“Finland Impressions” – Tampere Beatles Happening 2015

Shot from backstage showing MonaLisa Twins performing at Tampere Hall in Finland during the "Beatles Happening"

Aerial view of MonaLisa Twins and band, on the frozen lake in Tampere city park, shot with a drone.Having to get up at 4 am in our usual sleeping pattern actually means hardly going to bed at all. And that’s how our Finland adventure started, continued and ended: with tiny bits of sleep – on the plane, on the bus and between aftershow parties and breakfast.

But hey, that’s the reason why adrenaline and make-up got invented. Who needs to sleep when you can have a weekend full of Beatles music, meeting fans and bands from all over the world, working with caring, professional on- and off-stage staff, when you can play two huge stages for all the fans who went out of their way to get you for their festival? And when there is, available around the clock, plenty of delicious foooood! 

So here we are, goofing around on the frozen-up lake near Tampere Hall, for our parents to do their in-front and behind-the-scenes video-filming ritual that naturally involves our drone whenever possible. We might not know birds that well, but sometimes we do cheat a little bit and pretend, just to get that uplifting feeling.

Aerial view of Tampere Hall and neighbourhood, Finland, shot with a drone.

Entrance to Tampere Hall, Finland, decorated with Beatles Happening banner.Having landed again, we took a little stroll through Tampere, Finlands second-largest urban area, also being nicknamed “Manse” or “Manchester of the North” because of the various industries they once had. And indeed, some red brick factory buildings reminded us a lot of England.

Not very English though was the weather. What have been Spring temperatures for the Finnish was still quite freezing for us. The feeling and sounds of walking on all that grit on the streets reminded us of the Austrian Winters. And while we don’t miss the cold and dirt at all we would have loved to put on our skates to go for a spin on the icy lake.

But we had better things to do, and it’s time to tell you about the actual “Tampere Beatles Happening” now!

MonaLisa Twins soundchecking for their live show at Tampere Hall, FinlandIn the afternoon, right before our first sound-check, we were to get a little tour through what is the largest concert and congress centre in the Nordic countries: Tampere Hall. Walking through an endless labyrinth of corridors and some hundred doors we got a good impression of the size of the venue, its auditoriums, stages and backstage areas, but see for yourself!

To the left in blue you can see the smaller concert hall, shot from the light engineer’s desk on the top floor. This was the stage for our Friday night show and also for the Saturday midnight jam with the Italian “Brothel Creepers” and all the other great bands who joined in for the Grande Finale.

Down below, in bright yellow, you can see us having sound-check for the Saturday night show in the main auditorium. See that great stage, the 1800 seats’ auditorium and that wonderful acoustic roof of the hall? We needed binoculars to see the sound engineer up there. Thankfully we had microphones, and we had to make full use of the camera zooms to get close-ups from the stage.

MonaLisa Twins soundchecking for their live show at Tampere Hall, Finland

MonaLisa Twins playing live at Tampere Hall, Finland

For us and our boys (James Rookyard on bass and Jake Brown on drums) it was an absolute pleasure to sing and play for all the friends we had made the previous year at Beatle Week in Liverpool and for so many new fans who have come to see us. The atmosphere was cheerful and everyone was in high spirits, people singing, clapping and dancing along in front of the stage and in their seats. 
MonaLisa Twins on stage, taking part in a jam session with other artists at Tampere Beatles Happening 2015 at Tampere Hall.Thanks to everyone who came to chat and take photos with us after the shows, and also for taking our CDs and shirts home as souvenirs.

Those four days have been so full of action and great experiences. It feels like we’ve been away for two weeks.

We want to thank all the organisers, the artistic director of the festival, their staff and helpers for their perfect preparations and on-site help. This couldn’t have been more enjoyable for us. 

It was a delight to work with all the bands there, too. Apart from them being great musicians themselves, everyone was kind, helpful and funny. No airs and graces, just one big family indulging in peace and love. Sounds very corny but felt like a soul spa.

Through this festival we made lots of new friends and fans. We consider ourselves very lucky to have been a part of the whole event. We feel very honored as well, considering how the thing came about for us. Last summer a big group of Finnish people (81) visited International Beatle Week in Liverpool where they happened to see us play many times. Apparently they enjoyed our shows so much that, once they went back home, they asked the Tampere Beatles Happening organisers to book us. Rest assured, the love is mutual!

You could do the same! If you have contacts to any festivals, venues or happenings you think we would fit in, let them know about us! It’s easier than one might think, and we love that our band is so fan-driven rather than label/management-run. This weekend has proven just that!

There’s nothing more to say other than thanks again, “kiitos paljon”, and that we’re so much looking forward to our next Finnish adventure at the “Hard Day’s Night Festival” on the 18th July in Parikkala. See you all there again and have a good time!

Mona & Lisa 

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