Kokkola’s Venetian Night Festival
A celebration of water, fire and light
According to a century-old tradition, the summer cottage communities and coastal residents of the Kokkola area conclude the summer season with the Venetian Night Festival. This tradition was born towards the end of the 19th century among the wealthy villa communities of the Gulf of Bothnia, and particularly in the Kokkola area.
Venetian Night Festival 26.8.2023 at the market square from 10 am to 3 pm
The Venetian night is also celebrated with events on Saturday at the market square. There will be performances and activities for all ages.
Naattiorkesteri at 10 am
Music performance by the children’s orchestra Naattiorkesteri. Their lyrics (in Finnish) are inspired by the world seen by children, where everything and anything is possible. The Naattiorkesteri consists of eight musicians and music instructors, and their music is packed with beautiful vocal harmonies, different instruments and skillful arrangements that will entertain the whole family. The Naattiorkersteri has delighted its audience with its energetic and participatory performances throughout Finland. The groups first album Voihan Naatti! was an Emma Gaala nominee for the best children’s music album in 2022.
Singalong at 11 am
Singalong with Isa Lindgren-Backman at the market square.
Suntin Soutu rowing at 12 am
The traditional Suntin Soutu rowing competition is held during the Venetian night at the market square.
Villoveega at 12.30 pm
Jazz in Kokkola’s Swedish dialect!
Kokkolan Kaupunginteatteri at 13.30 pm
Jookon & Sere from TikTok at 14.15 pm
Sävelsaari from 2.30 pm to 3 pm
Evening celebration at the event park
This year the city of Kokkola has handed over the arrangements of the evening celebration to Original Sokos Hotel Kaarle through an arrangement. The evening celebration takes place on the 25-26 August 2023 in the new Kokkola event park.
To begin with, it was fine to mark the festival on any day in August. The most important thing was that it took place during the darkening summer evenings. In this way, the special feature of the celebrations – the play of light and fire on the surface of water – was best on display.
The Venetian Night Festival featured extensive and varied lighting effects in the different villas. Bonfires, lanterns, tar pots and even fireworks were used to light up the darkening summer evenings. Indeed, the name itself refers to fireworks. In the 1500s and 1600s, the art and technology of fireworks was brought to Europe via Italy, and the new phenomenon was named ‘Venetian fire’ after the Italian city of Venice, which was a centre of trade at the time.
A standard form for the Venetian Night Festivals gradually took shape, and the celebration began to be always held on the last Saturday of August. As the villa residents moved to their urban apartments in late August or early September, the Venetian Night Festival became established as the closing celebration for the villa season.
The last Saturday of August is the moment for the magnificent culmination of the holiday season on the west coast. The darkening evening, the water and fire are the elements that conjure up an unparalleled, rich atmosphere at the closing celebrations of the summer season for the thousands of villas and summer cottages.
As summer cottages become more widespread, the Venetian Night Festival has come to be enjoyed by an ever broader range of people. These days, the fires of the Venetian Night Festival form a ribbon stretching several kilometres along the coast through the Kokkola summer cottage areas.
In recent years, the celebration of the Venetian Night Festival has expanded to cover the whole weekend. This event, held always on the last Saturday of August, has over the years become the largest public summer event in Kokkola – one which brings together thousands of people.