Founded in 2006, the Irish Festival of Oulu today attracts around 8,000 visitors annually and has hosted performances by some of the top names in Irish music, including the six-time Grammy Award-winning band The Chieftains. The man behind the festival is Irish-American Brent Cassidy, who first came to Oulu as an exchange student in 1997. “The unique thing about this festival is how it brings people together. We’re in northern Finland, but festival visitors experience something culturally unique; it’s like a different place. It’s a really warm and welcoming atmosphere combining Finnish and Irish culture,” he explains.