Before I went to Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, I expected a metal festival plain and simple—a no frill cacophony. However, Tuska represented something greater than just that: it felt more like a meeting ground of Finnish cultural quirks, unchallenged love for all things heavy, and fierce individuality of expression enveloped in an easy-going festival mentality. It managed to find a harmonious character that belied its overly concrete setting, within an event that straddles pragmatism with a well-conceived aesthetic and flair that accentuates that it is both a community event and an individual experience. With a record crowd of 37,000 over the entire three days and another record 14,500 patrons on Saturday thanks to the draw of H.I.M, Tuska fittingly celebrated its twentieth year.

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