The theme of the festival 2018 was the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the regional focus was on Africa.
The two festival days were full of debates, amongst them the vision of young people's sustainable development, corporate responsibility, African innovations, and visitors had the chance to peek at Aku Hirviniemi's food shopping bag.
This year, the main performers were South Africa's voice Freshlyground, Grammy Award-winning Dobet Gnahoré, Congolese rhythm-wizard Jupiter & Okwess and Palestinian 47SOUL, as well as king of the Finnish reggae and dancehall Raappana.
The initial rhythm of the festival was played by Yakuzi Pato at the Mekong Stage at the Railway Square. The band was followed by a Kepa Talks discussion, where journalist Hanna Nikkanen as well as Member of Parliament Ville Niinistö (Greens) and Chairman of the Finnish Climate Panel, Markku Ollikainen, interviewed Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre) on the high emission targets.
Minister Tiilikainen acknowledged that the Paris Treaty’s goals set in 2015 will not keep the world below two degrees of warming. The agreement will only cover the post-2020 period. "I hope that the EU will be able to tell in 2020 that we are already doing more than what the agreement requires, otherwise two degrees will remain a long way off," Tiilikainen said.
Saturday’s last performance was by one of the most promising bands to come from the Middle East: the 47SOUL appeared for the first time in Finland. The band mixes traditional Palestinian music and electronic sound to modern shamstep, which got thousands of visitors to dance to Palestinian traditional dance at the Kaisaniemi Park.
The festival saw the world premiere of the document Kotimaa Kosovo-Suomi directed by Olli Laine. The Village Cinema documentary program was implemented in cooperation with YK Kino, Sitra, Nordic Culture Point and YLE. "Although I shouldn’t praise too much, Olli did a good job. The movie had many touching moments. Everything was not nice to discuss about, but we had to do it," Perparim Hetemaj described after his appearance in the movie.
The festival also hosted numerous workshops and dance lessons, such as the Afro-Cuban dance and capoeira. All in all, more than 100 programme numbers were organized. There were more than 450 exhibitors present at the Railway Square and Kaisaniemi Park, of which nearly 250 were NGOs.
More than 60 sellers were responsible for a diverse range of food products, which were encouraged to include environmental issues in their raw material selections. As the regional emphasis was on Africa, the festival offered Ghanaian, Ugandan and Egyptian food in addition to Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and European cuisine.
The organizer of the largest cultural and civil society event in Finland is Kepa, the NGO platform and umbrella organization on global development issues. The festival’s main partners are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland, the European Union, Ben & Jerry's, Eko Lumme and Maailman Kuvalehti.
The event will be held next time from 25th to 26th May 2019. Next year's theme is climate change.