If you haven’t read my blog on how I got to Finland you can read it here and if you want to hear about my time in Sweden you can read that here! There’s a lot to cover so I’m just gonna jump right in.
We officially landed in Helsinki on June 29th at 11pm after a 2 hour flight from Stockholm (there’s a 1 hour difference between the two countries.) The first time I experienced someone not acknowledging me when I spoke to them was when we asked how to best get to our hostel at the information desk at the airport. The guy that told us to take the bus kind of ignored me when I spoke to him and didn’t make eye-contact. It was a few minutes until our bus would arrive and my friend was hungry so she got something to eat at a Burger King at the airport. I bought a water but it was an unnecessary struggle. I literally had to repeat “1 water bottle” like 20 times before another person said “she wants a water bottle” to the cashier. He apologized, but it was really off-putting. I don’t have a strong accent and I’m especially cognizant when I’m speaking to someone that doesn’t speak English as their first language.
Anyways, we took the bus to our hostel that was a 30 minute ride away. We had to get off at Hattulantie, and I swear I said the name correctly (my friend had told him first too because I figured pretty quickly from my interactions at the airport that my appearance is off-putting to some people.) The bus driver understood us when we initially bought the ticket to Hattulantie, but when we asked him during the ride there he couldn’t understand us. I noticed during my stay that bus drivers don’t speak English well. Lucky for us a woman on the bus was getting off at our same stop so she helped us get to our hostel.
We were actually super lucky to meet this kind woman! She just got back to Helsinki from a tour around the world and was staying at our hostel for a night before she headed back to Lapland. She was super nice and friendly and walked with us to the hostel. She also called the hostel since we didn’t have a key or a code and helped us check in. Like she made sure that we were all settled in before she situated herself. We couldn’t thank her enough. We slept pretty late in the night and the sun literally never sets in Finland! We were tired though so it wasn’t hard to fall asleep the first day.
07:30 was my wake up call for Tuska Day 1. We got ready and headed out to Café Succès (it had high reviews so we went there of course) for breakfast. I think we just people watched for a while and took it easy until we headed out to Tuska around noon. We took the metro to Tuska and the metro is so simple it’s kind of ridiculous. We didn’t get lost at all finding our way to the abandoned factory area since there were a ton of metalheads on the metro as well. We just followed the sea of black and in no time we were there. Also metalheads are nice people IN CASE THE WORLD IN STILL IN THE DARK ABOUT OUR CULTURE
We got our Turbo VIP tickets and forgot that it included a bag with free merch. I said this on the breakdown post, but we got a Tuska tote bag, a Tuska sweatband, Tuska lanyard with the Turbo VIP pass, a magazine that featured all of the artists, a schedule, and 3 free meal tickets. When you walk into the festival, after security checks you, you’ll see a huge merch stand to the left. They only take cash though so we had to walk back to the metro and withdraw some. The only bands we wanted to see the first day were Anneke Van Giersbergen’s Vuur, Wintersun, and Sabaton so we didn’t miss anyone we had planned to see.
It was FREEZING cold (to a Texan/Californian) on the first day. I was literally shaking from the cold. The wind was SO GNARLY that we had to camp out in the VIP area a few times to avoid it. The VIP area has a covered dining area as well as a bar that’s covered. Also it’s own restroom which was super nice itself. I think we hung around the back of Anneke‘s set, ate burgers quickly (they had a vegan jackfruit burger option!) then ran off to see Wintersun’s set at the main stage.
Wintersun 6/30 16:20-17:20
I didn’t get as close as I would’ve like to the stage for Wintersun, but the performance was still epic! I honestly never thought that I would ever see Wintersun play live (I’ve been a fan for about 5 years), so this experience was kind of surreal to me. It was hard for me to grasp that I was actually seeing them perform in person that I just stared throughout the whole concert basically. I lost it during some of their songs lol it’s so hard not to jam to “Beyond the Dark Sun” and definitely to “Sons of Winter and Stars.” I loved the band’s synergy. I didn’t know what to expect since they added an additional guitarist to the group, Asim, but their set flowed smoothly and their performance seemed very natural. Needless to say, Wintersun’s set got me stoked for the rest of Tuska! Also during the closing of their set Jari looked straight at me and gave me a power metal salute!! I was so far in the back that I didn’t think they could see me, although I did smile at Asim and Teemu while they were playing, but my friend turned to me and was like “DID YOU SEE THAT/DID THAT JUST HAPPEN!?” I was literally freaking out for a straight 10 minutes. Then we found out shortly after that they were having an autograph session later that night.
