Summer events of Kotka and Hamina offer things to experience for the whole family


The Maritime Festival is a key element in the summer of Kotka, and Hamina Tattoo is the event for the world’s best military bands, arranged every second year. If you cannot decide which one to visit, why not attend both!

At the turn of July and August, there are ten consecutive days of fun in Kotka and Hamina. Kotka will celebrate the songwriter Junnu Vainio (1938 – 1990), and Hamina is the host of a music event that this year honours the centennial of the Finnish Defence Forces.

A moving experience every time

Program Manager Tiina Salonen admits that she always gets emotional when she is watching the starting parade of the Kotka Maritime Festival.

“When there are about 60 groups in the Keskuskatu street ready to leave for the parade and 35,000 people have gathered beside the street. It is a truly stopping moment.”

The first Kotka Maritime festival was organised in 1962.

Tiina Salonen is delighted at the fact that the biggest cultural event in Finland arranged in her home town has continued to hold its ground among the ever-expanding range of summer events.

Homely carnival

According to Tiina Salonen, the four-day urban festival enjoys an average attendance of 200,000 people.

“Our guests come especially from all parts of Kymenlaakso and from the Helsinki region. For many of those who have moved away from this region, the Maritime Festival offers an opportunity to see old friends, and after the shared carnival it is time to gradually shift back to regular everyday life at workplaces and schools.”

The slogan of the 2018 Maritime Festival “Aina hauskaa olla pittää!” (You should also have fun!) has been borrowed from a song by Junnu Vainio. The singer-songwriter born and bred in Kotka was selected as the theme of the event, because this year 80 years have elapsed from his birth. The legacy of Junnu Vainio can be seen and heard in the programme of the Maritime Festival. Tiina Salonen mentions a Junnu karaoke as one example of this.

Mostly free of charge

“Finnish pop, blues and rock provide the rhythm for the party on the V2 Arena, and the artists on the ‘Yleinen Sauna’ arena are Juha Tapio, Katri Helena and Paula Koivuniemi,” Tiina Salonen says.

For children, there are performances as well as workshops at Toivo Pekkanen School and on board the galleass Vivan at Kantasatama every day. The Children’s Maritime Song Contest will be arranged on the Kotka stage on Saturday.

According to Tiina Salonen, you do not need to worry about having money with you for the festival, because most of the events are free of charge.

You can come to the Maritime Festival on your own or with your friends or family. You can enjoy the festival for a couple of hours or all day.

“There are also those who pick the events that they find most interesting and spend here four days from Thursday’s opening parade to Sunday’s final concert at Restaurant Vaakku.”

In the spirit of Hamina

“We always raise a certain topical theme in Hamina Tattoo. This time it is naturally the centennial of the Finnish Defence Forces,” says Hannu Kaukiainen, Executive Director of Hamina Tattoo.

The six-day event commencing on 30 July will feature military bands from countries such as South Korea, Great Britain, the United States and Russia. Hannu Kaukiainen says that music lovers are delighted with a variety of music genres from jazz to entertainment music and from chanson to pop.

There is also a serious objective beneath the entertaining surface of Hamina Tattoo; Hannu Kaukiainen believes that the only international military music event in Finland enhances understanding between people and builds bridges between peoples.

One example of this is the Spirit of Hamina concert.

“In the concert arranged at the Manege Hall of the Reserve Officer School on the opening day of the festival, the Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation meets the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines CTCRM from Great Britain. Both bands also play each other’s repertoire.”

Something for everyone

Maria Ylipää, Iiro Rantala, Aili Ikonen and M.A. Numminen are the stars of this year’s Jazz Palace.

The Tattoo Club, which has established its position as the meeting place of the night owls, takes off with Suvi Teräsniska, the Lapland Military Band and the Big Band of His Majesty The King’s Guard from Norway.

Hannu Kaukiainen points out that most of the some 80 events in Hamina Tattoo are free of charge, and there are things to do from morning till night.

“Everyone is sure to find something suitable in the comprehensive ancillary programmes. You can explore the old gardens within the fortress, visit an art exhibition, enjoy refreshments in the pop up cafeterias and learn about the unique circular town plan of Hamina,” Hannu Kaukiainen says.


The Port of HaminaKotka is one of the contributors of these events:

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