Live Preview: Who To See At Flow Festival 2023

The Finnish festival returns...

It’s that time of the year – Flow Festival is back. Spanning August 11-13th, the stage is set for iconic headliners and rising favourites alike to collide in Helsinki, Finland. 

Over 150 artists will land in Helsinki for the three-day annual event, which still has limited tickets available online. Pop icons, indie cult favourites and dance legends diverge in the carefully curated line-up, with highlights including blur, Lorde, Kaytranda, Caroline Polacheck, Kelela, and Sudan Archives

Always a masterclass in urban events, Flow will return to the former power plant area, Suvilahti. Just around the corner from Flow’s art and food programme in the city centre, the factory area has been decked out with the festival’s distinctive lighting design and decorations ahead of the festival goers’ arrival. 

All roads lead to the Main Stage, but there are nine other venues throughout the space that range from massive outdoor stages to intimate tent spaces. The newest addition is the Heineken Silver Arena, whose 15,000-person capacity comes just in time for performances by Kaytranda, Tove Lo, Pusha T, and Suede.

This year’s line-up is jammed with household names that need no introduction – blur, Wizkid, Lorde, and Christine & the Queens to name a few – but there’s a chance some of Clash’s favourites might have slipped under your radar. To save you from missing out on the weekend’s most exciting performances, here’s a rundown of the artists at the top of our must-see list.

Our Spring cover star, Kelela, is set to perform the Black Tent on Friday. The pan-genre, club-leaning artist is sure to deliver the right rave energy that’ll set the tempo for the weekend. Going back-to-back with London rapper Shygirl and art-pop duo Jockstrap, you’ll find us soaking in the genre-skipping performances in the Black Tent this Friday. 

Fast-rising pop auteur Caroline Polachek will be gracing the Main Stage for an unmissable set on Sunday. It’s truly Polachek’s year, whose anthem-heavy second album received acclaim from critics and listeners alike since its release in Spring. Already hailed as the next big name in alternative pop, the Grammy-nominated artist will fit right in with pop legends Blur on the Main Stage.

Head straight from Polachek’s performance to the Black Tent to see Sudan Archives, the LA-based R&B artist that’s lauded as a true visionary. With a discography that smoothly marries hip-hop, experimental electronic music and traditional Sudanese sounds, her avant-garde instrumentals and masterful lyricism are unmissable.

If your trip wouldn’t feel complete without catching Finland’s finest electronic music, stop by Flow’s collaborative venues with Resident Advisor and Helsinki-born collectives. Resident Advisor is hosting the official afterparty on Friday and giving non-stop legends at the Resident Advisor Front Yard, including Eris Drew and Octo Octa on Sunday. The new X-Garden space will host a diverse line up of collectives from Helsinki’s club scene. From Club U-Haul, a collective that celebrates the brown and black queer community, to rave-trance-techno phenomenon Korgy, each X Garden takeover will offer a different taste of Finland’s nightlife.

Flow Festival runs between August 11-13th.

Words: Mimi Francis

Follow Clash

Buy Clash Magazine