There were actually quite a lot of people in line for Wintersun’s autographs. Like I said before, I didn’t know the magnitude of a lot of these bands popularity until I visited their homelands. We waited so long that we sat down lol, and the line was moving pretty slowly because everyone wanted a goddamn selfie. They are all super nice and from the few minutes that I spent with them they seem really down to Earth and humble. I had a funny conversation with Jukka. I think he got bored while waiting for the line to move so he drew a “mushroom” in my friend’s autograph book. I asked him what it was & he said that it was supposed to be a mushroom. I told him that it looked like a cow. He was like “um no it’s a mushroom lol” so I asked him to draw something on my card. He thought about it for a while then scribbled something and called it a flamingo. I laughed at it because it kind of looked like a shape with a beak, but stopped making fun of him and moved on to Teemu. Teemu was polite. He asked me where I was from and if I was staying for the full 3 days of Tuska. Jari was probably the most grateful (?) out of the group. He shook my hand, signed my card, and told me thank you in like the best way possible (with hand motions and stuff à la Jari style.) Overall that band was dope before and they are super dope now. I actually can’t wait to meet them again!
I think in between sets we basically walked around. We visited the Inferno stage briefly (to shield ourselves from the cold tbh), the convenience store because my period decided it wanted me to experience THE MOST TUSKA out of anyone at that goddamn festival, but mostly the VIP area where I saw some random rockstars chillin’. I made eye-contact with Archie from Santa Cruz who was with Olli Herman from Reckless Love, but decided not to say hi to them because they were chillin with their homeboys.
Eventually we walked to Insomnium because my friend knew of some of their songs and thought they were a good band. I was in so much pain from my period that I felt kind of high during their set. But from what I remember from my experience they play music that I would actively listen to. We were kind of at the back of the crowd so I couldn’t see the stage because #shortpeopleproblems
We kind of saw Devin Townsend‘s set, but we listened to his/their (?) music before the festival and only dug a few songs. He had a straightforward sense of humor that was pretty hilarious.
Sabaton 6/30 22:30-00:00
Sabaton was a big artist that we wanted to see that day. We literally stood for an hour at least before their set so that we could get as close to the stage as possible, and we ended up being 1 row from the gate to the left of the stage near Tommy. I went to see them in San Francisco not too long ago and I was excited to see the tank during their set, but they didn’t have it at the SF show. When they revealed everything for their Tuska set it was everything I wanted. They had a tank, visuals on the screen, confetti, and a wardrobe malfunction. It was SO FUN. The crowd knew all the songs and although the cadence/jokes of this set was basically a repeat of their SF show the volume of people genuinely enjoying their time made it so much more fun. We sung/screamed until we couldn’t anymore and jumped until we were sore. I was getting pretty tired towards the end of their set and Pär would look at me and smile every time I was fading away from fatigue lol I felt so bad but also your girl was hella tired. Sabaton is always a fun show to see and I recommend them to anyone that is looking for a new band to get into.
That night we arrived at our hostel around 1am, but I didn’t sleep until around 2am because I absolutely cannot fall asleep if I haven’t taken a shower beforehand. We met some girls who were also attending Tuska for all 3 days. They were from Poland and I forgot where else lol but they were pretty cool. The only not cool thing was that 1 girl snored like a TRAIN all night. Like it was so ridiculous that the girl sleeping in the bunk under me would get up in the middle of the night from frustration and kick that girl’s bed or wake her up to tell her to shut up lol
Here’s the schedule for day 1 (I didn’t get autograph times because they were randomly added throughout the day):
- 13:00 Gates open
- 14-14:45 Rotten Sound
- 14:15-14:45 Huora
- 14:45-15:35 Brother Firetribe
- 15:15-15:45 Kohti Tuhoa
- 15:35-16:20 Anneke Van Giersbergen’s Vuur
- 16:15-16:45 Ratface
- 14:20-17:20 Wintersun
- 17:15-18 Baptism
- 17:25-18:25 Brujeria
- 18:25-19:25 Suicidal Tendencies
- 18:30-19:15 Pekko Käppi
- 19:25-20:25 Insomnium
- 19:45-20:30 Barathrum
- 20:25-21:25 Devin Townsend Project
- 21-21:45 Trap Them
- 21:25-22:30 Mayhem
- 22:30-00 Sabaton
- 01:00 Gates Close
I’ll cover Tuska Day 2 in the next blog!