Liraz at the World Village Festival Music Stage.
In photo Liraz. Photo: Camilla Hanhirova.

World Village Festival drew in 49,000 visitors – spotlight on influencing for a better world for everyone

World Village Festival attracted a crowd of 27,000 on Saturday and 22,000 on Sunday to Suvilahti, Helsinki. Organised for the first time at the Suvilahti site, the civic influence festival was a great success and boasted a sunny and laid-back atmosphere. This year’s theme – Force for Change! – was seen and heard throughout the programme and in encounters with the exhibitors, performers and festivalgoers.

The 23rd World Village Festival drew in large crowds of people of all ages throughout the weekend.

– Suvilahti worked really well as a festival site, and many people were commenting positively on the diverse facilities and on everything now happening on the same site. There were thousands of people at any given time, but there was still space to wander around smoothly. The weather was excellent for an urban festival. The gigs pulled in a lot of people, the programme at the Speaker’s Stage was popular, the Kids’ Corner was busy and the exhibitors’ contents inspired people to learn about the activities of a couple of hundred CSOs, says World Village Festival Communications Manager Nelli Korpi.

On Saturday, the festival’s most-awaited name, Nigerian Afrobeat star Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, played to a packed Music Stage crowd and electrified the atmosphere. Toya Delazy, Yeboyah and children’s band Megasakki also pulled in keen audiences. Von Hertzen Brothers kicked off the Sunday with their fabulous concert. Great gigs were also played at the Music Stage by Liraz and Jesse Markin. Balaklava Blues touched the audience with their message about their home country, Ukraine, and their strong performance.

Thought-provoking speakers at the popular Speaker’s Stage included activists Winnie Masai, Helena Gualinga, Carmen Gheorghe and Tendai Makanza. Interdisciplinary stage poets Elsi Sloan, Iiris Laisi and Julian Owusu drew in a full house at Tiivistämö with their powerful spoken word performance. All of the 26 programme items at the Speaker’s Stage had an audience of 100–300 people, and the online stream was also viewed by hundreds of people over the weekend.

– The festival’s theme, Force for Change, was highlighted really well and there were so many impressive and touching moments. Personal stories about how individuals and communities are able to make a difference and succeed in changing the world were hugely captivating and provided food for thought, says Korpi.

The exhibitor stands were busy throughout the weekend, the 50 food vendors sold thousands of dishes and the Kids’ Corner was very popular.

The free-admission festival enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather. On Sunday, the wind picked up but there was no rain. The festival site was opened 15 minutes late on Sunday due to safety arrangements required by the high wind conditions. Otherwise, all was calm and the atmosphere great throughout the festival. There were no disturbances or other incidents.

Next year, the festival will be organised at Suvilahti during the last weekend of May (25–26 May 2024). The theme will be announced this summer.

For more information and interview requests please contact

Nelli Korpi, Communications Manager,, +358 50 317 6698

Images on Flickr

Organised since 1995, World Village Festival is a sustainable development festival that hosts debates on current global topics and encourages people to take action for a more sustainable future. Bringing together tens of thousands of people and hundreds of organisations, the free international event was organised at Suvilahti, Helsinki, from 27 to 28 May 2023. This year’s theme was Force for Change! The main organiser is Finnish Development NGOs Fingo, an umbrella organisation for around 270 development organisations. Fingo and its Member Organisations work to make life fairer – everywhere. The festival’s main partners are the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Maailman Kuvalehti magazine.