Espoo residents get the chance to join in a much-loved annual event for free at the beginning of December.
The city’s Independence Day celebratory concert is held on 6th December and this year the event is being staged for the 20th time.
“It’s a concert to celebrate Finnish Independence Day, and it’s free for everyone in Espoo” explains Elina Harlas the event coordinator at Espoo Cultural Services.
“Tickets are given out from the local libraries and this year we have the lippu.fi online service” she adds.
The event takes place in Metro Areena, which has a capacity of almost 7000 spectators, so as many Espoo residents as possible will be able to see and hear the spectacular show.
“This year we have the Tapiola Nuoret Symphony orchestra, and they have the singer Krista Siegfrids. They are performing with the orchestra and also a choir consisting of kids and young people” says Elina Harlas.
Krista Siegfrids is one of Finland’s most popular entertainers, and represented the country at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Other performers include violinist Tami Pohjola, soprano Aurora Marthens and the whole concert will be hosted by Keijo Leppänen.
One of the highlights of Independence Day in Espoo is when Mayor Jukka Mäkelä will award Espoo Medals shortly before the concert begins.
This is a tradition that dates back to 1972 when the first medals were given out to worthy people who had made eminent efforts for the city.
In the history of the award there have been more than 500 of the silver medals given out, with the recipients decided each year by a small committee of local council leaders and the mayor.
Something for everyone at the concert
The Independence Day concert has changed over the last two decades, from something formal in the early year to a more inclusive and varied event nowadays.
“I’ve done this concert since 2003. Before, the emphasis was on big choirs and classical music. Nowadays there is also light music and current artists” says Lea Rintala, Event and Cultural Services Manager at the City of Espoo.
“The popularity of the concert has grown and nowadays tickets are being quickly distributed” she adds.
The event works both as a celebration of Finland’s independence and to bring Espoo residents together.
“It’s definitely for everyone, it definitely has this festive-like celebration, people are dressing up and coming in to celebrate Finnish independence” says Elina Harlas.
“I think it would be an interesting event for new arrivals, because it’s an Independence Day celebration the way we do it uniquely here in Espoo – and it’s also all the musicians and really professional people playing” she explains.
This year again the Independence Day concert is being streamed online to homes, senior centres and other communities and last year 6000 people watched the celebration online.
As many people who came to Metro Arena were also able to enjoy the festivities, no matter where in Espoo they live.
You can catch the concert online at espoo.fi/liveevents until 5th January.