Where and when? Helsinki, Suvilahti. Over three days, 12.-14.8.2016
Visitors: 75 000
Stages: 11
Artists: 145
Highlights: Massive Attack’s show on Friday made a political statement by using headlines from the Finnish press as visuals. Australia’s Sia closed the Sunday with her powerful voice combined with contemporary dance.
Website: http://archive.flowfestival.com/2016/en/index.html (Please note that some imagery or links might not work correctly on the archived site, and do prepare for other oddities, too.)

Flow took place in Suvilahti for the tenth time in a row. The sold-out festival ran from the 12th to 14th of August and saw a record number of visitors – 75 000. The festival spoiled the crowd with some unforgettable experiences, when the seldomly performing pop powerhouse Sia filled the stage with her mighty voice and gigantic wig, or when the energetic and unapologetic Iggy Pop raged at the audience. The dream-pop darlings M83 catered for the electronic music fans, and the iconic Massive Attack shared the stage with the Scottish Young Fathers.

Other memorable performances included e.g. FKA twigs, Jamie xx, Morrissey, Chvrches, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, The Last Shadow Puppets, Stormzy, Descendents, Thee Oh Sees, Four Tet, ANOHNI: Hopelessness, Mura Masa, Dua Lipa, Kaytranada, Laura Mvula, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Ata Kak, Helena Hauff, Jeff Mills, Ben Glock, Savages, Sleaford Mods, Arca, Ruger Hauer Feat. Regina, Alma, Töölön Ketterä and Räjäyttäjät. For the full lineup, please see the bottom of the page.

2016 saw some new areas being freed for use for Flow. Hence, Flow introduced new stages to the audience. One of the pinnacle stages, Blue Tent, was replaced by the new and showy Lapin Kulta Red Arena, which matched the main stage (or Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena) in size. Unforeseen in Finland, the giant new tent doubled the former stage area capacity and created more space for services and chillout areas on the sides.

Huge Lapin Kulta Red Arena stage
The new Lapin Kulta Red Arena was Finland’s biggest ever tent stage. Photo: © Niklas Sandström

The Black Tent area went through a large reformation. The intimate Zalando Factory stage made its debut (and said farewell) in an old industrial hall which was taken down after the festival. Graffiti veteran Ben Eine decorated the old building and painted a huge, colourful mural over one of its sheet metal walls. The Zalando Factory stage hosted a variety of local and international acts, of which many were still waiting for their big break. Mura Masa and Töölön Ketterä were amongst the most popular acts – both returned to Flow in the upcoming years, filling the bigger stages. In addition to the Zalando Factory stage, the same building hosted several restaurants and a bar. The number of restaurants in the whole area was higher than ever before, including a new vegan food cluster in the middle of Suvilahti. For fans of refreshing drinks and quality films, the stylish Riviera Cinema Bar was a welcomed addition.

Zalando Factory pictured from outside
The Zalando Factory stage in an old industrial building lasted only one year, as the building was taken down. Photo: © Annikki Valomieli
Zalando Factory stage and audience
Töölön Ketterä filled the Zalando Factory stage to the brim. Photo: © Samu Hintsa

For the second time now, Flow’s art program was a collaboration with the University of the Arts. The theme in 2016 was “Embracing Futures” which toyed with alternative future scenarios. The University showcased over 20 artists and arts collectives, who produced, for instance, incredible sound and music pieces, video art and installations as well as an investigative webcast radio station. Many of these pieces were located in the experimental art space, Art Laboratory. As part of the art program, on display was also artwork by “Visual Artists of the Year” Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja: ‘Embrace Your Empathy!‘ showed a near-future utopia, where people and animals were equal.

Is The Sky Painted art piece by Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja
Is The Sky Painted artwork between the gasometers formed a part of Laura Gustafsson’s and Terike Haapoja’s ‘Embrace Your Empathy!’ entity. Photo: © Annikki Valomieli

For years, the Flow team had wanted to make the area as united as possible and slowly progressed toward the goal as the alcohol politics mitigated year after year. In 2016, the only places without a license were the main stage’s immediate front yard and the Balloon stage.

