Converted postal depot provides a centre for the creative industries to flourish in west Finland

A building that, until recently, was mostly used as a postal van depot in Southern Ostrobothnia has, at relatively little cost, been converted into a centre for music professionals, students and entrepreneurs as well as listeners.

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The former postal depot has been converted into a centre for creative industries. The former postal depot has been converted into a centre for creative industries.

Since 2006 around one third of the building had been used as a live music venue by the Seinäjoki Live Music Association, but when the rest of building was put up for sale, the club got together with the City of Seinäjoki and the Seinäjoki Technology Centre (now renamed Frami Oy) to buy the premises with financial help from the ERDF.

The new facility, known as Rytmikorjaamo (rhythm repair shop or garage in Finnish) opened in 2011 after three years of planning and construction work. The centre provides 7 700 square metres of space that is used for concerts, conferences and various educational events. In addition to three listening areas (one indoor hall with a capacity for an audience of 1 100 people, a smaller indoor hall with capacity for 400 people and an outdoor event yard with capacity for 4 000 people), Rytmikorjaamo also has 10 rehearsal spaces for bands. The rest of the floor space is rented out to 36 organisations of which 27 are commercial companies working in the creative industries. These companies include media and software companies as well as technical equipment hire firms.

Although the centre is mostly used for rock music, Rytmikorjaamo is also used for a wide range of music-making, from folk and jazz music to musicals, steel bands and classical music. The new music centre, which recently became a member of a trans-European network of performing arts centres, has made it possible for the city of Seinäjoki to host an annual rock festival in greater style than previously.

Boost for the cultural life of the region

Project leader Osku Ketola said that Rytmikorjaamo had provided a big boost to the cultural life of the region. As a result, former residents of the city were keen to return to Seinäjoki because of the difference that the music centre would make to their quality of life.

Seinäjoki is a growing city and I think this venue has really had a great impact on its cultural life,” Mr Ketola said. “I am really proud of the all the things we have done. Without the project and without the EU money it would have been really hard to succeed.”

The new centre has also proved to be a commercial success, with around 85 % of the floor space being rented out to private companies. The companies based at the music centre have successfully marketed their services through the use of the increasingly recognised Rytmikorjaamo brand. This has proved to be a useful marketing concept for companies that would otherwise be too small to promote a sales brand of their own. Housing all the main music-related companies in the area under one roof means that Rytmikorjaamo can be promoted as a one-stop-shop for services such as the organising of corporate events as well as the provision of performers and hire equipment.

Total and EU funding

The “Rytmikorjaamo” project had a total budget of EUR 160 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 62 000 through the 'Western Finland' Operational Programme for the programming period 2007-2013.

Draft date