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Tuska Open Air 2016 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Tuska Open Air 2016

Tuska’s Suvilahti area is in the middle of the city which is convenient, but has on previous years forced the bands to stop playing before 10pm. That's just about the time when it finally starts to get even a little bit darker during the Finnish summer nights filled with midnight sun. This year, however, the city had given some extended time for Tuska and the bands would go on as late as midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Other than that, the biggest change from previous years was the second stage being placed under a large tent. What seemed like a good idea on paper had also its downsides. The acoustics in the tall tent made it tricky for any band to get a reasonable sound under the tent’s hood. During the entire weekend the FOHs struggled to get the best out of the PA and often opted for pushing the volume so low that the gigs would lose some of their edge, and you could hardly hear some of the bands clearly over normal conversation volume in the back of the tent, but really needed to squeeze yourself near the mixer to get the best experience. On Friday the Norwegian powerhouse Kvelertak played with a lot of energy but it was tough to get the crowd fully into it when there was so little volume coming out of the PA.

As typical for Tuska from previous years, some bands on the bill had special theme shows planned for the occasion. Swallow the Sun played their 2015’s triple album Songs from the North I, II & III in its entirety over the 3 day weekend as three separate gigs. Behemoth played a special show going through their latest record The Satanist in its entirety, and wrapped up the package with a few cuts from their other records. Behemoth put together one of the flashiest shows on the second stage with lots of pyro. As Ov Fire And The Void kicked off with, despite the weak sound that plagued the tent stage, you could still appreciate that the band was playing in the gloomy tent rather than in the bright sunlight.

One of the other big productions over the weekend was Lordi's show, as they brought their monster circus to the boiling Tuska area literally with a big bang. Despite the burning sun in the day, the full horror gallery was on display, and one could not wonder how uncomfortable those monster outfits must feel on such a weather. The 2006’s Eurovision winners plowed through their fun set with different props being used in almost each song, anything from bazookas to circular saws and pyros brought much needed extra to the show.

2016 Tuska’s non-musical attractions included Black Dining concept restaurant serving “dark themed dishes”, like black burgers or ribs with licorice. You could also crash into a proper Finnish tent sauna at the Cuba Libre cocktail bar area where people would flock around to rest on a grass field under the trees. A number of interviews and panel discussions were held on the small Solmusali stage, where eg. the festival’s promoter Jouni Markkanen would share a glimpse behind the scenes on how the band’s end up being booked on each year of the festival.

The headliners of each day were indeed picked with care. Friday saw Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia Metal Opera in Finland for the first time, marching a full house of guest vocalists on stage (Atkins, Kiske, Catley, Lande, Martin, Langhans and Somerville) who each sang their own Avantasia tunes, but also joined the stage all together for a singalong encore.

The Swedish Grammy winner Ghost was the crowd magnet of the weekend. The band got their thunderstorm-on-demand just in time for their set as the super humid day eventually turned into pouring rain with dark clouds covering the sky. A mellow end for the day with the ghost-ly tunes of Ghost was undoubtedly called for, as Tuska's Saturday was fully sold out.

On Sunday, hometown heroes Children Of Bodom closed the festival, and lived up to their pre-show promise on making it something a little special. More about COB’s show can be read here in its own piece:

For almost two decades Tuska has cooked up a special festival recipe that just works time and time again- the festival's attendance figures are by no means coming down, and everything is looking stellar for the special 20 year anniversary of Tuska to be held 30.6-2.7.2017.

Writer: Lari
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