LN Harbours Big Plans

Live Nation Finland chief Risto Juvonen has already announced Green Day will headline a 50,000-capacity show on an old parking lot near Helsinki harbour, but said that’s just the start of the impressive list of international acts to play there this summer.

It will be the first time Green Day has played Finland since doing the 7,500-capacity Helsinki Ice Hall in 1995.

Juvonen’s company has rented the nine-hectare site at Kyläsaari, formerly used for storing imported cars brought into the nearby Sompasaari harbour. The site is only temporarily available because the land has been set aside for housing.

The surrounding area is earmarked for industrial and commercial development, which means there’s little chance of the concerts disturbing the neighbourhood.

The entire site including the neighbouring land is large enough to hold a festival, the subject of some speculation in the Finnish press.

The local council is to keen to develop the area quickly, as last year Finnish television reported the demolition of camps where people of Romanian and Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity have been creating shanty towns.

Over the past few years, Finland has seen an increasing number of Romanians and Roma begging on its city streets. The local social services have tried to monitor the camp occupants’ state of health and offer them assistance.

The authorities are wary of organised criminal groups moving in and have since broken up these squatter settlements and are taking down the down tents and improvised shelters.

“We’ve rented it for a time because we think we can bring other acts in,” Juvonen explained, adding that the Helsinki authority will also be pleased to see the land occupied.

Last year Live Nation Finland smashed Finnish box office records by selling 80,000 tickets for a Madonna show on reclaimed land at Länsisatama (or West Harbour).

Länsisatama is till the main passenger terminal between Helsinki and Estonia’s capital of Tallinn, but part of it was drained and the land reclaimed when the main freight terminal was moved to Vuosaari (part of East Harbour) in 2008.

Other confirmed Green Day outdoor shows in Europe include Austria’s Novarock Festival June 12.