Before the festival in August, Flow organised an event in Estonia. In April, Off Flow was part of Tallinn Music Week, and it saw an old, rough electric power plant KultuuriKatel decorated in Flow aesthetics – and enjoying the Flow atmosphere. The entertainment was provided by Finland’s Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Noah Kin, Samuli Kemppi, Lil Tony, Trevor Deep Jr and Katerina, and Estonia’s DJ Raul Saaremets and Ats & Kris. Richard McCormick’s delicious street food kept the festival-goers in Tallinn satisfied – and going.

Said about Flow:

«Whether it’s the opportunity to see a unique lineup, experience strange art performances alongside recognizable international stars, or discover Finnish artists playing their home country, Flow is securing its position as one of the coolest festivals you might not know about. It deserves to only get bigger still.»
– Consequence of Sound


«You get a sense that every single element of the event has been pored over with the happiness of attendees in mind.»
– Loud and Quiet

Photos: © Samu Hintsa, Tomi Palsa, Niklas Sandström, Annikki Valomieli, Konstantin Kondrukhov, Andrew Taylor, Katri Naukkarinen, Samuli Pentti, Maija Astikainen, Kimmo Metsäranta and Sami Heiskanen.

Continue your trip down memory lane:

Watch photos: See all Flow Festival 2016 photos on Flickr
Check out videos: Official Flow Festival 2016 YouTube playlist
Read the magazine: Browse Flow’s 2016 “F” magazine
Photo Book: Browse the Flow Festival 2016 Photo Book

Browse the archived website:
Please note that some links and photos might not work correctly, and do prepare for other oddities, too.

Listen to the official Flow Festival 2016 playlist on Spotify:

Flow Festival 2016 artists in alphabetical order:
Aaro DiCosta (Live)
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Anna von Hausswolff
ANOHNI Hopelessness
Apache Lifeforms
Arca (DJ set) & Jesse Kanda (visuals)
Ata Kak
Ben Klock
Better Things to Do
Circus Helsinki
Club Anvil
Death Hawks
DJ Allu Albatrossi
DJ Missstiff
DJ Pierre live-hybrid set
DJ WindowsMan
Dua Lipa
Eevil Stöö
Elatu Nessa
Elias Gould
FKA twigs
Flashback Future
Floating Points (Live)
Four Tet
Ghost Box Project Linda#faceinthemirror
Helena Hauff
Hercules & Love Affair
Holly Herndon
Ian William Craig
Iggy Pop
Irina Björklund
Itä-Hollola Installaatio
J. Karjalainen
Jaakko Eino Kalevi
Jamie Tiller
Jamie xx
Jayda G
Jeff Mills
John Talabot (DJ set)
Jokki & Jimi
Jopo Sḯmeon K
Jukka Eskola Soul Trio+
Jussi Kantonen & Anssi Nieminen
Kalevi Louhivuori Quintet
Kamasi Washington
Kasko (Live)
Katri Koivula
Kim Ann Foxman
Kokko Quartet
Kosminen Rönkkö! Sounds from Home
Kristiina Männikkö
Lake Jons
Laura Mvula
Lauri Ainala (feat. Olli Ainala)– Orpokotijuhlat Saarella
Lauri Soini
Lil B
Lil Tony
Linda Lazarov
Litku Klemetti & Tuntematon numero
Marc Fred
Massive Attack & Young Fathers
Megalodon Collective
Mikko Joensuu
Mirage Man
Moa Pillar
Moonface & Siinai
Mopo & Ville Leinonen
Mura Masa
New Order
Nicole Willis & Jimi Tenor & Tony Allen
Noah Kin (DJ-set)
NYKY Ensemble plays Reich
Oscar Mulero
Osuma Ensemble
Pantha Du Prince presents The Triad
Paperi T x Pekka Kuusisto x Samuli Kosminen
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band
Paula Temple
Pink Twins
Pötkylä & Pyörylä
Raappana & New Riddim Crew
Red Axes (Live)
Ricky-Tick Big Band & Julkinen Sana feat. Agit-Cirk
Roman Flügel
RPK (Live)
Ruger Hauer feat. Regina
Röyhkä/ Inginmaa/ Hypnomen
Samuli Kemppi
Shackleton presents Powerplant
Sleaford Mods
Tapio & Tuomi Duo
Teddy’s West Coasters
Tero Männikkö
The Black Madonna
The Last Shadow Puppets
The SultanS
Thee Oh Sees
Trevor Deep Jr. (Live)
Töölön Ketterä
VG+ & Herkules
Villa Nah (Live)
Voices from the Lake
William Basinski