Six young artists have been selected for the documentary series "Artists Arise in the Delta" for the years 2024-2026. As part of Oulu August Festivals’ Delta Life project, the series follows the artists' journey towards Oulu 2026 European Capital of Culture year. The documentary series features Ida Remsu, Marianne Kauppila, and Duo Emilia and Joonatan from Oulu, Niilo Korsulainen, originally from Oulu but studying in Helsinki, and Mandi Koskela from Ranua. The age range of the artists is 14–28 years.

Ida Remsu, a dancer and dance teacher student studying at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, describes her participation in the series as follows: "It's interesting to see what kind of traces I, as an artist, will leave during this project, and which ones will be washed away with the waves. However, on this shoreline, I intend to dance and, like the waves, create a momentary joy for those watching."

Representing dance art is also Mandi Koskela, a pole dancer from Ranua, who is a two-time world champion in the Pole Sport junior A category. "It's so great to be involved in such a project! I'm looking forward to all the new and wonderful things!"

Musical siblings Joonatan and Emilia Lappalainen are featured in the documentary series as a duo. Joonatan studies classical percussions and drum set at the Oulu Conservatory, while Emilia studies violin and singing at the Oulu Conservatory and in the youth education program at the Sibelius Academy. "It will be interesting to look back and see what has been done, and also to give other people the opportunity to see what the life of a young aspiring artist is like," says Emilia Lappalainen.

Niilo Korsulainen, a composer of art music, is currently studying music theory at the Sibelius Academy. "At best, melodies are like a gateway to another world for me, somewhere I usually only reach in dreams, or to those magical, somehow unreal moments that can be experienced, for example, on a summer night in the midst of nature," Korsulainen describes his relationship with art music.

According to visual artist Marianne Kauppila, who specializes in mural art, murals have the power to unite communities and visually enhance urban spaces. "I am fascinated by the idea of how huge works of art transform spaces, tell stories, and reflect the spirit of the times, and at best, depict the values and life of their location, whether it's a public urban space, office space, or private hangout."

The artists' journey is followed on the social media channels and the website of the Northern Cultural Stream. The entire project will be condensed into a series of short documentaries, which will be released in the summer of 2026.  The project will culminate in the artists’ performances or exhibitions in the Oulujoki River Delta area during Oulu August Festivals in 2026.

The Oulu Culture Events Association, coordinating the Oulu August Festivals, has entered into an agreement with the Oulu Culture Foundation for a major event to take place during the European Capital of Culture year. The climax of the Delta Life project will occur at the end of the 2026 Oulu August Festivals on the last weekend of August.

The spectacle, taking place in the birthplace of the city around Pokkisenväylä, will weave together stories and future prospects of the region and European waterways into a multidisciplinary outdoor event. The event is free of charge, and the audience can participate in the amphitheater-like setting around Pokkisenväylä and throughout the city in a festival atmosphere.

Musician, singer-songwriter, author, and video artist Jukka Takalo serves as the scriptwriter and artistic director for the Delta Life project.

"The audience will experience a show happening on water and in the airspace, which can be participated in through multimedia globally. A significant motive for the entire Delta Life project is to make the life of the region visible and acknowledge the significance of our own stories. The style of the event is joy and carnival for world peace. It is better achieved with a smile than with gritted teeth," says Jukka Takalo about the plans.

The content and meaning of the Delta Life spectacle will be built in the preceding years through events, encounters of artists, scientists, communities, and various audiences. Delta Life events will take place not only in Oulu but also along the waterways of the region inland and across the seas worldwide.

"A significant investment also brings the responsibility for the creator to ensure that the journey and experience are truly meaningful for the soul, the heart, and the region," Takalo continues.

Oulu August Festivals with its partners produce the extensive Delta Life concept. Anu Lähteenmäki is the project manager responsible for the project at the Oulu Culture Events Association.

For the Oulu Culture Events Association, the Delta Life spectacle represents a significant opportunity for development. Implementing this large project strengthens the skills of the association's members and other event and cultural operators in the region, and it expands networks to an international level.

"Our goal is that after this project, both Oulu August Festivals and other third sector cultural operators in the region will be more competent and stronger. Our role as an association is to act as a facilitator and supporter, especially for smaller professional or aspiring operators. If successful, cultural activities in the region will be permanently more high-quality, diverse, and international after 2026. To achieve this, we naturally need collaboration at the local, national, and European levels," describes the association's executive director, Pia Alatorvinen, about the future.

As a collaborative partner in the project for Oulu August Festivals, the design and production company Sun Effects takes on a role specializing in the planning, production, and spectacular execution of audiovisual content.

