Another situation in which the “common” behaviour of Finns vastly differs from other European countries, apart from the classic (weather), is when looking at Finnish concert audiences. To be fair, I should mention that this observation excludes events where the audience age average is somewhat about 13. I believe the noise pollution of teenage girls screams does not really change throughout Europe. Correct me if I’m wrong.
I love attending concerts. Seeing bands and feeling the bass when I stand in front of the stage creates an intensity that is unique to me, and is one of the few moments where I am free of all thoughts and my brain just shuts off for a while and I only listen and soak up the music. Unfortunately there are always a bunch of people in the venue who think it is appropriate to talk or sing along loudly and hence ruin my concert experience. The best was when I attended a concert of my favourite band in the Netherlands where drinks where given out in plastic cups that ended on the ground and people stepping on them was louder than what was going on on stage. Also, people were engaging in to conversations like they were having a cup of tea, completely regardless of the artist performing and leaving me annoyed and grumpy.
That would never happen in Finland.
I still have not quite discovered why, but in comparison to the majority of other concert audiences I have been part of, no one treats the artist quite as respectfully and with such attention like Finnish crowds. Maybe it is part of their nature of being rather quiet and pretty low-key anyway – which certainly is an advantage for this situation. Maybe a certain amount of alcohol is required to bring out basic emotions in your Finn and also in this particular event of a concert, that is one of the most unseizable things to experience of you haven’t seen it yourself. Talking about that all-teared up evil-looking Black metal person sharing his tissues with me at an acoustic show last year – who would’ve thought. As much as newbies to Finnish concerts are alienated by the lack of obvious enthusiasm, the artists are just as confused. The performing band that played a show in Helsinki recently, did express some actual concern as they couldn’t quite tell if people enjoyed the show, up until the last couple of songs when apparently the alcohol kicked in and people went mildly crazy, but dear bands, I can assure you, Finns do have fun and their, admittedly, quiet enjoyment of what you do up there is no indicator of your quality. That sounds a bit off, but trust me. This remarkable characteristic probably takes a bit to get used to by both fellow concert attendees and artists, but I’ve really some to find this atmosphere at concerts much more enjoyable. I’m there for the music, to listen and feel it, sometimes I dance wildly, scream, cry, headbang or just close my eyes and dose off into the tunes. But in any of these cases, the Finns seem to find just the right way to join me in doing so.
A bunch of renowned artists, such as Anathema from the picture above, have recognized this already and schedule purely acoustic show tours only in Finland, or the Nordic countries respectively.
“Something like this is only possible in Finland” – because Finns are the masters of silence.
*This post was originally published on newsWave.