When I started to think about a subject for my thesis in late 2014, I wanted to combine two of my biggest passions – travel and metal music.
Finland’s and Helsinki’s attractiveness among metal head travellers is not so new. For example two Laurea University of Applied Sciences’ students conducted a marketing research in year 2012 about rock and heavy metal music tourism in the capital city of Finland. Yle (The Finnish Broadcasting Company) also reported in early 2015 that Finnish metal bands are building the Finland brand. Metal music is considered to be an important economic asset for Finland. With this in mind, I find it very important that we would use metal music in destination marketing as well.
Helsinki is competing against other destinations in the Baltic Sea – Stockholm, Tallinn and St. Petersburg – and needs to find something, which makes it different compared to others. So why not be Scandinavia’s (or even the whole world’s) heavy metal capital? My suggestion is that instead of complaining what we don’t have compared to others, we should just take a whole new approach. After all, Helsinki has a lot to offer for metal heads: concerts, bars and clubs, a big metal music festival in the summer – and if we reach a bit further outside the city, there’s even more to experience.
For this reason, an awesome product for metal and rock music fans was created in spring 2015 – a mobile travel guide in English called Hellsinki for Headbangers. The guide introduces all together 33 locations around the city: bars and nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and shops that fit into the theme, telling where the best metal head watering holes exist or where you can throw yourself into moshpit. The guide is giving an alternative way to experience Helsinki – visit Helsinki like a metal head!
Hellsinki for Headbangers is created within CreateTrips, which is a social trip planner where users can plan trips, share them with friends and download mobile travel guides. The application is free to download and so is Hellsinki for Headbangers. However, for now the app is only available for iPhone, Android version being still under development.
With Hellsinki for Headbangers, users can easily navigate their way through the city as the guide has all the places listed on a map as well. Every place has 1-3 photos and a short description, so that users can see, what kind of a place is in question. The point was not to tell about opening hours and prices, but to show the atmosphere and what user can find in different metal spots around the city.
Welcome to Hellsinki – The Heavy Metal Capital of Scandinavia!
Writer’s Top 5 heavy metal and rock spots in Hellsinki for Headbangers guide:
1. PRKL Club
It’s the best in town – no arguing about that. I visit PRKL almost every time when I’m out with friends. It’s packed with metal heads and music is very heavy. Club downstairs has often smaller, less known bands playing, which is good for finding new music. I have never left there disappointed. People in and of every size and looks are warmly welcomed.
2. Bar Loosister
Well, not exactly very metal, but excellent rock-style place offering great and simple food. Conveniently close to Kallio’s other bars. The avocado hamburger is worth trying.
Record store for the darker taste. I will shop Christmas and birthday presents here from now on and recommend others to do so as well.
4. Solo Sokos Hotel Aleksanteri
Stay like a rock star. Finnish artist known from Hurriganes, Remu Aaltonen, designed the Rock’n’Rose Room which is also suitable for having parties. Records and instruments hanging on the walls create a true rock atmosphere. Guestbook has interesting messages and not only from typical passing tourists. However, as the room is located at the street level (maybe a carefully considered move from the hotel), throwing out TV sets or other needs to be left for another time.
5. On The Rocks
I recommend On the Rocks for live nights when the downstairs venue opens and bands hit the stage – I’ve experienced few pretty good metal gigs in there. They also have a great terrace in summer, where you might spot a rock/metal celebrity or two. Tuska metal festival’s after parties are often here and should definitely be attended.
Written by Anne Salmela.