"It is an honor to be involved in designing and executing the culmination of the European Capital of Culture year together with Oulu August Festivals and other stakeholders. Jukka Takalo's event concept is rich and multidimensional, fostering close collaboration around the local actors and region-specific narrative. This enables the realization of a unique, internationally acclaimed event. I believe that through the upcoming collaboration also with the regional creative industry, we will achieve something greater than a spectacle," says Matti Jykylä, the Artistic Director of Sun Effects.

Oulu was selected as the European Capital of Culture on June 2, 2021, and just the following week, the first Delta Life event took place on the Kiiminkijoki River, the Journey to Magical Martinniemi. Since then, there have been events large and small from the deltas to the sources on the Ii, Kiiminki, and Oulu rivers. Delta Life also visited the European Capital of Culture, Kaunas, in May 2022. In addition to the events of Oulu August Festivals this year, Delta Life is spotlighting young artists and exploring elements of literary arts in the Iijoki River and other areas.

Information about upcoming events can be found in English on the Oulu August Festivals website and social media. Information about the Delta Life project is also available at www.deltalife.fi. Background and atmosphere of the events is provided by the Northern Cultural Stream channel at www.pohjoinenkulttuurivirta.fi.

Folk music and dance carnival "Juuret" (Roots) has been chosen to the program for the 2024 Oulu August Festivals.

The event will take place in downtown Oulu and feature the folk music band Nope along with guest performers. The concert will include easy folk dances that the audience can participate in. The event will culminate in an exhilarating "huutokatrilli", which is a lively quadrille or square dance characterized by energetic movements and shouts.The exact date of the event will be announced later.

Nope is a folk music band from Oulu that has been performing at major folk music festivals in Finland for 10 years and has significant collaborations in folk dance.

Oulu August Festivals highlight the expertise of Oulu and northern artists and art organizations with 1–2 works/events. This year, the festival received 10 applications, from which the board of the Oulu Cultural Events Association selected "Juuret" to complement the entire program for the Oulu August Festivals.

Previously, the program has included tightrope dancing, aerial acrobatics, media art, theater, opera, immersive multidisciplinary works, urban adventures, and street theater.

Oulu August Festivals are looking for promising emerging artists from the Oulu2026 region for the documentary series "Artists Arise in the Delta" for the years 2024–2026. Artists from any artistic discipline, ranging from rock music to contemporary dance and photography to theatre, are encouraged to apply.

As part of Oulu August Festivals’ Delta Life project, the series follows the artists' journey towards Oulu 2026 European Capital of Culture year: will the young talents succeed in their efforts, what turns will life bring along the way, will opportunities open up for them to become professional artists, or do their life paths lead them in a different direction?

Materials from the project, including footage and interviews, will be used for social media content released throughout the journey. The overall experience will be condensed into a documentary series to be published in 2026. The project will culminate in the artists’ performances or exhibitions during Oulu August Festivals in 2026.

Apply or suggest a promising and interesting young artist or artistic group by the end of February 2024. Selections will be made by the end of March. Five artists/groups will be chosen based on the applications.

The application can be submitted through the form at: https://link.webropol.com/s/taiteilijasyntyysuistoon

Selected participants will receive:

Selection criteria:

What is Delta Life?

As part of the Oulu2026 European Capital of Culture program, Delta Life project explores the birth of the city and culture along waterways from fells to the sea, utilizing scientific research results.

The artistic director for the project is musician, singer-songwriter, author, and video artist Jukka Takalo. The project is a collaborative effort, involving the festival network of the Oulu August Festivals and a broader group of cultural actors throughout the Oulu2026 region. More information about Delta Life can be found on the Oulu Cultural Events Association's website.

More information: Executive Director Pia Alatorvinen, pia(at)oulunjuhlaviikot.fi, +358 44 723 2676

The Delta Life airres of Oulu August Festivals will pop up during the hugely popular Lumo Light Festival in Oulu over the weekend. You can spot the mysterious creature both on the Renkkusilta Bridge and elsewhere in the delta.

Delta Life is an international project leading up Oulu 2026, European Capital of Culture. It culminates in a spectacular event throughout August 2026 in the delta.

Inspired by the muses of legends, Delta Life showcases the muses who once showed humans the birth of iron and were present when the text message was invented. Whether it's science, art, or any other human endeavor, the activities of innovative individuals require the presence of muses. The muses favor both spirit and practice and are particularly excited about the creation of something new. In Oulu, the muses are best known for Ilmatar, who has excelled not only in world creation but also as the protector of air guitar playing.

Renkkusilta, on the other hand, is the first precursor to the arena of the 2026 spectacle, with the scent of tar and tradition combined with modern life. You can follow the development of Delta Life on our social media channels: Oulu Festival Week and Northern Cultural Stream.

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