The 32nd Annual International Sata-Häme Soi - Accordion Festival is being held from June 29 - July 4, 2004 amidst the beautiful parks and wooden houses of Ikaalinen, Finland which is nestled on the banks of Lake Kyrösjärvi, the 49th largest lake in Finland covering 96.2 square km. 'Sata-Häme' is the region of Finland in which Ikaalinen is found and is home to the largest Spa and Indoor Swimming and Water complex in Scandinavia.

The Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival is a member of Finland Festivals Association, and is one of the most prominent music events in Finland. It takes place annually during the five days in the beginning of July. The Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival experience is a highlight of Finnish summer culture. Its programme consists of genuine Finnish accordion music as well as high-quality international classical and light entertainment music.

Ikaalinen became an independent commune in 1641. The associated market town was founded in 1858. The market town and the commune were united in 1972 and Ikaalinen became a borough in 1977, a town with a rural atmosphere. Ikaalinen has a population of approximately 8,000 people.

Ikaalinen is an old tourist attraction in Finland. Its spa tradition dates back to the last century and folk music, especially accordion music is one of its traditions. Its beautiful landscape has always fascinated visitors. During the last decades Ikaalinen developed into a versatile service centre with good business, educational and recreational facilities. Today about 55% of the population earns its living from the service sector and 15% from agriculture, which has always provided an important source of income. The biggest industrial plants are Finlayson, Upofloor, Georgia Pacific Paper, Amerplast, Honkarakenne, Keskus-Sähkö, H&H Siporex and Katsa.

During the Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival a highly diverse program has been arranged around the accordion and its related instruments with the diverse variety of events guranteeing something for everyone. Artists representing a variety of styles will be performing at the festival including:

  • Tango Argentina - Tango orchestra Milonga with vocalist Martin Alvarado
  • Zoltán Orosz Duo from Hungary
  • Lappeenranta Accordion Club
  • Folk Dance Group Liparit
  • Ikaalinen Music Association
  • Veli-Matti Järvenpää TexMex Trio
  • Bryac-Quartet from Ukraine
  • Toccata from Slovakia
  • Accordion Orchestra of Arts Lyceum from St. Petersburg
  • Pentti Hietanen
  • Johanna Rusanen
  • Mika Väyrynen
  • Mutkattomat
  • Eki Jantunen
  • Jarno Kuusisto
  • Maria Kalaniemi and Timo Alakotila
  • Sami Hopponen
  • Elisa Inkinen
  • Jonna Pirttijoki
  • Seppo Lankinen
  • MusIkaalinen Orchestra
  • Rimini Rhythm Orchestra
  • Orchestra Mustarastas
  • Matti Lepänhaara & Seppo Soittila and the Nikkelimarkka Orchestra
  • One Nite Stand with Janne Mäkinen, the winner of the Golden Accordion competition 2003
  • Maija Vilkkumaa and The Crawfish Kings
  • Nikolai Sivchuk - Russia
  • Aleksei Peresidly - Russia
  • Armas Piippo
  • Oleg Sharov
  • The Light Music Orchestra of the Turku Accordion Club
  • The Orchestra of Nakkila Accordionists
  • Pasi and Petri Raukola
  • Accordion Orchestra Toccata from Slovakia
  • Matti Lepänhaara and Seppo Soittila
  • Kyröskoski Voluntary Fire Department Orchestra

The recently renovated "Oma Tupa" Hall (left) will host a variety of music including Folk Music and Dancing, Swing, Jazz and more. The White Rose and televised Golden Accordion Competition will be held in the Ikaalinen Hall, and others such as that by Finnish superstar accordionist Mika Väyrynen will be held at the Ikaalinen Church which is pictured left. In addition, concerts will be held at the Spa Open Air Theater, Festival Park, the Yellow School, the Red School (right), the Accordion Pub and other venues all located within short walking distances from each other. The outdoor venues of Festival Park and the Accordion Pub will ensure that music is heard in every corner of Ikaalinen!

The Church of Ikaalinen (left) was designed by Thure G. Wennberg and was completed in 1801. It is a wooden cruci-form church with a seating capacity of 1,100.

During the festival, Ikaalinen will provide a rare opportunity to hear Classical music, the Tango, the Finnish two row and five row accordions, Jazz, Rock, Zydeco, Folk, Polka and other types of music from soloists, ensembles and orchestras.

The festival tradition of musical competitions will also be continued. There will be several competitions for Folk Music on different types of instruments, as well as the Finals of the competition held onboard the Silja Europa cruise from Finland to Sweden and back held in March. These 'Golden Accordion' finals will be televised live during a concert where the contestants will perform with a backing ensemble.

In addition to music there will be displays of instruments, music and recordings, accordion items and other Finnish crafts during the week long festival. Even stores in Ikaalinen such as this Jewelry Store have an accordion theme, featuring two antique instruments.

Ikaalinen also is the home of the Finnish Accordion Association, the Finnish Accordion Institute, The Accordion Gallery and the Accordion Museum of Musical Instruments.

Festival Office

Sata-Hame Soi - Festival Office
Ikaalinen City Hall
Valtakatu 7, PL 33
39501 Ikaalinen

Telephone: +358 (0) 3 4400 224
Fax: +358 (0) 3 4501 365


The Accordion in Ikaalinen

A large part of the accordion life in Finland is centered in Ikaalinen and is formed into three groups, the Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival, the Finnish Accordion Association and the Finnish Accordion Institute.

The Sata-Häme Soi Ikaalinen Accordion Festival offers performances and concerts covering a broad range of styles as you can see from these pages which review the 2004 Festival. The Sata-Häme Soi also has an annual winter accordion cruise which attracts thousands from all over Finland.

The Finnish Accordion Institute caters to academic accordion activities with the archives of accordion activities, publishing new and past accordion works, CD's and other important accordion projects, including a museum and offering support for the summer festival and cruise.

The third group is the Finnish Accordion Association which has some 5,000 plus members. This gives accordionists an opportunity to belong to a central accordion family, and an important part of this association is the regular publication of their news, a 50 plus page high quality magazine entitled "Hanuri."

This terrific cooperation between three major accordion groups is an inspiration to the accordion world on the ability of groups to work together for the common goal of promoting the accordion.

(It should also be mentioned that in addition to these three groups promoting the accordion, many conservatories also accept the accordion for studies, the most famous being the
Sibelius Academy in Helsinki which has both Classical and Folk departments.)

In addition, there is also an Accordion Museum which houses over 100 instruments of various styles, including the 'Accordion Bench" demonstrated here (above right) by Kimmo Mattila. Having the appearance of a piano stool, it converts into an accordion much to the amusement of patrons who have just tested it out.