• Sampo Sirkka

Ilmiö festival 2019

Alternative Music and Art Festival Ilmiö was held on Saturday, 27th July 2019 in Uittamo, Turku. The festival was sold out for the fifth time in a row and attracted 3,500 visitors. This was my first year as part of the organizing group, working in the area decorations team. Decoration to me sounds a bit belittling and gives the feeling that we´re talking about making the Christmas table nice. But in search of a better word, I´m just gonna say that our task was to make the area look comfortable, make it work together with the music and visual art pieces, and also keep the different festival areas, passages and so on together and connected, so the festival experience would be whole.

We had a couple of different ideas to where to take this thing, but the strongest one was to make these kinds of mycelium-like, textile-based organic forms, which would among other things be in opposed to the last year´s strict geometric shapes. By default, there was, due to the nature of the event, not necessarily constraints but some aspects to consider, most of them being basic stuff: weather (rain, wind, etc.), gravity (can´t fall on to somebody), can´t be flammable (fire protection fluid), can´t the be on the way but has to be right there to be seen, needs to be scalable and of course drunk people (fairly self-explanatory).

So with those ideas as a starting point we started making different experiences, and mostly just making these huge mycelium rugs with different color combinations.

At some point, we came up with the idea of making small shelter-like installations, and during the couple final weeks, those evolved into the wooden triangles. And those turned out to be pretty flexible because we made it so that one triangle is a one "wall": you could either make a structure of it by connecting those triangles or just take a one and hang it just by itself, wherever.

Besides the so-called decorations, we also built the Porraslava stage, which original design came from our group member and architect Tomi Laine. All of its walls are also made of triangles, so it has essentially the same basic building concept that in the smaller triangle shelters. The worthwhile light design was done by Lauri Jeffrey.

I might someday do a whole post about making creative work in a group because it´s such an interesting topic and a complex one too. The whole thing can go in a certain direction in many ways and for many reasons. I think one of the main reasons we, in my mind, succeeded was this sort of limitation: limited materials, one or two techniques on how to make these elements, a tight time frame, certain colors and so on. Have too many options and the decision making gets harder.

The craziest thing is that we worked on this for many weeks (and of course most of the lead organizers did much longer) but the actual event, the festival, took only one day. So why do it? There is a couple of answers that come to mind. First, there is this creative task and the completion of it, that gives intellectual satisfaction. Second, there are difficulties in motion that we must overcome together and facing those difficulties gives us group identity and a sense of belonging. Third, you can learn new skills that people bring to the group. Fourth, free liquor. And because it´s fun.

Besides me, the team included Fanny Varjo, Emilia Linnavuori, Tomi Laine, Tuuli Oikkonen, Elisa Sakko, Iiris Tuononen and Tuuli Kristola.

You can find more info about the festival at and Hope to see you there next year, here´s some more pics:

© Sampo Sirkka