Ilosaarirock Reaches New Heights

Ilosaarirock in Finland reached a new height of sorts by staging its own summit, a pocket-sized conference consisting of two two-hour panels on festival topics.

Stuart Worthington from Manchester-based management company Surrounded By The Enemy, which represents Happy Mondays, led discussions on whether money is the main reason for playing festivals, how festivals can build themselves as a brand, and sponsorship, among any other festival-related points raised by delegates at the Joensu University mini-seminar.

Panelists included Andy Farrow from the UK’s Northern Music, which represents Opeth, Paradise Lost, Soilwork and Oceansize; Juha Kyyrö, president of Finland’s Fullsteam Agency (fourth-most important person in the country’s music industry according to a poll in Rumba magazine); Ilosaarirock co-organiser Rysky Riiheläinen; Corrado Gioa, head of Italian promoting company Hard Stuff; Marco Walzel from German agent/promoter Avocado; Michael Monroe from legendary Finnish rock band Hanoi Rocks; Juha Ruusunen from Helsinki-based King Foo Entertainment and Harri Pihlajamaki from Finland’s Provinssirock Festival.

The festival put the event together in cahoots with the local council, the university and Kari Possi of Blue Buddha Management, who also heads the local Music Managers’ Forum.

Markku Pyykkönen, executive director Joensuun Popmuusikot Ry, the local musician’s cooperative that runs the festival and the new conference, believes the first edition built a sufficient platform for the event to continue.

The Summit, as it’s to be called, was staged a day before a festival that demonstrated that the Ilosaarirock team has a pretty good grasp of all the subjects the festival panels discussed.

The 20,000-capacity event at Joensu, where one-third of the 60,000 population are students, regularly sells out in advance.

Demand for this year’s event was so high the festival sent out a special press release explaining that "sold out" really means no tickets are left.

There was a lot of rain on the opening day, leading many to use the see-through ponchos the festival provides. The second day was much better, although the rain on the first day hadn’t really dampened the crowd’s spirits.

The acts supplying the action that followed all the talking July 11-13 included Nightwish, Hanoi Rocks, Oceansize, Mogwai, Ozric Tentacles, Converge and Scandinavian Music Group.