(as experienced by Heikki and Linda Penttila)
by Sharon Mackey
About 50 people attended the July 13, 2015, meeting of the Finnish Heritage Museum in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Heikki and Linda Penttila presented the program, “The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival.” Their presentation included the origins and history of the festival in that community of musicians. The picture at left adequately shows the magnitude of the event. (photo from Kaustinen book by Terttu Hanhiskoski.)
Since 1968, the small, beautiful, community of Kaustinen (three hours north of Helsinki by train) has hosted a festival of traditional Finnish music. The international community is also invited to come and celebrate their folk music. The thousands of musicians who come to play at the festival have a variety of venues which they can utilize. In addition to the many stages set up throughout the grounds, music makers often play
anywhere they can find space, including right outside the van that brought them to the festival.Music and dancing continue into the wee hours, as does the midnight sun. Picture to the right illustrates the hundreds of young students who participate.
The weeklong festival, in July of each year, is well attended, attracting crowds in the tens of thousands.
The President of Finland appeared at the 2014 opening ceremonies, acknowledging people in the crowd. Heikki Penttila was one of many who were able to greet the President with a handshake.
The festival is the result of the people’s love for the indigenous music of that region of Finland, and allows them to share this love of music and to pass on the tradition to others. Plan to attend on your next visit to Finland; if you love music, you will not be disappointed. Visit “Kaustinen Folk Music Festival” on the internet to learn more.
Heikki (left with microphone) explains the significance of the festival.
After the Penttila’s talk and video about the music fest, Heikki showed the museum group pictures of a Finnish Church which was being rerconditioned. Both he and Linda were able to climb the scaffolding to see the countryside from a completely new perspective. Heikki brought some old and new wooden shingles from that church. The old shingles had been part of that roof for more than 230 years, and finally, the roof was now in need of repair. The shingles that were used to replace the old ones are made exactly like the originals, out of pine and hand shaped. The original roof used pieces of birch bark serving in place of roofing felt, or tar paper. Each of the pine shingles was coated with a very sticky tar, making it seemingly impervious to water.
As customary, refreshments provided by Eric Jylanki and FHM were served after the presentation.
© Finnish Heritage Museum 2015 Photos by Linda Penttila, Lasse Hiltunen, and from the book: Kaustinen, by Terttu Hanhiskoski.