Tapahtumatuottaja Jussi Saarinen

The everyday life and dreams of an event producer

Event producer, Jussi Saarinen, returned to his childhood surroundings

Jussi came back to work among the events at Ruka-Kuusamo. The young man’s path headed away from Kuusamo a decade ago, first towards Rovaniemi and from there to Helsinki. 

– Everyone should go and take a peek elsewhere, you can always return. When I was young, it was difficult to appreciate all this, that it was all there at your doorstep. 

Nature, service and people from around the world. It’s difficult to compete with that, Jussi says. 

A lot was going on for the event producer in Helsinki. It was hectic and there didn’t seem to be time to calm down, it was full speed all the time. 

– You lose your identity to some extent, when life only involves hype and mental rush. In the end, I didn’t feel like I was at home anymore.

Ruka Ski Pride

Events are implemented in close cooperation with third-party event organisers, regional entrepreneurs, the city and organisations. The budgeting, planning, implementation and aftermath of events are part of the event producer’s work. A lot of celebrities visit the events and the work seems glamourous, and to only involve hanging around with hot stars doing cool things. Baffling? 

– The celebrities are also just people, like you and I, there is no need to feel nervous about them, Jussi assures. 

However, the work does not just involve standing around on the red carpet, it requires hard physical work, long days from morning to night and you there is no room to say no to a task. Paperwork, as you might guess, are rather numbing for an active person, but they are also part of the job description, in the same way as concluding agreements and transportation. 

Rukan hissit, kuva Jussi Väätäinen

Jussi has clear instructions for anyone dreaming of becoming an event producer. 

– Go and study and apply for a trainee position, where you can create relationships. Network. Provide volunteer work. Participate. Be social and alert. You can get work with good networks and relationships, and the best part about it, is that you continuously get to know new people. Tell me of a place, which would be better for networking than a ski resort? The holiday-makers change on a regular basis and people arrive from every corner of the world. You just go the slopes, begin to chat during your lift up to the top and suddenly you realise you have tons of new friends. And then through them, friends of friends. That’s how a network is created. And all this happens during your leisure time, as if by itself. 

Gratitude for a successful event comes from people’s expressions, not words. Jussi is always present at the events he has organised and he gets satisfaction from people who are enjoying themselves. Once an event has started, it begins to live its own life. 

– To begin with, there is a vision, but it is not until people arrive that it can be seen, whether it really works and whether they consider it to be right for them. Slightly cliché, but people create the atmosphere, event producer Saarinen formulates. I like to plan events, which consist of something new, so that it is not always mainstream that is offered, but instead there would be the courage to test the waters counter-flow. If an event is a well implemented entity, it works, even if a top artist is not performing on stage. 

But what would Jussi Saarinen do, if he were given then freedom and a bag full of money to fulfil himself? 

– Festivals. A small, intimate event, around three thousand guests, an entity that has been thoroughly planned. Culture with a capital letter would be able to be seen, heard, felt and tasted, he blazes. 

Päähkänäkallio Kitkajoella, kuva Hannu Hautala

The fast-paced, social and even stressful work is counter-balanced by time spent in the wilderness, which is widely available in Kuusamo.

– People can live in equilibrium here. Occasionally, I disappear in to nature for days, just to enjoy my own company. Whatever else would a human need than a nice job, good human relationships and nature at an arm’s length. 

Nothing else is needed.

Jussi pulls on his cap and begins to mentally prepare for his thirty-kilometre run, the NUTS running event, which his friends challenged him to take part in, how else. How it was and felt, shall be heard from Jussi in his own words in the near future. 

Published: 7.6.2018
Text: Salla Karhumaa
Photos: Neea Seppänen, Jussi Väätäinen, Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association