Notion Highlight: Flow Festival 2019

In collaboration with

Tens of thousands of revellers descended upon Helsinki for Flow 2019. A festival that champions international stars along with a host of top Finnish artists, food and the environment over one wild weekend.

Held in former power plant Suvilahti, the festival site has an industrial feel with shades of Hackney and Battersea Power Station. Set across 10 indoor and outdoor stages playing all genres of music from acts like Solange, Blood Orange, James Blake, Slowthai and The Black Madonna. 

 

Sustainability is a big part of the festival ethos. Festival partner Reaktor will plant a tree for every bottle, plastic and can recycled at their deposit return tent meaning the more you party the better for the planet.

 

Food is also integral with delicious cuisines from around the globe on offer. There’s even a Michelin starred hotdog with extra toppings of shaved black truffle and caviar. Every vendor has to have a vegetarian or vegan option available on their menu.

Photo: Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
  • Photography by Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
(Kuva: Riikka Vaahtera)
  • Photography by Riikka Vaahtera / Flow Festival

The city of Helsinki is a must-visit in itself. With boat rides to little islands like Lonna, trips to stunning saunas like Loyly and drinks at Tislaamo Distillery bar a must-do for any visitor, however, Flow is the annual cherry on top. Whether it’s international or local acts, food or vibes you’ll find it all here. 

 

Flow 2020 will take place on the 14th-16th August so put it in the diary! Here are our highlights of the weekend below. 

 

Erykah Badu took to the Main Stage on the first night. The neo-soul queen had the crowd captivated with her sumptuous soulful notes. At one point she performed a group yoga session with everyone in the crowd stretching their hands high in the air and breathing in and out deeply.

(Kuva: Riikka Vaahtera)
  • Photography by Riikka Vaahtera / Flow Festival
(Kuva: Riikka Vaahtera)
  • Photography by Riikka Vaahtera / Flow Festival
Photo: Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
  • Photography by Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival

Solange Knowles was next up and she didn’t disappoint. Her staging and choreography at times mesmeric. She controlled the pace of the stage and enthralled the crowds though she was cut off before she could finish as her set overran. That didn’t stop her as the brass section and drummer continued to play whilst she danced away and sang till the completion of her wondrous set. 

 

Wandering around the festival you’ll come across a plethora of different smaller stages that are all equally entertaining. The Nordea globe balloon stage played host too many talented artists including jazz master Pharoh Sanders Quartet and London based saxophonist Nubya Garcia who played to packed stands on the 360-degree stage. Slowthai smashed the Seat Black Tent with his usual high octane performance that saw him strip down to his boxers. 

 

Finnish star Alma drew in a huge crowd with her “Have you seen her?” show at the Main Stage. Her set started off with the cameras looking for her as she wasn’t on stage but in the crowd. She wasn’t hard to spot with her bright luminous neon hair. She was later seen dancing in The Red Garden which was taken over by a host of DJs and promoters all in wondrous drag dancing on stage.

  • Photography by Hayley Le / Flow Festival

Swedish star Tove Lo took to the Lapin Kulta Red Arena oozing swagger and sexuality. At one point she even briefly flashed the crowd freeing both nipples. Alma joined her for a couple songs which sent the crowds crazy.  

 

Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange dazzled as he performed his 90s hip hop and RnB/Prince-esque set. Showcasing his immense talent by playing the piano and electric guitar. At one point he sang with a bunch of flowers in hand which was reminiscent of 80s Morrisey in The Smiths. His backing singers also took the spotlight demonstrating their vocal prowess.  

 

Theo Parrish played the Reaktor Backyard with a  set that was simply incredible which transported the crowd in the illuminated garden back to 1970s disco era. He was followed by Helsinki DJ and promoter Lauri Soini who continued the feel-good atmosphere. The Black Madonna took over the Resident Advisor Front Yard and played a phenomenal set which had every person dancing away under the flashing lights which was only matched by Nina Kraviz the following evening. 

 

James blake delighted on the final night in the Lapin Kulta Red Arena with his melodic and soulful tones which had people swaying teary-eyed whilst singing along to hits like ‘Retrograde’.

Photo: Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
  • Photography by Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
Photo: Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
  • Photography by Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival