Finns Arrive Too Late For Weekend

The organiser of Finland’s new Weekend Festival has hit back at media reports criticising the event, after some fans got stuck in 8-mile traffic jams and arrived after most of the acts had finished their sets.

Hardi Loog of Vantaa-based RL Entertainment says daily tabloid Iltalehti – the country’s third-largest paper – has sensationalised the story, and that things weren’t as bad as the press suggested.

He says he started Weekend as an alternative to the more established Finnish fests such as Ruisrock and Provinssirock, which tend to attract older audiences.

“There were traffic problems on the Vihdintie, the motorway that links Helsinki to the festival site at Espoo, but they were mainly down to a couple of accidents that happened just before the afternoon rush-hour,” he explained.

He also said the traffic was made heavier by the fact the Aug. 17-18 weekend is traditionally the last one when city-dwelling Finns head out for their country cottages.

Although news sites showed traffic bumper-to-bumper for miles, and some fans apparently abandoning their cars and walking to the 20,000-capacity festival, Loog reckons the problem was made worse because the crowd all seemed to try to reach Espoo by the same route.

The event blocked traffic on the main Vihdintie highway for hours, while serious traffic congestion was also reported on the nearby Kehä III ring road.

“We came another way and at 6 p.m. we brought Skrillex from Helsinki airport to Espoo (roughly 20 miles) in about 45 minutes,” Loog told Pollstar. “How can I help it if my festival is so popular?”

He said of the 100 emails he’s received since the festival, only 30 asked for refunds.

However, Loog – short-listed for ILMC’s “Meet The New Boss” award in 2011 – did own up to some of the bad press relating to the lack of toilets in the camping area and the lack of lighting around the site.

“We had exactly the number of toilets that the local authority stipulated but next year we will probably need twice as many,” he said.

He also said that the 2013 edition of the event would need more lighting across the whole site.

Acts playing the fest included David Guetta, Hurts, Carpark North, and local acts such as Haloo Helsinki!, Redrama, and Nimetön.