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Text: Samppa Rinne • Photography: Antti Sepponen

I lived in Lahti most of my life. I can remember a time when I felt like nothing ever happened in Lahti, and I think it’s fair to assume I’m not alone with that feeling.

I have good news though for anyone who has ever had similar thoughts: things do happen in Lahti. And sure, maybe there was a time when nothing much happened, but right now? There is life in Lahti. I assure you.

I happen to know for a fact that the local music scene is full of life. Can I throw out a request for people living in Lahti? Please go to concerts and gigs once the pandemic is over. There are people who organize events just for you.

So, what is Lahti? For starters, Lahti is a place where things get done.

There might be moments when you feel like there isn’t that much to do. Not much support, not much to compete with, and not that many people in general – and definitely not enough people who care. But I like to look at things through a different lens. Instead of thinking what there isn’t, think about how big a challenge Lahti offers to any creative soul. It’s the perfect place to test and practice your passions and drive towards reaching your dreams. Personally, I liked that challenge, and I think it’s one of the things that kept me going forward.

Secondly, people in Lahti stay grounded – and they will keep you grounded.

Lahti is a city that won’t let compliments go to your head, but that’s a good thing. Sure, sometimes you might feel down, and feel like you don’t need a reality check, but Lahti keeps it real. The people in Lahti are real. And I adore everyone I got to know in Lahti. These people kept me going and they are the ones I can thank for achieving my dreams.

I love Lahti. Lahti has the best people. Lahti has a decent quality-price ratio. Lahti has amazing clubs and many creative souls. I want to throw out a special shout-out to some lovely folk and legendary gig venues. Many thanks to Mika Kavasvuo and the Finlandia Club, Jaako Teittinen and Torvi club, and Sepponen and your amazing camera. I hope you guys take care of each other!

Lahti feels like home. Wherever I go, I always feel happy when I get back here. The city deserves one more shout-out: Loviisankatu. Let’s be real, the third fact is that Loviisankatu might just be paradise on Earth.

I haven’t lived in Lahti for quite some time now, but the city and its people mean the world to me. Even today, I reflect a lot on how much what I’m experiencing now is owed to what I experienced in Lahti.

To answer what Lahti is, I’ll say this: Lahti is something you need to experience.

Samppa Rinne is Programme Director at Tampere Hall congress and concert centre. Before moving to Tampere, Rinne spent 15 years in Lahti working at Sibelius Hall and in a variety of musical and cultural ventures. He is also a former hip hop producer.