The first Music by the Sea festival was initiated by Johanna Lindstedt in March of 1989. She had had a summer villa in Inkoo for several years and had been thinking about how the small town with its beautiful sceneries and maritime atmosphere would make a perfect place for chamber music concerts. She contacted Birgitta Grönvik, who was the Cultural Secretary of Inkoo at the time, and told her about the idea of organizing a small festival during next summer. Birgitta’s answer was somewhat like “Well, why not. Let’s just do it!”. They immediately contacted Åsa Westerlund, the cantor of Inkoo church, and asked her for help with putting everything together. After a few months of very intense organizing and some sleepless nights as well, the first Music by Sea festival in history took place 30.6 – 2.7.1989 in Inkoo. The festival attracted nearly 800 visitors, which exceeded all expectations, and so the organizers decided to arrange the festival again next year.

The music, not so much the artists, has been the main focus for the festival. Every autumn the planning of next year’s festival starts with the music, and when the program is ready, starts the recruiting of the artists. Of course, there have been some exceptions to this rule over the years, but the main goal of the festival has all along been to offer the visitors both familiar and less-known high-class pieces of music.