Nummirock’s Campsite: An Institution in Itself (Musicalypse Archive)


When talking about Nummirock, there’s one thing that’s evident right away: Nummirock’s campsite is an institution in itself. A mystical, fabled one to those who have never set a foot there, and something that makes the veteran Nummi-goer’s gaze glaze over while they babble on about the magical wonderland that is the campsite. It might seem even a bit over-glorified – is there really such a place, or is it all drunken hallucination? Yes, and well… yes to that too.

[2021: statement from the author regarding a passage about a camp (formerly) named Auschwitz: I would like to express deep regret and apologize for my choice of words in the passage that claims that camps named like this, and those that display memorabilia and insignia of fascist regimes, are always doing so out of irony and base their choices in making fun of those regimes. This went against my better judgement, as I wanted to give fellow festival goers the benefit of the doubt; even if my original assumptions were true, it won’t happen again. I was being an apologist and did that without addressing the problems the metal community has with flirting with Nazism. Even if the wording seems insignificant to some, it normalizes behavior that should be unacceptable and is illegal in many other countries, but for various reasons isn’t here. Some things aren’t meant to be joked about and I apologize for this statement being so late.]

But really, what is the essence of Nummirock camping? With visitors from Ireland to India, from Austria to Australia, as well as every part of Finland, you’d think there are as many opinions on this as there are Nummi campers. To commemorate the 30 years of Nummirock and the existence of this dear post-apocalyptic tent village, we decided to ask this and more from fellow campers in order to bring you a glimpse of what it’s all about (and to make the waiting-for-next-year a bit easier for us). Hop on to our camp safari!

A special thank you and a tip of hat goes to the Tykittelijämiehet group [Groovy Dudes] and Bönthöleiri [Liquor Camp], whom we had the opportunity to bother with our cameras during the weekend, and you can spot them in some places where we don’t have photos of the wonderful people we’ve interviewed. And don’t forget to check out an epic video from 2014 at the end of the post!

Our first victim here, Hannele, is a long-term Nummi-camper, with 2016 marking her 9th year at Nummirock. She and her campmates, along many others, also worked as volunteers in Nummi: earning your ticket by volunteering has been a long tradition in the Finnish festival scene, and Nummirock is no exception.

So, what makes you come back here every year?

Good atmosphere, friends, and good bands are a bonus. STAM1NA, TURMION KÄTILÖT, MOKOMA, and BODOM this year especially. Also FOREVER ONE on the first evening.

Does your camp have a name?

We are Leidileiri [Lady camp]. We’ve had only women here for quite a few years, but now we’ve had Aleksi here for some years as well.

Aleksi: I can also be a lady!

Do you have any other theme here?

Eeva digs holes nearly every year, but I guess nothing else. We always have good and smart things [to talk about].

Why is Nummi worth coming to?

This is the best festival in Finland.

We met a few other active Nummi-goers, Jussi, Joni, and Jarmo hanging out in their camp early on Saturday eve, and dropped by for a quick chat. One could describe their camp as a somewhat traditional Nummi camp, with all the essentials – tents, grill, some chairs, and tarps to keep the rain away from the hangout area.

Does your camp have a name?

Jussi: We had quite a few suggestions for it, what was it-

Joni: There were actually quite a lot of suggestions.

Jussi: Like, Homo-leiri, as in short from words hyvä meno [good atmosphere, spirit, or action] but we didn’t find the other O from anywhere, it just appeared, and then there was Meno and Meinink Guaranteed –

Joni: And Mustic Berries.

Jussi: And Mustic Berries! Or was it Mysteriis Dom Mustic Berries, or Mustic Berries Dom Sathanas? And all kinds of stuff like that, but we’re still working on it, if we’d have a banner next year, as it’s our 8th here.

Well, the next question would’ve been, “How many times have you been to Nummi before,” but you just answered that, so 7 years this year. Is your camp always in the same place?

Jussi: Yeah, it is – late. As in wherever we can fit in when we arrive, which is late, so it’s every year in that same spot.

Joni: Well it’s in Nummi every year, so it’s in the same place.

Jussi: And on the forest side.

