Oulu is on the cusp. We could settle for being a tame municipal city on the fringe. Or we could go Wild. We choose Wild.
With Wild City we bring wildness into the city by celebrating the wilderness around it. Creating a new cultural approach with our unique northern vibe. Oulu as a cultural laboratory, going wild for Europe.
What exactly is a creative city in the middle of the wild nature? What is a lively, creative village? How do art, subcultures and creative spaces fill emptiness, silence and darkness?
BidBook (pages 22-35)
Opera Goes Wild – The Rise of the Tar Kingdom
Oulu2026 wants to shake up opera. We want to reach non-opera audiences and show the unfettered wild side of this unique art form.
Oulu2026 will commission a new opera under the artistic direction of Phelim McDermott (UK) – one of the world’s top opera directors. Since the founding of his London-based theatre company, Improbable, he has proved his ability to think ‘outside the box’. Improbable has a rich history of reinventing theatre forms and synthesising diverse practices to create unforgettable shows.
For Oulu2026, McDermott brings Oulu’s Screaming Men´s Choir (Mieskuoro Huutajat) into the performance space with world-renowned counter
tenor, Antony Roth Costanzo (US).
”I want to take audiences on a dream-like journey. My non-linear approach will resonate with younger people used to gaming and intense short visual experiences. At the end, the public will emerge wondering how they went on this operatic journey. Transformed in how they see their city, as well as how they see the art form itself.”
The Rise of the Tar Kingdom will be a ritual opera telling a mythical new story about the city of Oulu through large scale puppetry (Scott Wright, AU), choreography (Rose-mary Lee, UK), orchestra (the Oulu Symphony Orchestra)- and shouting! The set will be designed by Kati Lukka (FI)
with the libretto written by author Riikka Pulkkinen (FI) in a departure from the traditional librettist.
The fairy tale wall is a large interactive touch screen that creates a magical immersive space for children. In addition to watching and getting involved with a fairy tale, the screen has an option to create a snowstorm, make waves in a river, build a pile of colourful autumn leaves and even chase northern lights – all that simply by drawing with fingers. There’s also a panel where users can play musical instruments. What makes the screen even more unique is that you don’t even have to touch it: the surface is so sensitive that it reacts to hand waves.
Oulu2026 lounge offers free multicultural performances and live music during Qstock festival weekend
The traditional Qstock Festival takes place in late July, but this year the festival features also free-entry Oulu2026 park in Linnansaari from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th July. The park is located near the Qstock festival area offering visitors a relaxing place to enjoy festival and culture atmosphere free of charge.
Oulu2026 Producer Heikki Myllylahti tells us that the Oulu2026 programme for the park is now ready for publication!
The travel and event management specialist Go Arctic is the latest business to join the Arctic Food Lab network. Established in 2008, the enterprise is owned by Sipe Åqvist together with Kirsi Eskola. Åqvist says that sourcing locally has always been at the heart of...
The eighth ART Ii Biennial that took place this June featured ecologically sustainable environmental and sculpture art for the northern environment within the areas of significant cultural heritage in Ii and the Ii Environmental Art Park. Involved in the ART Ii Biennial organisation since 2018, Jetta hails from Oulu but has also lived in Lapland for long periods of time.
The first ever whole-weekend Maakinen Martinniemi (the Magical Martinniemi) festival took place this June. The event’s host, Jukka Takalo, says that a multi-artistic community event is extremely important for the entire region. The event was first launched in 2009 when Takalo and J.A. Mäki came up with the idea of staging a cultural event in the controversial Kurtinhauta seaside area.
Music, participatory art and delicious food – Oulu2026 park opens in Linnansaari during Qstock weekend
Oulu was recently elected the European Capital of Culture, which will give us the opportunity to enjoy its growing and enhanced cultural offerings. The European Capital of Culture programme can also be seen in the production of the largest music festival in Northern...
In the Air – Felt by a number of people to be happening, or about to happen. In co-operation with the Oulu2026 –organisation the Art Ii Biennial will present an afternoon of art and art/science discussions in Ii, Thursday 16th June. The event will highlight the art...
Oulu is covered with snow for an average of five months a year. Organising outdoor events is a challenge in this climate: freezing temperatures and limited daylight make most people think twice before they venture outside to see a concert or a play. Oulu2026 will...
The Finnish city of Oulu, European Capital of Culture 2026, announces an Open Call for cultural programme partners
Finland will take the cultural centre stage in Europe in 2026 as the City of Oulu, together with 32 municipalities in Northern Finland, holds the title of the European Capital of Culture 2026. The year will be full of inspiring, diverse and unique cultural offerings...
Folk music and folkdance day is celebrated again on May 14th in Finland. Are you interested in Finnish folk music and folk dance, curious to find out more about the "kantele", the "jouhikko" or national costumes in Finland? What on earth is a "mänkeri" and how many...