The Art and Cultural Professionals’ Trade Union (TATU) has awarded the prestigious title The Producer of the Year to Executive Director of Kaustinen Folk Music Festival Sini Keränen. The jury writes “Keränen has developed the festival in harsh economic conditions and tight schedule but has managed to modernise the traditional festival without loosing its 49. year old tradition. The re-rise of Kaustinen Folk Music Festival is a proof of the hard working professionalism of culture producer”.
Sini Keränen is Humak University of Applied Sciences. He graduated on Turku campus in 2010.
Growing with Patience
—We have expanded the production with patiencce. We have abanded too big plans and kept feet on the ground, says Sini Keränen who is currently working with her fifth festival as Executive Director. The first Kaustinen Folk Music Festival was arranged in 1968. The new organisation, Pro Kaustinen, has been responsible for the festival since 2012. Sini Keränen started from the clean table and is the first producer-executive manager of the arranging organisation.
—In the beginning I was the only full time worker in the festival. Now we are two, Sini says and continues that she has been most succesfull with the economy and the finance of the festival: – We have had very tight budget frame and we have kept it. During the first four years I have kept the budget almost the same and we have been able to run the festival. We have added the programme budget by saving from the other expenses, she explains of the success. Revenue has been increasing by better ticket sales, succesful sponsorship deals and grants.
The Traditional Spirit of Community Work
The largest Folk Music Festival in the Nordic Countries is already preparing to its 50 year anniversary which is held in Summer 2017. The year commemorates also 100 year of Finnish independence.
The work done by the voluntary people is essential for the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. The advisory board and different committees have 30-40 active people and during the festival the whole community of the small Finnish municipal is giving their input for the festival. There are 200 persons attending to the construction project and 100 voluntary people doing different tasks in the festival. -“We make the festival for the families, to the fans of the folk music but also for the trendsetters. The biggest challenge for us is the programme for the ordinary people. We want to tempt new audiences to the festival”, Sini Keränen desribes the work done by the community for the festival.
-“The importance of voluntary workers is central for the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. That was the reason I attended to the expansion education in Humak in 2013 on Leading the Voluntary Work”, Keränen says.
Learning by doing
Sini Keränen studied in Humak in 2005-2010. Already from the beginning she decided that the best way to learn was offering her work for the different projects and productions. The good producer needs practice and learns by doing, she states.
-“I did different productions during the whole studying time. At first they were non-paid trainee positions but later they were paid work. I worked four year as executive manager of Turku Book Cafe”, Suvi Keränen tells about her time in Humak.
In photo on the front page Sini Keränen. Photographer: Susanna Koski
Photo (up) in the article: Näppärit in a concert for children. Photographer: Ulla Nikula
Photo (lower): Esko Järvelä Epic Male Band. Photographer: Risto Savolainen