What’s the best thing in your camp?

Joni: Beer.

Jussi: Booze. No, Jaloviina, and actually Hot Headz habanero chips, and the shockingly low quality of jokes.

Joni: Shitty company is the best.

Jussi: Really, I wouldn’t go to any other camp because there would probably be better company, that’d ruin the whole Nummi!

What’s the most essential thing in Nummi camping?

Both: Brotherhood… metal brotherhood [laughter].

Jussi: It’s the people who come to hug you while drunk because you have a black shirt, y’know. But yeah, it’s a really great atmosphere here because everyone’s friends with everyone. There’s no sense of community like this at any other festival.

Heidi and Mikko have had one of the most memorable and likely one of the most photographed camps for a few years, with its cute little playhouse, zombie garden gnomes, post box, and a sign that wishes everyone “tedious, grim, cold, dark, and a very sad Christmas,” so of course we wanted to ask them some questions as well!

Does your camp have a name?

Heidi: It’s Hevonkuusi [the closest translation might be “buttfuck nowhere”].

I remember seeing you guys here for several years now; is your camp always in the same place?

Heidi: Yeah, approximately, pretty much.

How many times have you been to Nummi?

Heidi: This is my sixth year.

Mikko: Fifth for me.

What’s the best thing in your camp?

Heidi: Playhouse! And the fact that there’s a real bed, too. No matter what’s raining from the sky, the playhouse surely will endure it better than a tent.

What’s the most essential thing in Nummi camping?

Mikko: I like this overall atmosphere; it’s good around here.

Heidi: Yeah, quite a laid-back atmosphere.

Mikko: You can walk to a camp and you’re instantly welcome.

Heidi: Yeah, everyone’s friends with each other.

If you’ve never been to Nummirock before, you’ve likely learned a thing or two already from this, and our previous Nummi reports. Oftentimes camps are built in approximately the same place as the last year(s) and you can learn to navigate the area by some of the traditional big camps fairly quickly – they usually have large banners with camp names on them and it’s easy to direct friends to your whereabouts with those. Decorating always helps you recognize the right camp too! And there’s no limit on the kind of decorations – from huge hockey player faces, band and country flags, pennant strings, empty beer cans and booze bottles, and all kinds of lights to life-size northern pike and skeleton decorations, you name it!

There’s also an eternal, albeit friendly, debate on whether the forest- or shore-side of the camping area is the right side to camp in. Of the Musicalypse staff, all of us are accustomed to the forest-side and likely would not change our preference on the matter, but we do pay visits to our friends and acquaintances on yonder shore-side. We assume that picking either of the sides has mostly to do with tradition; when you come to Nummi for the first time, your more experienced friends are likely to tell you what part of the area you should come to, or take you and your tent as part of their camp. We rarely see people changing from one side to another – perhaps moving around the same area, though – so while our theory on this is still in the works, we strongly assume it has a lot to do with that.

Other than elaborate camp structures, dressing up is another ongoing Nummi tradition. Lovely ladies Noora and Noora extend their camp theme further than just the camp itself, as they’ve dressed as nurses and give out traditional Finnish Christmas cookies to fellow Nummi-goers.

Does your camp have a name?

Festaripiparileiri [“Festival Cookie Camp”; pipari = gingerbread, also a slang word for pussy].

Is your camp always in the same place?

This is our second year in this same spot, and the third year of sharing pipari.

How many times have you been to Nummi?

Fourth for me, and third for my friend here.

What’s the best thing in your camp?

The best thing is that people come to visit us here, very frequently so.

[voice from the background] And we are very grateful!

What’s the most essential thing in Nummi camping?

The community spirit and that you can go to any camp here.

Nummirock is a place for sometimes extremely dark and bizarre humor, and one of the camps that has developed itself a somewhat legendary reputation in a short period of time is the Auschwitz camp. And now, before you hasten to judge, get offended, or fly a Neo-Nazi flag here, we assure you that despite its grim name, this camp is all contrary to its infamous namesake. With its high gates and other ambitious constructions, it looks impressive from afar, and we’ve heard rumors of them having fridges and other modern-world conveniences, and we’ve certainly heard their techno playlists. After wondering if the place was really as magnificent as we’ve been told, we decided to get some inside info from the founders of the camp, Janne and Matti, and to see for ourselves what the buzz was about.

