First of all, it was positively shocking to attend a festival where people behaved so well. It’s not that they normally don’t, it’s just that they might go… too heavy on the alcohol and embracing the festival mood. At Flow, people respected your personal space to dance, didn’t skip the line when ordering food or drinks, and kept the premises pretty clean. Never before seen, honestly. But cheers to that.
After over a decade, the festival is saying farewell to Suvilahti, the massive industrial location it’s been taking place since 2007, which has become an iconic landmark and a very recognisable symbol of Flow. For the latest edition there, the organisation dolled the place up with dozens of colourful murals, sculptures and structures made by local and international artists that made the environment more joyful, creative, and inspiring.
On Friday, we kicked things off at the Resident Advisor Front Yard stage with Modem, a Finnish synth-pop duo led by singer Tytti Roto. Dressed in black vinyl and with a contagious rock ’n’ roll attitude, she lit the stage up first thing in the afternoon by singing, dancing, and playing the saxo. Habibi Funk followed in the Backyard stage, where he mixed sounds from around the world and even played a surprising cover of Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever in Arabic. A total banger.
We stayed in the electronic music stages for a longer while. With duo Chaos in the CBD, sounds got darker and more club-oriented – and people were living for it! Security even had to control the access for a bit because it got packed. Kampire brought us back to light with her eclectic mix of sounds, ranging from Brazilian funk to Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl. Meanwhile, at the X Garden stage, Club U-Haul – a club for BIPOC queers and friends – was curating and hosting a wide range of DJs and artists who played everything from Saucy Santana to Rihanna and Beyoncé, and even MCed some songs. Hardcore voguing, twerking and fanning among the dolls, the gays, and girls (and anyone who escapes any kind of categorisation).