During August, Helsinki has been filled with concerts, festival and events, even so many it’s difficult to keep track of them. But besides the more traditional and commercial events, last Saturday it was proved that the streets can come to life also just through contributions of friends and yet unknown neighbours, without money being an issue.
Saturday 21st August, a group of old friends organised a blockparty to celebrate the neighbourhood of Punavuori in downtown Helsinki. The Punajuuri (beetroot) Blockparty started from Viiskulma (the Five Corners) crossing and later moved two blocks southwest. The performers K-X-P, Manna, 22-Pistepirkko, Mama Africa and Uusi Fantasia played beats that made the usually silent streets come alive like never before. Hundreds of people, accompanied by their dogs and children, came to enjoy the bustling event, and even the late evening’s sudden rain showers did not matter too much. People living in the surrounding buildings had an unusual chance to watch a concert from their windows while having dinner with friends.
The event was an initiative by of a group of friends, among which director Jon Sundell and artist Heta Kuchka. Their aim was to promote a collective spirit of doing-together, appreciating the help of friends rather than money. They have been extremely happy with the outcome. “The event has given us faith in doing things together; we feel that everything is possible now. The only obstacles are between people’s ears. You will hear from us again!” declares Jon Sundell.
The Punajuuri organisation has been collecting ‘voluntary entrance fees’ through internet. The twitter feed on their website shows that a lot of people have donated 5 or more euros, with grateful regards – probably still not covering all costs. Let’s hope that people’s good will and the informal budget system will make it possible to have even more of this in the future!
» Visit also punajuuri.org to watch live stream documentations of the party.