Snoozing festival train awakened by a surprise gig
The official festival train started its journey towards Joensuu on Friday. The atmosphere perked up during the travel.
The journey towards the festival begins. Photo: Anni Huttunen
At 8:20 AM on Friday the official festival train starts its journey from Helsinki towards Ilosaarirock in Joensuu. While I wander across the coaches the atmosphere is seemingly sleepy. The weary travelers are snoozing on top of their backpacks or against the person next to them.
Yet, I am able to find two relatively energetic gals, Eme and Eliise, who are anxiously waiting for the festival. Eme is going to the festival for the first time and she is especially interested in seeing the gig of J. Karjalainen. She reveals that when she was young, she once bathed in the sauna with the artist himself, the Finnish mountaineer legend Veikka Gustafsson and her step-dad. After this connection created in her early years, she’s made it a goal to attend as many gigs of Jukka Karjalainen as possible. And it has always been great!
The ambiance in the train is slowly ascending. I come across a group of true festival veterans, on the way to the festival for the thirteenth time! They have a clear unanimity about the best aspect of Ilosaarirock: it is the easy-going attitude of the eastern Finns. Still, the festival nights spent in the camping sites and the epic tent-after-parties are over for these guys. As a precaution, not one of them owns a tent, for the camping might feel too appealing an idea at some point of the weekend.
The atmosphere perks up at the latest when a sympathetic man-guitar-combo boards the train. He is none other than LEO, an artist playing at Ilosaarirock’s Sulo Club on Friday evening. He tells that he has traveled from Joensuu to Parikkala in the morning to board the festival train from there. The man wearing a brown fedora to match his eyes, performs in front of the passenger holding pints in the restaurant cart. The sleepy festival crowd is taken by a surprise and they sing along with LEO who definitely gains more spectators for his evening gig.
The surprise gig of LEO. Photo: Anni Huttunen
LEO himself does not confess being a real festival devotee, but he still remembers when his mom took him to Ruisrock to see the gig of HIM when he was young. Although the gig at Sulo Club is his first festival performance, he isn’t that nervous. After his own gig he has planned to stay at the festival to watch gigs till Sunday. He is particularly interested in seeing Cheek as well as Passenger, the replacement for Ellie Goulding.
Text and Photos: Anni Huttunen
Translation: Tuuli Ahonen