Where and when? Suvilahti, Helsinki. Over three days, 10.-12.8. 2012, plus an opening concert on August 8th
Visitors: 63 000
Stages: 13
Artists: 134
Highlights: The alternative pop icon Björk performed with an electric Tesla coil prop, The Black Keys charmed the crowds with their raw, contagious sound.
Website: http://archive.flowfestival.com/2012/en/index.html (Please note that some imagery or links might not work correctly on the archived site.)

Flow Festival 2012 kicked off with an opening night on Wednesday, August 8th, featuring Bon Iver and Joose Keskitalo and Kolmas Maailmanpalo. The festival itself took place from Friday the 10th to Sunday the 12th.

In its 9th year, Flow was bigger and more diverse than ever before. The 63 000 visitors were treated with some huge alternative icons as well as newcomers voted by the public. On the 13 different stages performed, e.g. Björk, The Black Keys, Feist, Lykke Li, A$AP Rocky, St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, Saint Etienne, Chromatics, Yann Tiersen, DāM-FunK, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries, Miike Snow, Swans, Kindness, Friends, Nicolas Jaar, Four Tet & Caribou, Bicep, Horace Andy and Dub Asante, Sun Araw, Tamikrest, Shangaan Electro, Actress, Oneohtrix Point Never, Nina Kraviz, Theo Parrish, Lindstrøm, Pinch, Fennesz & Lillevan, Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators, French Films, Mopo, Dumari & Spuget, Pepe Deluxé, Memmy Posse and Kuusumun Profeetta. For the full lineup, please see the bottom of the page.

Panorama picture of Flow Festival's Main Stage while Feist is performing
Canada’s Feist gathered an impressive crowd at the main stage in 2012. Photo: © Jussi Hellsten

The festival took place in Suvilahti for the 6th time. It had grown rapidly and was able to arrange much needed extra space when the entrance was relocated from Kalasatama to Parrukatu. This allowed the public area to expand by a third of the previous site. The main stage grew bigger and was moved, creating more space for the audience to enjoy its gigs. Due to the Finnish alcohol serving legislation back then, the main stage area had to have separate serving areas. The Black Tent, previously located next to Voimala, moved closer to the Hanasaari power plant – where it has remained since. Flow also put a lot of care into reviving much of the tired greenery of Suvilahti.

A new addition, the Wastelands stage, was created by the winner of an architecture student competition. Today, the stage is known as Balloon 360 °. Helsinki’s year as the World Design Capital of 2012 also brought several other architecture, design and art concepts to the festival.

New Wastelands stage at Flow Festival 2012
Wastelands stage was an outcome of an architecture student competition. Today, the stage goes by the name Balloon 360 °. Photo: © Jussi Hellsten

In 2012, the festival chose a “Visual Artist of The Year” as part of its arts program. The inaugural title went to Tuomas Aleksander Laitinen, whose video installation Passage was on display at Garage Gallery. The piece was part of a series of installations exploring the underground Helsinki and thus, part of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 program. The arts lineup featured, e.g. the Mauritanian graffiti and hip-hop culture advocate Mode2’s exhibition in Make Your Mark Gallery. You could also witness Mode2 at work as he created several new pieces during the exhibition.

Panellists discussing on stage as a part of the Flow Talks program
Flow Festival 2012 included several talks. Photo: ©Jussi Hellsten

In the previous years, the three-day tickets had sold out quickly. This had created a black market where scalpers could resell the sold-out tickets at high prices. The festival organisers tackled this by rendering the tickets personal and by requiring IDs at the gates. The experiment diminished an organised black market but proved to be a laborious task in practice.

In the autumn, Flow Festival won the “Festival of the Year” award at the Music & Media Industry Awards gala. Flow also received its first EcoCompass certificate for fulfilling the sustainability criteria.

Said about Flow:

«This art-filled urban festival, on the site of an old power plant near the city center, is compact, but a lot of thought has gone into creating a variety of colourful entertainment places.»
– Telegraph


«The now defunct Suvilahti power plant in Helsinki plays host to four days of new music in an impressive industrial landscape of gas cylinders and smokestacks.»
– The Guardian

Photos: © Jussi Hellsten, Niklas Sandström, Helen Korpak, Tomi Palsa, Samuli Pentti, Tomi Kukkonen, Joel Nieminen & Maija Astikainen.

Continue your trip down memory lane:

Watch photos: See all Flow Festival 2012 photos on Flickr
Read the magazine: Browse the Flow magazine’s ISSUE #1 and ISSUE #2 (in Finnish)
Photo Book: Browse the Flow Festival 2012 Photo Book

Browse the archived website:
Please note that some imagery or links might not work correctly on the archived site.

Listen to the official Flow Festival 2012 playlist on Spotify:

Flow Festival 2012  artists in alphabetical order:

A Winged Victory for the Sullen
A$AP Rocky
Africa Hitech
Ane Brun
Antero Lindgren
Arch of Neo
Asta Emilia & Omor
Atlético Kumpula
Awesome Tapes From Africa
BaBa Zula
Bear Bones, Lay Low
Beverly Girls
Black Twig
Bon Iver
Bongo Rock feat. Cornel Campbell
Burning Hearts
Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires
Clap Dance
Cosmo Baker
Crystal Clears
DāM Funk
Daniel Savio aka Kool DJ Dust
Daniele Baldelli
DJ Harri & Käki
DJ TG & Super-Samuli
Dumari & Spuget
Eevil Stöö, Dj Kridlokk & Koksukoo
Fag You DJ’s Janne X & Shoplifter
Fennesz & Lillevan
Four Tet & Caribou DJ set
French Films
Harjun Nuorisotalon DJ-kurssi esittää: Focus ja AT
Harjun Nuorisotalon DJ-kurssi esittää: Selekta Ssoze & DJ Kuk Norris
Hermanni Turkki
Horace Andy and Dub Asante
Irene Kostas & Kristiina Männikkö
Jason Moran and the Bandwagon
Joose Keskitalo ja Kolmas maailmanpalo
Jukka Poika
Just Paha
Kari Tapiiri + Akira + Dallas = Dakiiri
Karri Koira
Karri Koira DJ-set
Kolektif Istanbul
Koponen & Sirén Drugz ‘n’ Pillz 88 BPM Jamz
Kultabassokerho Freestyle Open
Kuusumun Profeetta
Lasten sunnuntai
Lauri Soini
Lykke Li
Memmy Posse
Miike Snow
Mika Snickars
Mikko Joensuu
Monolake Live – The Ghosts in Surround
Motelli Skronkle
Murat Meric
Nicolas Jaar
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators
Nina Kraviz
Oneohtrix Point Never
Orchestra of Spheres
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou
Pekka Airaksinen
Pepe Deluxé
Poika & Hirviö
Pretty Bruises Squad
Richie Hawtin
Roberto Rodriguez
Saint Etienne
Shangaan Electro
Sheikki Sheikki DJ’s
Siinai + Moonface
Sin Cos Tan
Sleep ∞ Over
Sonny T
St. Vincent
Sun Araw
Super Mazembe
The Black Keys
The Michael Flower Band
The Splits
The War on Drugs
Theo Parrish
Tiiu Helinä
Trevor Deep Jr
Tuipe & Alari Orav
Verneri Pohjola Quartet
Veturimiehet heiluttaa plays Autiomaa
We Love Helsinki
Yann Tiersen
Yön Syke feat. Jaakko Eino Kalevi