Helsinki’s Flow Festival 2009

We couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed as we witnessed Lily Allen’s breakdown on stage in Helsinki at new festival, Flow. Playing to a 100,000 strong crowd- she broke down in tears mid-set complaining about a ‘bad back’ (FYI she’d just got back off holiday with Kate Moss so bad back is code for bad comedown) and although we felt a little sorry for her, compared to the good behaviour of the other bands and the inspiring composure of Helsinki’s cool kids, all she did was fly the flag for boozy Britain which isn’t always an appropriate look.

Lil-er’s aside- we caught some amazing sets from the likes of Vampire Weekend, White Lies, Fever Ray, Grace Jones, Kraftwerk and Ladyhawke. We also checked out some good Scandinavian acts that should all be on your musical radar. Jenny Wilson (who has previously laid down vocals for The Knife) is a 30-something singer-song writer with a quirky, soulful sound and Les Corps De Mince Francoise are an all girl trio with a feisty, electro sound that’s headed straight for the UK gig circuit.

So if you’ve already done Sonar and Bennicassim and are in need of a new European festival to check out then consider Flow. It’s clean, cool, and friendly and if you behave as well as the Finn’s you might come back feeling like you’ve actually had a holiday!

BY AL MULHALL