ELMU -Finnish Live Music Association
One of the cornerstones of ELMU’s existence has been the promotion and welfare of the country’s youth and music culture. The music business in Finland has grown to a level where a non-commercial organization like ELMU finds its role in the forging of international contact networks, the improvement of music culture, communicating from the music front, and fulfilling the needs of today’s youth. ELMU’s mission is to serve the entire young population by offering alternative ways of approaching culture and sociality. ELMU organizes events in collaboration with its young actives, ranging from concerts, discos and techno raves to theatre and art exhibitions, all the while paying attention to areas of the industry that haven’t yet been subject to thorough commercial exploitation.
The versatile venue Nosturi acts as Elmu’s headquarters, putting on events for exclusive groups and the broader audience alike. Other organizations and businesses holding fort in the building are central to the services of the warehouse community. Whether it’s practice spaces for bands, workshops, acoustic club gigs, a young artist’s debut exhibition, dance or theatre performances, a 300 person conference, an album launch, a kids’ party, a small-scale fair, disco, rave night, or 900 head rock concert – it’s happening here.
What is more, ELMU travel offers festival and concert trips with over 20 years of firsthand experience.
ELMU is all about offering versatile alternative, sub, minority, mainstream and underground culture. ELMU and Nosturi can be seen in action on the Helsinki music, youth and culture front. We’re at the front lines fighting for a good attitude and experience.
The Live Music Association was founded in 1978 to save the music scene in Helsinki. Initially, the association focused on arranging practice and performance venues for bands, both of which were nonexistent in the city at that point. In a matter of weeks ELMU had three thousand members, an office at Eerikinkatu 15, and was organizing clubs at legendary venues like KY and Natsa.
In August 1979 ELMU occupied an old paint warehouse that had previously served as an alcoholics’ shelter. The warehouse became ELMU’s headquarters, and was named Lepakko. At around the same time, a open-air concert by the name of Kansanjuhla (the People’s Celebration) was organized in Kaivopuisto. ELMU’s work was beginning to be seen and heard in the city.
In 1985 a group of people involved with ELMU gathered together to talk about the shared dream of a local radio station, which would better get the voice of the evolving popular music scene out to the public. Shortly after, on Mayday in 1985, Radio City kicked off. The result was a functioning community, where rock and roll was heard in house as well as on the airwaves.
The first ten years of ELMU’s history can also be found aptly chronicled in this volume: NUPIT KAAKKOON ELMU 10-VUOTTA
ELMU and the Finnish music scene alike took a turn for the more professional. In addition to confronting professionalism, ELMU came face to face with internationalization. This ultimately lead to ELMU selling its share of Radio City to the American company SBS in 1996. As a consequence of the business deal Radio City moved out of Lepakko.
The fourth era of ELMU’s history began with filling the space left by Radio City’s departure. The coexistence of ELMU, small businesses and craftsmen was threatened by the rapid westward expansion of the city centre. After a drawn-out battle ELMU and Lepakko had to admit defeat during the fall and winter of 1998. The price of the land on which Lepakko rested had risen to over 20 million euros, and the party interested in its purchase was the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer Nokia. As a compromise, the city of Helsinki suggested that ELMU move its headquarters to a new venue – the Masa Yards building located at Telakkakatu 8. ELMU moved into its new home at the end of 1999. The building was named Nosturi.
The association has taken its activities and operations in the direction indicated by a constantly evolving and changing scene. The association and partner’s commitment to ELMU’s work is on a solid founding. Moreover, new user groups have found their way into Nosturi’s versatile and pleasant environment. While many things change, ELMU’s attitude and principles have remained unaltered through the decades.