July 4, 2013 - 8:30 pm

Nightwish, the iconic metal band from Finland, will be hitting our Festival stage full force on July 4! Having revived the symphonic metal genre, they achieved mainstream success by introducing Celtic and medieval elements into their music. Fronted by the stunning Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever) on vocals, Nightwish will be playing tracks from their latest album Imaginaerum alongside their biggest hits (“Wish I Had an Angel”, “Nemo”, “Over the Hills and Far Away”…). Their Lebanese fans are in for one hell of a treat!


Nightwish is a symphonic power metal band from the town of Kitee, Finland. Conceived as an “atmospheric” music project by songwriter/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, the original lineup includes Emppu Vuorinen on acoustic guitar and classically trained soprano Tarja Turunen on vocals.

After recording a first demo as a trio in 1996, Nightwish’s style evolves. Realizing that Tarja’s voice is too powerful for an acoustic project, Tuomas adds full metal-band instrumentation: Emppu switches to electric guitar and Jukka Nevalainen joins on drums.

Nightwish record another demo, which lands them a contract with Finnish label Spinefarm. They release their debut album Angels Fall First in late 1997. However, they play only a few gigs to promote it, as compulsory military service and studies prevent them from touring.

In the summer of 1998, they recruit Sami Vänskä on bass guitar and record Oceanborn, which is released in December. The album reaches the Finnish Top Five and includes three Top Ten singles, making Nightwish a household name in their homeland.

After touring Europe extensively in 1999, the band releases a third album in May 2000: Wishmaster rises to number one on the Finnish charts and stays there for three weeks, ultimately earning them a Platinum Record. Upon its international release, it is named Album of the Month in several magazines, particularly in Germany.

Boosted by this success, Nightwish set out on their first world tour and they cap off the year with a concert in Pakkahuone, which is recorded and shot for DVD. Titled From Wishes to Eternity – Live, it is released in April 2001 and is followed in June by the Over the Hills and Far Away EP.

After this intense year, Nightwish are on the verge of imploding but they decide to continue with Marco Hietala replacing Sami Vänskä. The addition of this new bass player gives the band a new dimension. Since he’s also a singer, his distinctive raucous voice becomes an integral part of their style and several songs are written as duets from now on.

Nightwish’s fourth album, Century Child, is released in 2002 and sees them teaming up with a live orchestra for the first time on several tracks. This “classical music feel” marks a stylistic shift that will be developed further on the band’s subsequent releases.

Their fifth album, Once is released in 2004. Selling more than 1.2 million copies, it topped the charts in Europe and lead to Nightwish video clips being shown on MTV in the United States.

The album included “Nemo” -their biggest single to date- as well as “Wish I Had an Angel” a song that made it onto three US film soundtracks as a means to promote their North American concerts.

The subsequent 2004-2005 tour is their biggest yet, sending them to new territories and larger venues. They end up playing over 130 concerts, with the final gig in Helsinki recorded and later released as the live DVD End of an Era.

And it is the “end of an era” indeed, as Tarja Turunen is dismissed for personal reasons immediately after the concert. As the media frenzy caused by her departure slowly fizzles out, the band starts rehearsing and arranging tracks for their forthcoming album, while auditioning singers. In May 2007, former Alyson Avenue frontwoman, Anette Olzon, is announced as her replacement and in the autumn, they release a new album Dark Passion Play, which sells more than 2 million copies and is their most successful album to date.

Just as Once incorporated new influences to the band’s sound a few years earlier, Dark Passion Play also sees Nightwish navigate unchartered waters: “Master Passion Greed” is probably the heaviest track the band has ever recorded, while “Last of the Wilds” has a Celtic feel. It’s also their first release to feature an orchestra on all the songs.

The supporting tour ends nearly two years and more than 200 gigs later in September 2009. In the meantime, a live EP, Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places), is released, showcasing the band’s new take on older songs.

In 2010, Nightwish retire from the public eye in order to prepare their most ambitious project yet: Imaginaerum.

A concept album and feature film based on a dying man’s recollection of his youth, it is inspired by the works of Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman and Salvador Dali. The album is released in late 2011, followed by the accompanying fantasy musical in the autumn of 2012.

Nightwish spent most of last year on the road promoting the album. Halfway through the tour, they decide to part ways with singer Anette Olzon and chose Floor Jansen as a temporary replacement. Arguably one of the most talented singers in metal, her addition -after two singers with very different vocal styles and personalities- is considered as a return to form by the band’s fans. Not only does the statuesque beauty have stage presence but also she really can sing, breathing new life into old favorites with her powerful soprano voice.

Nightwish are currently wrapping up their Imaginaerum tour to rave reviews. Because of their ability to create atmosphere, they offer the crowd a unique experience: sold-out arenas seem to shrink to the size of an intimate club before lighting up for a spectacular aural and visual extravaganza. Their Lebanese fans are in for one hell of a treat!