Here are a list of things that you can do at Flow Festival: eat Michelin Starred hotdogs, watch some of the biggest artists on the planet and then save it as well, all at the same time. How many festivals can you say that about?
Mind you, Helsinki’s Flow Festival isn’t really like other festivals. It was one of the first on the planet to become carbon neutral, it takes place in a power station and is as much about the unusual and niche as it is the mainstream.
This year was no different. Headlined by Solange, Tame Impala and The Cure, they were joined by breaking new artists like Slowthai, Alma and more for Helsinki’s biggest party. Here’s what went down…
The rapper was one of many US acts to appear across the weekend, but the former Odd Future star seemed just as thrilled about his clobber as he did being in Finland. “My name is Earl Sweatshirt and this is my new jacket,” he told a dedicated albeit befuddled crowd, then sampling laid-back cuts from 2018 album ‘Some Rap Songs’.
Northampton’s most chaotic son was on scintillating form once more, inducing mosh-pits and wall-of-deaths at every turn. He nearly had an ‘Alex From Glasto’ moment, too. Halfway through the set he invited a topless fan to take on Skepta’s verse on ‘Inglorious’. When it came down to business he admitted he probably couldn’t do it. The fan’s punishment? Crowdsurf to the back of the tent. Sounds like fun, to be honest.
Replacing Cardi B – who pulled out of the Friday night headline slot – the Texan star put on a meticulously-planned headline show, where every beat and step was choreographed to perfection. Songs from her experimental 2019 album ‘When I Get Home’ struggled with the crowd and a strict midnight curfew meant the show ended with a whimper and not the bang it perhaps deserved.
After a break-out set on Flow’s second stage last year, the hometown hero bagged herself a well-attended return on the mainstage on Saturday afternoon. Racing through ‘Have U Seen Her?’ – her impending debut album – the Finnish popstar is destined for big things, with the set’s punk-driven songs proving to connect with all of her diverse audience.
Saturday night proved alright for lighting, and like, loads of it, during Tame Impala’s headline set. Reaching their fourth-month of touring this year, and with limited new music to perform, Kevin Parker and co. appeared to be going through the motions for this predictable headline set. The dazzling visuals help keep the crowd engaged, but only reaffirms the belief that this summer’s festival run may well have been an opportunity missed. The wait for album four continues…
Revellers were invited to donate their cup deposit to the festival at stations around the site, with each donation equating to one tree planted to offset the carbon-usage of the festival. The initiative was created for fans to understand and tackle the carbon footprint in everyday lives.
The Texas trio say so much with very little. Though most of their tracks are largely instrumental, the funk-laden songs are bolstered out with props like glasses of liquor, empty bottles to gently tinkle and a luminous green-phone to take a fake call on mid-song. Baffling and entrancing stuff from a superb and unmissable live act.
Despite just as many headline slots this summer as Tame Impala, the iconic goths appear to be having more fun with every show. Frontman Robert Smith is in especially playful mood on Sunday night, smiling and joking with the rest of the band and, by the looks of it, still gets a thrill out of their monster encore (‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Friday I’m In Love’, ‘Lullaby’). Magical stuff once more.
8Photo: Konstantin Kondrukhov / Flow Festival
Blake’s fourth and love-fueled album ‘Assume Form’ is a revelation – his songwriting is remarkably frank and his knack for micro-melodies the sharpest they’ve ever been. ‘Where’s The Catch?’ and ‘Mile High’ are hip-hop driven hits, but the thumping live expansion of ‘Voyeur’ into a club-ready beast shows Blake continuing to flex his masterful production skills.