The Tampere region is making a name for itself as Finland’s new culture destination – even rivalling the capital, Helsinki, when it comes to hosting events. Representing a number of local festivals, the organisation Tampere Region Festivals, or Pirfest for short, is whipping up excitement in the area by fuelling the growth of the festival scene, and turning Tampere into an unmissable destination for international travellers.

Pirfest is a unique network bringing together 36 festivals across 12 municipalities. It aims to share information and resources amongst its members, to represent them and to liaise with external entities, like the authorities, on their behalf. It also played a pivotal role in helping festivals navigate the turbulent and uncertain time of COVID-19 restrictions.

“A lot of our time was spent on crisis communications. We also facilitated training to ensure safe events. We were still feeling the pandemic’s impact in reduced attendance last year, which is why we are very excited to see the Tampere region bustling with festival-goers this year,” says Tampere Region Festivals’ executive director, Tiina Kuusisto.

From hip-hop to modern art: Tampere is for the culture-lovers

Brass band Cono performing from a diving tower at KesäVirratSoi festival. Photo: Matti Nenonen

A region of culture, 365 days of the year

Many festivals take place in Tampere all year round. Visitors to the region will find events to satisfy every interest, from the casual to the highbrow. This variety is matched by the many types of venues that play host to the festivities: both new, purpose-built venues and old buildings and industrial estates that are brought back to life.

People might be looking for a summer holiday destination, but Tampere shouldn’t be forgotten come autumn, winter and spring. The smiling people who fill the city streets in the summer will get their culture fix in the region’s clubs and concert venues when the weather gets colder. Tampere Film Festival takes place in March, while November will see the Tampere Jazz Happening take over the city. Why not contrast the smooth notes of the saxophone with ice-swimming and a visit to a sauna? Tampere is the world’s sauna capital after all!

From hip-hop to modern art: Tampere is for the culture-lovers

Blockfest has an internationally renowned list of acts every year. Photo: Katja Ritvanen

Hip-hop, Baroque and modern art

One of the biggest festivals organised in Tampere is Blockfest. Taking place in August, it’s the biggest hip-hop festival in the Nordic region. The line-up in previous years has been a mix of the old guard and new talent – from Ice Cube to Jack Harlow.

Tampere Theatre Festival is another event that is setting the example for its Nordic peers; it is the oldest and longest running professional theatre festival in the Nordic Region. In the second week of August, this event will see performers from all around the world take to the stage all over town, at restaurants, theatres and clubs.

Kuusisto points out that many unique experiences can be found in the municipalities and not just the city of Tampere: “For the event Sastamala Gregoriana, which focuses on music from Baroque, the Middle Ages and the renaissance period, the concerts are held in an old church by a lake. It doesn’t get more scenic than that! You can also travel 60 miles northeast of Tampere to discover Mänttä Art Festival, which showcases up-and-coming and established talent in the modern art space.”

From hip-hop to modern art: Tampere is for the culture-lovers

Fuoco E Cenere performed at Sastamala Gregoriana. Photo: Mónica Suárez Galindo

Tampere welcomes visitors with open arms

The people of Tampere are known for their easy-going outlook on life but also for their hospitality. Tampere lived up to this reputation when it hosted the Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships in May 2022, which was a roaring success for Tampere and Finland alike. After a victorious tournament that saw Finland beat Canada in the finals, Tampere will again be hosting the competition this spring.

In July, there will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy a local festival atmosphere when people of all ages flock to Tammerfest: a music festival where everybody who is anybody in the Finnish music scene will perform. If you are in Tampere at the end of July, you won’t be able to miss it – the festival area is in a park in the middle of the city!

Tampere also makes for a perfect city break. The city is nestled between two lakes and is easy to reach from Helsinki with a direct rail connection, and its own airport. The town is walkable and, should you want to rest your legs or go further afield, the newly-built tram allows you to explore with ease. “The Tampere region is great to visit and offers city buzz and picturesque nature alike. I hope more and more people will make our region their culture destination this year,” says Kuusisto.

From hip-hop to modern art: Tampere is for the culture-lovers

Tampere Theatre Festival spectators admiring a performance by Akropatit last summer. Photo: Carolin Büttner

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