The biggest and most interesting music event of the year is coming to Tampere's Nokia Arena, but one big question has a lot to do with how much fun the party night will be.
To Dumbar Contestants at the Yle New Music Competition (UMK) held on February 10 at the Nokia Arena were Sian Giggs, Sexman, Sarah Cipola, Jesse Markin, Windows95man, Vandalism here Mixed Michael Gabriel And Nublu. The artists were announced on Wednesday, and their competing songs will be released one by one until next Friday. Morning paper Press Corps Ilary Lepainiemi (HE) Ja Kaisa Jarwa (KJ) Comment on the settings and significance of the contest, which also serves as Finland's Eurovision qualifier.
I L: After two years in Turku's Lokomo, UMK returns to Tampere, but not to Tohloppi, but to the Nokia Arena. The competition is already at its peak as a televised event – last year's final reached almost two million Finns via Yle – and now it will be even bigger as a live event. The arena is packed in February: when tickets went on sale in October, they sold out within an hour. Kaisa, why is UMK so popular now?
KJ: UMK raised its profile and was able to brand itself as a rival to creating major Finnish music events. In recent years, the competition has received high-quality songs and artists.
Blanket Last year's event and Finland's loss of Eurovision certainly raised the circuit to a new level. This year, the eyes of the Eurovision audience are already focused on Finland, and UMK will keep a wider international audience interested than usual. It was a lottery win that Tampere competed at the Nokia Arena this year.
Now that the UMK songs have been heard for the first time and all the contestants are known, Ilari, what do you think, a superstar like Karija will emerge among the artistes this year, who will it be?
I L: You rarely wake up, you don't need to wake up. The Käärijä event is the tip of the iceberg, under which lies the great upheaval of the entire UMK in the early 2020s. Behind its rise is a competitive concept that has found a form that speaks to people, all through interesting artists and their well-crafted, hit-worthy songs. Better for rappers to work on such a mechanism than apathy.
It is more important to take good care of the whole UMK boom than to wait for a new Käärijä – this is how developments and events follow each other. This year too, the artist coverage is strong at the name level, and hits are sure.
It cannot be assumed with certainty whether the UMK winner will go to Eurovision this year. Jesse Markin Israel, which is at war in Gaza, had already had time to announce that she would not take part in the Eurovision Song Contest. What do you think about this situation involving the European Broadcasting Union and Yle Israel?
KJ: The Israel issue is a huge problem for Eurovision and it will inevitably overshadow this year's Eurovision. In Finland, music professionals have made their position clear with a petition signed by 1,400 people in the music industry. The petition calls for Yleisradio to boycott Eurovision if Israel is allowed to participate in the song contest.
The European Broadcasting Union EBU makes decisions about who will participate in Eurovision, and the EBU's general position until at least December is that Israel will be allowed to participate. Traditionally, politics and Eurovision have been kept strongly separate, for example in 2021 Israel was routinely allowed to participate in the contest, even though the fighting in Gaza was going on at the same time. On the other hand, the EBU has excluded Russia from the tournament after launching a large-scale war of aggression in Ukraine.
The idea that Eurovision is a cultural event that brings together different countries in all circumstances is beautiful, but in some cases idealistic and unrealistic. Let's hope for a solution this year as well, organizing the competition in the most joyful manner possible, promoting the great values of diversity, equality and bringing people together.
But Ilari, if we turn from the world to Tampere and from Eurovision to UMK, do you think Finland's biggest and most interesting song contest will be held in Tampere this year?
I L: It reveals the most heard speeches when the Nokia Arena was built. Those who promise the new arena will bring the best of Finland to Tampere will get a thick tick in their notebooks from UMK. And this is how it had to go. If UMK, which wanted to grow, had moved somewhere other than the Nokia Arena, the state of Helsinki's arena now would have been a disaster according to the people of Tampere.