Photo: © Vilhelm Sjöström

In addition to the opening act Kraftwerk, the festival lineup included, e.g. Grace Jones, Vampire Weekend, Fever Ray, Lily Allen, Yann Tiersen, White Lies, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Nitin Sawhney, DJ Mehdi, Radio Slave, New Young Pony Club, Ladyhawke, Roots Manuva, Final Fantasy, The Big Pink, Handsome Furs, Jazzanova, Flying Lotus, Kode 9, Scuba, Kerri Chandler, Mika Vainio, Huoratron, Regina, pintandwefall, Eero Johannes and Le Corps Mince de Françoise. For the full lineup, please see the bottom of the page.

A separate opening night wasn’t the only new addition to Flow’s repertoire. The two other novelties were Saunayard, an area dedicated to DJ sets with an actual sauna, and Makasiini, a space combining visual art and experimental music. The festival area grew considerably from the previous year, and it was further developed to cater the crowds more smoothly and efficiently. The main stage shifted from next to Voimala to the large open area, where it still stands today. The alcohol serving areas were also developed and arranged further. Champagne Bar was launched, which was never-before-seen for a festival at the time. This kicked off a series of new bar concepts and innovations, together with Flow’s longstanding hospitality partner Kuudeslinja and Hartwall.

Sauna at Flow Festival 2009
The new Saunayard didn’t just offer music but, of course, an authentic sauna. Photo: © Vilhelm Sjöström

Flow Festival 2009 was one of the first carbon-neutral festivals in the world. Flow began to seriously develop its operations, determined to make the festival even more responsible, and also kicked off its sustainability program. Together with energy and climate experts from Pöyry Consulting Group, Flow birthed an initiative that aimed to cut down the festival’s carbon footprint to zero. The first step was to calculate the carbon emissions from energy consumption, including, e.g. the emissions from artists’ travel, and then design ways to decrease the footprint. According to the internationally recognised Green House Gas Protocol’s guidance, Flow could compensate for the emissions and improve its environmental focus but also develop its environmental impact long-term. This initiative formed the base for Flow’s future development work on sustainability and climate change, and it’s been progressed further with Pöyry throughout the years. Flow has been a carbon-neutral event from 2009 onwards. Every year since 2009, the emissions have been compensated with environmental projects. Read more about the work Flow does for sustainability here.

Flow Festival's entrance in 2009
Flow Festival main entrance in 2009. Photo: © Eerikki Pokela

In the spring of 2009, Flow was awarded the “Event of the Year” accolade at Basso’s yearly vote. In the autumn, Flow took home the “Festival of the Year” award at the Music & Media Industry Awards gala.

In addition to the festival weekend itself, the Flow team organised an event called “Jazz Heat Bongo Beat” together with Ricky-Tick Records. The April event took place in the Helsinki Hall of Culture and hosted performances by Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics, Auteur Jazz, Dalindèo, The Five Corners Quintet and DJ Nicola Conte.

Photos: © Jussi Hellsten, Vilhelm Sjöström, Sami Heiskanen, Eerikki Pokela and Juuso Koponen.

Continue your trip down memory lane:

Watch photos: See all of the Flow Festival 2009 photos on Flickr

Browse the archived Flow Festival 2009 website:
Please note that some imagery or links might not work properly on the archived site.

Flow Festival 2009 artists in alphabetical order:

A Critical Mass
A Guy Called Gerald
Acid Symphony Orchestra
Andreas Tilliander
Cats On Fire
Collie Buddz & The New Kingston Band
David Rodigan
DJ Mehdi
DJ Sniff
Eero Johannes
Fever Ray
Final Fantasy
Flying Lotus
Frida Hyvönen
Grace Jones
Gudrun Gut
Handsome Furs
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Jazzanova Live
Jenny Wilson
Joensuu 1685
Jupiter Soul Revue
Kerri Chandler
Le Corps Mince de Françoise
Lil Tony
Lily Allen
Loefah and MC Sgt Pokes
Mika Vainio
New Young Pony Club
Nitin Sawhney
Oi pojat
Radio Slave
Ricky-Tick Records Sound Bash
Roots Manuva
Röyhkä ja Rättö ja Lehtisalo
Saunayard / Friday DJs
Saunayard / Saturday DJs
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
Tes La Rok
The Big Pink
The Capital Beat
The Juan MacLean
The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt
Top Billin DJ’s & New Judas DJ’s
Tuuli Inari
Vampire Weekend
Villa Nah
Vivian Girls
We Love Helsinki DJs
White Lies
Yann Tiersen