Giacomo Bottà (University of Helsinki), “White nights – bleak future? Helsinki and COVID-19 in the summer of 2020″
In Helsinki Finland, the summer of 2020 offered a space for the proliferation of underground parties, due to an apparent and temporary arrest of the pandemic expansion. This happened in the absence of official festivals and live concerts, mostly cancelled or postponed. With the end of the summer and the feared beginning of a second wave, these parties have been blamed in the Finnish media as vehicles for the spread of the virus or more in general for drug abuse, noise disturbance and loitering. This has of course caught the attention also of the municipality, which on one hand sees the night economy as a means to boost on-going urban developments and their branding, on the other as a very problematic hotbed for the pandemic expansion. Mainly through qualitative interviews with organizers and participants, I articulate these parties as experiments, mediating between a before (where techno in clubs was mostly victim but also participant to the rampant financialised redevelopment of city areas) to a post-COVID era, where the place of music in cities will become more venturing. In this regard, these parties seem to be different than previous waves of raves and illegal parties because of a deeper attention towards socio-cultural, economic and ecological sustainability and a more nuanced attention towards spaces, audiences and sanitary risks.
Cooperation between CISAN-UNAM (México), Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal, McGill (Canada), Institut de Géoarchitecture / IDA-Brest (Francia). Coordination: Edna Hernández González, Alejandro Mercado Celis, Will Straw, Jess Reia, Yolanda Macías and Michaël Spanu.