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Tampere: What to expect from UMK and Finland's Eurovision Song for 2021

Tampere will host Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2021 on February 20, when seven songs will compete to be Finland’s entry for Eurovision 2021. Last year’s UMK winner, Looking Back by Aksel Kankaanranta, was unable to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest as the event was cancelled due to the Covid–19 pandemic.


And while this year’s event won’t have an audience due to social distancing restrictions, the winner, picked by TV vote and a judging panel, should at least find itself competing with 18 other countries in the second semi–final on 20 May 2021 in Rotterdam. If it wins out, it’ll go on to the final two days later. 

The entrants

There are seven entrants for this year’s UMK. Hurt by Aksel, who will be looking to repeat his success from 2020. Dark Side by Blind Channel. Finnish language efforts Kelle mä soitan by Ilta and Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua by Danny. Play by Laura, who competed in the Eurovision final in 2005 with her group Suntribe and again in 2017 alongside Koit Toome. Lie by Oskr. And a Finnish/English mash–up, I Love You by Teflon Brothers and Pandora. There were over 300 applicants for this year’s UMK, with a panel of eight industry experts choosing the final seven tracks.

Ranging from heartfelt pop to heavy rock via hip hop and traditional folk, it’s fair to say that whoever wins will be a stand out contender when it comes to the finals in the Netherlands. Whether they can emulate Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah and win the whole thing, however, remains to be seen.

The show

UMK 2021 will take place in Tampere on February 20th. Owing to the ongoing pandemic, plans to have an audience at Mediapolis TV studios have been shelved. However, the Finnish public will still be able to help pick a winner. Their votes will be merged with the votes of the judging panel to decide who will travel to the Netherlands.

The city

Of course, the lack of audience and moves to minimize travel mean that UMK and Eurovision fans won’t be able to head to Tampere for this year’s event. But once restrictions ease, travelers will find much to love in this southern Finnish city.

Billed as the sauna capital of the world, Tampere is home to Rajaportti, the oldest working public sauna in Finland. For those that want to take advantage of the abundant ice swimming opportunities close to the city, then Kaupinoja on the banks of Lake Näsijärvi is the place to go, with a sauna for warming up after an invigorating dip.

Culture lovers should head to the world’s only Moomin Museum, a homage to Tove Jansson’s classic children’s books. Finlayson, Tampere’s Old Town, is home to the textile factory around which the city was built, with its own church and palace and a series of picturesque streets, plus Tallipiha Stable Yards, now converted with an excellent cafe and chocolate shop.

Foodies should also make plenty of time for Tampere Market Hall. The largest indoor market hall in the Nordic countries, this art nouveau gem dates to 1901. While you can grab everything from Spanish to Italian delicacies, the local produce, including traditional black sausage, is what visitors really head here for.

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