How long ago did you get the idea to start this camp?

Matti: We built this thing 4 years ago for the first time, in 2013 – I don’t know what drunken idea it was, like “Hey, let’s dig a ginormous pit, and build a command tent there!” And then some foxholes to the side of the road. The idea has evolved a bit over the years; nowadays there’s inverted funnel systems and all. You can burn stuff when it’s cold – 2013 was warm but 2014 was fucking cold, so after that we decided we need some heating in the tent. We tried a kind of oven thing, but that backfired, as all the smoke just got inside of the tent and you couldn’t stay there – so it sort of worked, but not for the warming purpose. After that we tried this inverted funnel and it works way better. And then some dumb-nut decided that [they] could buy an aggregate, so we wired the place, and there’s a fridge and stuff now. We forgot the PA systems in two waves, so we called the last one who was arriving, if they could find at least something, and they found some real proper ones!

It surely sounds like they did! How many times have you guys been to Nummi now?

Matti: This is my fourth year.

Janne: Eleventh.

What’s the best thing in your camp, if you can pick just one thing?

Janne: It’s the best! The best in whole Nummirock, as you can see.

We’ve mostly gotten the same answer to this question from everyone, but what’s the most essential thing in Nummirock camping?

Janne: Eeehmmm… constructions.

Matti: Yeah, the way it stands out among other festivals is that you can build stuff and not be just like, “There’s a tent, I put a tarp on it, ain’t that nice?” You read in the news that, “Look at the best camping hacks in Provinssi!” and there’s a tent with a tarp on it. Are they for real?

After doing some rounds taking part in both the dance party and chilling by the campfire, as well as asking some of the same questions from the casual Auschwitz campers, we can’t but agree that the laid-back people in and visiting the camp and the effort of building yourself likely the coolest headquarters around, surely makes this camp one of the best in Nummi.

So we’ve heard it from the returning members of the Nummi community, but how about the first-timers? We were glad to catch Veera, who was celebrating her first Nummijärvi juhannus this time, to ask how the weekend had been so far.

What got you to come here?

Mostly that a lot of friends were coming and that it’d be fun to go with them.

Are there any bands that interest you in particular?

I was probably most interested in seeing AJATTTARA and AMORPHIS is also always fairly interesting, even though you see them at every festival. I’ll go to see MOKOMA too, and TURMION KÄTILÖT was absolutely awesome, even though I haven’t listened to them before.

Has the festival met your expectations?

Pretty well – I didn’t have a lot of expectations, but this is pretty much what I had been promised.

What’s the “thing” in Nummi – why is it worth the visit?

This atmosphere in camping is cool – there’s a community spirit and you can go to talk with everyone. I will come back next year.

Along with companionship in general, midsummer is also commonly a celebration of love, be it between friends and family, significant others, newfound companions, or just anyone in general. We found two true Nummi lovebirds, Jani and Susanna: Jani had proposed Susanna on stage during the SENTENCED cover band, FOREVER ONE’s, set!

You just got engaged on stage there – how did that happen?

Jani: My lady here said she doesn’t want a boring proposal, so I thought, “Well fuck, now that we’re in Nummi, let’s get rad for real then.” Thought I’d get things arranged so that I can get on stage to propose my lady. That’s how it took off.

So the arrangements were easy to make?

Jani: Surprisingly easy. Didn’t need to talk to people much. The guys from FOREVER ONE were really well on board with the thing.

How did you feel, getting a proposal like this?

Susanna: Well, it was a positive shock, like, what’s going on here, and when Jani climbed there on stage I was like, “Oh hell no, here it is now.” Like I said out there, let’s not keep the audience in suspense, of course I’ll say yes. And it was absolutely awesome, wasn’t it?

It sure was, and we wish all the best to the happy couple, and everyone else who have found love, friends, and made some unforgettable memories like this in Nummirock over the years!

Report by Lene L. & Eliza Rask
Musicalypse, 2016
OV: 4493

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