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Oulu August Festivals to produce the culmination of the summer’s end in 2026 – Delta Life spectacle

The Oulu Culture Events Association, coordinating the Oulu August Festivals, has entered into an agreement with the Oulu Culture Foundation for a major event to take place during the European Capital of Culture year. The climax of the Delta Life project will occur at the end of the 2026 Oulu August Festivals on the last weekend of August.

The spectacle, taking place in the birthplace of the city around Pokkisenväylä, will weave together stories and future prospects of the region and European waterways into a multidisciplinary outdoor event. The event is free of charge, and the audience can participate in the amphitheater-like setting around Pokkisenväylä and throughout the city in a festival atmosphere.

Musician, singer-songwriter, author, and video artist Jukka Takalo serves as the scriptwriter and artistic director for the Delta Life project.

“The audience will experience a show happening on water and in the airspace, which can be participated in through multimedia globally. A significant motive for the entire Delta Life project is to make the life of the region visible and acknowledge the significance of our own stories. The style of the event is joy and carnival for world peace. It is better achieved with a smile than with gritted teeth,” says Jukka Takalo about the plans.

The content and meaning of the Delta Life spectacle will be built in the preceding years through events, encounters of artists, scientists, communities, and various audiences. Delta Life events will take place not only in Oulu but also along the waterways of the region inland and across the seas worldwide.

“A significant investment also brings the responsibility for the creator to ensure that the journey and experience are truly meaningful for the soul, the heart, and the region,” Takalo continues.

Oulu August Festivals with its partners produce the extensive Delta Life concept. Anu Lähteenmäki is the project manager responsible for the project at the Oulu Culture Events Association.

For the Oulu Culture Events Association, the Delta Life spectacle represents a significant opportunity for development. Implementing this large project strengthens the skills of the association’s members and other event and cultural operators in the region, and it expands networks to an international level.

“Our goal is that after this project, both Oulu August Festivals and other third sector cultural operators in the region will be more competent and stronger. Our role as an association is to act as a facilitator and supporter, especially for smaller professional or aspiring operators. If successful, cultural activities in the region will be permanently more high-quality, diverse, and international after 2026. To achieve this, we naturally need collaboration at the local, national, and European levels,” describes the association’s executive director, Pia Alatorvinen, about the future.

As a collaborative partner in the project for Oulu August Festivals, the design and production company Sun Effects takes on a role specializing in the planning, production, and spectacular execution of audiovisual content.

“It is an honor to be involved in designing and executing the culmination of the European Capital of Culture year together with Oulu August Festivals and other stakeholders. Jukka Takalo’s event concept is rich and multidimensional, fostering close collaboration around the local actors and region-specific narrative. This enables the realization of a unique, internationally acclaimed event. I believe that through the upcoming collaboration also with the regional creative industry, we will achieve something greater than a spectacle,” says Matti Jykylä, the Artistic Director of Sun Effects.

Oulu was selected as the European Capital of Culture on June 2, 2021, and just the following week, the first Delta Life event took place on the Kiiminkijoki River, the Journey to Magical Martinniemi. Since then, there have been events large and small from the deltas to the sources on the Ii, Kiiminki, and Oulu rivers. Delta Life also visited the European Capital of Culture, Kaunas, in May 2022. In addition to the events of Oulu August Festivals this year, Delta Life is spotlighting young artists and exploring elements of literary arts in the Iijoki River and other areas.

For additional information please contact Pia Alatorvinen, executive director, tel. +358 44 723 2676, pia@oulunjuhlaviikot.fi

Open call for young artists for the Delta Life Project

Oulu August Festivals are looking for promising emerging artists from the Oulu2026 region for the documentary series “Artists Arise in the Delta” for the years 2024–2026. The series follows the artists’ journey towards Oulu 2026 European Capital of Culture year. The open call lasts until the end of February 2024, and the selections will be made during March. Five artists/groups will be chosen based on the applications.

Materials from the project, including footage and interviews, will be used for social media content released throughout the journey. The overall experience will be condensed into a documentary series to be published in 2026. The project will culminate in the artists’ performances or exhibitions during Oulu August Festivals in 2026. In addition to the performance/exhibition spot, selected participants will receive compensation, media training and event guidance provided by Oulu August Festivals.

The application can be submitted through this form. 

Selection Criteria

  • Applicants can be individuals or groups representing any artistic discipline
  • Applicants must be under 30 years old
  • The applicants’ place of residence is within the Oulu2026 area.
  • Aim for professionalism in the field of arts
  • Readiness to commit to the process until 2026
  • Willingness to openly show their development and share thoughts (commitment to 1-2 documentation days per year)

Delta Life

Delta Life is a cultural project that culminates in August of 2026 in the delta of the Oulu River. As part of the Oulu2026 European Capital of Culture program, the Delta Life project explores and highlights the birth of the city and culture along waterways from fells to the sea, utilizing scientific research results. The digital media association: “Pohjoinen Kultuurivirta” is a key figure in documenting the project.

The artistic material accumulated over the years from water routes will finally present itself in August 2026 in the delta of the Oulu River during the month of Oulu August Festivals. It culminates in the Delta Life spectacle, which is the highlight of the late summer of Oulu, the European Capital of Culture of 2026. The artistic director for the project is musician, singer-songwriter, author, and video artist Jukka Takalo. The project is a collaborative effort, involving the festival network of the Oulu August Festivals and a broader group of cultural actors throughout the Oulu2026 region. More information about Delta Life can be found on the Oulu Cultural Events Association’s website.

 

More information: Executive Director Pia Alatorvinen, pia(at)oulunjuhlaviikot.fi, +358 44 723 2676