Joensuu Finland 15th–17th Jul 2016

Decorating can be a proper leg workout

During the festival, the job of decorators has largely already been done, but lighting up the sea of candles infront of the Main Stage is a proper workout. A great deal of the decorators' work is such that you would only notice it if it wasn't there.

Now that Ilosaarirock is well under way, a great deal of the decorators’ job has already been done. Nonetheless, decorating managers Maija, Laura and Sarianna still get some excercise on the job. When lighting up the sea of candles on the Main Stage, one has to do a lot of stair climbing in any case, but now people had to resort to unusual methods after the sticks normally used to light the candles ran out.

– My glutes definitely got a proper workout, Maija says with a laugh.

The job of decorators is to make the festival look nice. The Ilosaarirock letters are one of the most obvious and most photographed details. The trio in the photo are the decorating managers Maija, Laura and Sarianna. Photo: Terhi Hytönen

Decorating a festival is a job that ranges from tiny details to large visual elements. A great deal of the decorations are such that you would only notice them, if they weren’t there or had failed. This time, however, there has been no cause for worry. Even in the middle of the interview, a festival goer walks up to praise how good everything looks.

– The week preceding the festival is very busy. Weather has caused some unexpected changes to the schedule. Then again, perhaps it’s a good thing to come to terms with the fact that the weather is not always favorable. In Ilosaarirock, people have gotten used to the sun shining brightly and things working out without a hitch, says Maija, who has been managing the decorating job for seven years. Laura has been a manager for three years. Sarianna is a first-timer.

The manager trio has about 200 people working under them, and the puzzle of decorating the area is not the smallest or simplest challenge to tackle.

– Sarianna has formed teams and worked out efficient schedules for everyone. That way, we can get a lot done, Laura states.

The managers’ work days can drag until late. Maija describes that the shortest days spent on the festival area have been a meagre ten hours, but a typical day is longer. Much of the work is concentrated on the week before the festival and the couple of days after it, so the managers have had time to to and enjoy the bands performing.

Ricky-Tick Big Band was the artist that I was expecting the most, but I wasn’t able to see them because of the candle lighting business, Maija says.

They tell that they went to see Vesala as well.

– She was the artist I had been waiting for the most. And of course you need to go and see Antti Tuisku as well, Laura tells us.

This is the decorating group’s most important week of the year.

– People here are like one big family. There are so many pople who you get to meet only during this one week every year, Laura continues to say.

– This type of job is definitely a labor of love. I think I’m incredibly priviliged to get to be a part of this grand circus, Maija adds.

When we are taking photos, the manager trio positions themselves peeking from behind the Ilosaarirock letters. When taking a look at the photos, the trio laughs and points out that the photos look like promo pictures for a band. Maija tells us that the name of their potential band would be pretty punk.

– We would be called ”We All Have Problems”.


Text: Pasi Huttunen
Photo: Terhi Hytönen
Translation: Mika Alaoutinen

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