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Raindrops pummel the roof. It’s a Friday evening in late July. Somewhere near, a crow is cawing.
We are in a small cottage, in a mobile village built on an open field behind the main stage of the Pori Jazz festival in Pori, up on the west coast, about 250 kilometers from Helsinki.
Wine is in the fridge. Snacks on the shelf. The bed feels comfortable, and the sound of the rain is relaxing.
This village, called eHut, has been built by two entrepreneurs from Tampere, central Finland. “We started our business a year ago as we wanted to offer a solution to the growing demand for accommodation at festivals,” said Kristian Kivelä and Kristian Kulmala, the founders of Lentävä Mökki Oy (Flying Cottage Ltd).
Indeed. Major festivals such as Pori Jazz push the accommodation capacity of cities less than 100,000 inhabitants to the limit.
After calling several hotels in Pori, they assured us that they “were fully booked” and that “they have a line waiting.”
At eHut, they were happy to host us during our visit at the festival from Friday till Sunday but Thursday, the first of the three main days, had been booked up.
The cottage, which includes two small beds (60 x 190 centimeters), seats two persons well. Between the beds on the shelf, one can, for example, place their drinks. There’s also an additional shelf for belongings. A lamp hangs on the wall, and the miniature fridge fits at least a wine bottle, a six-pack of beer cans and some snacks. There are power outlets for phones and a laptop.
The door is locked with a padlock. The toilets are mobile, located at the back of the village. There’s also a popup shower available near the cottages.
Kulmala and Kivelä said that this summer they have been offering their eHut service across the country at various festivals. “The demand has been high,” the men said.
Effort and higher cause
It takes an effort to build the village. After dealing with the bureaucracy of building a campsite in Pori, the men arrived two days before the festival begun.
The modular wood elements—the walls, the doors, the beds—are brought in with a truck and screwed together by hand. “It takes about an hour to build one cottage,” the men said. There are 16 cottages in the village—exactly two days of work.
As a bigger dream beyond accommodation, Kivelä and Kulmala wish that the mobile village would help to bring people together. “Our dream is that the visitors would get acquainted with their fellow campers in a true camping spirit,” Kulmala said.
Our stay at the eHut village exceeded our expectations. The cottage offered almost everything required for a festival visit. We were only required to bring our bedclothes with us. In the future, according to the men, even that may not be necessary as their business grows.
Everything else was set and perfect. And the sleep?
Deep and very relaxing.