Modern Sky Festival lands in Helsinki

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Drinking a glass of bear by the Baltic sea while enjoying some live Asian pop music -- the combination was a unique experience for Finnish youngsters during the weekend.

A poster for Modern Sky Festival in Helsinki [File photo]

Modern Sky Festival, one of China's largest outdoor music festivals, took place in Helsinki and lasted for two days. It was also the prominent festival's debut in Europe.

Showcasing a mixture of Asian and Nordic music bands, the festival was held under the theme "new Nordic meets new Asia".

As part of the Focus China, a specialty of the Helsinki Festival 2015, Modern Sky Festival also brought current Chinese music to Finnish audiences.

The line up included indie rock, pop, electro and alternative acts, as well as fresh DJ's from Asian and Nordic countries.

Heun Park from South Korea and Fangyi Lee from China's Taiwan came to the festival to see the Korean indie Artist Sunwoo Jung-A, but they barely missed the band's performance.

"It's fine, there are many other artists too. We came here with open minds to hear some new music," said Heun Park.

Both women have studied in Helsinki for three years. During the period, they have felt an increased popularity of Asian culture in Finland.

"Modern Sky and many of the other events during the Helsinki Festival are obviously an example of that," Fangyi Lee said.

One could have come to another conclusion by taking a look at the crowds.

The old shipyard area with its rugged industrial landscape met all the standards of a hip urban festival site. Still it was half empty of people. Three friends who had come to the festival blamed the marketing.

"I think it was almost nonexistent. I had not even heard about this festival until last week," said Jukka Jaakkola.

His friend Annika Rantala, on the other hand, had been actively following the festival updates on Facebook.

"I didn't know any of the foreign artists beforehand but I was definitely positively surprised. The venue is beautiful and unique too. It's a pity that no more people found their way here," said Rantala.

The two speculated that at the end of the summer's festival season, the ticket prices could have been cheaper. Two weeks earlier an established urban festival, Flow Festival, was sold out and had possibly emptied the potential crowd's bank accounts, they thought.

"Anyway, I'm really glad to see a newcomer with fresh music in Helsinki's festival scene. I will tell my friends about this and hope to see them all here next August if this is held again," said Rantala.

Modern Sky was one of the first record companies to publish Chinese alternative rock and pop music. Today it is a leading festival producer in Asia. Before the presence in Helsinki, the company organised 24 festivals this year in China as well as in New York and Seattle.

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