HELSINKI—A man falls on the hot asphalt. His hat drops with him.
People around the man skip and hop in a frenzy, bouncing into each other to a heavy groove by Wheel, a Finnish metal band that describes their music as progressive.
As if from a call from above, people wake up with a jolt and give the fallen soldier a hand. Someone picks up his straw hat.
He’s good to go forth. The moshpit madness continues.
It’s been two years of the pandemic vortex; two years since the gates of Tuska Open Air Metal Festival have welcomed guests. Despite all the waiting, on Friday afternoon in the sunny concrete jungle of Suvilahti district, just before the gates are about to open, people talk calmly, hands hanging by the side, their body posture relaxed. Then someone starts blasting Korn from the boombox. Heads nod. Korn, the American nu-metal band—the teenage heroes of those now in their 40s—is the headliner of Friday.
The dominant color of the clothes of the hundreds of men and women of all ages above 18 is black. Still at this hour, many look like any attendees to any festival with their stetsons, bandanas, caps, or fedoras made of banana peels and imported from Panama.
These calm people are ready to listen to some of the loudest contemporary music available: metal; heavy metal; nu-metal; black metal; progressive metal; pretty much all different genres under the umbrella, bands from Finland to Ukraine.
For Katja Korhonen and Irina Houg from the southwestern city of Turku, the past two years have been uncomfortable in the wait for the Tuska festival.
“We bought the tickets two years ago. The summer vacation starts here!” Korhonen said.
“I left work early. I thought I am getting out of here. I canceled all the meetings,” said her friend Houg, laughing.
It’s been 30 minutes since the gates opened, and Numento is ready to play in the main tent. Numento is a progressive death metal band from Helsinki.
People get into the zone in seconds. A man with short hair but a long braided beer starts moshing.
As Friday processed, we caught amazing moments available in our gallery with over 90 photographs.
We also attended the festival throughout the weekend.
Tuska festival gathered 49, 000 metal enthusiasts together on all three days. This, according to the organizers, is the biggest number of visitors in the festival’s history. Saturday hit the peak of 17,500 metalheads with Friday and Sunday trailing with 16,500 and 15, 000—respectively!
“Tuska is about the experience. Here, one can relax; one can be him or herself. It’s like coming to a family gathering,” said Katja Korhonen, one of the first attendees we caught at the gates on Friday.
“Every time you leave the festival. You feel empty. You wait for the next Tuska festival.”