In the 1960s the most popular music events in PRL (the People’s Republic of Poland) were the National Festival of Polish Song in Pole and the Sopot International Song Festival. Stars such as Anna Jantar, Maryla Rodowicz, Czerwone Gitary and Zbigniew Wodecki appeared on stage. Famously in 1979 Boney M appeared playing Rasputin, which was a banned song at the time, and the TV replay cut out any lyrics seen as offensive to the Soviet State.
SO WHAT’S GOING ON IN POLAND THESE DAYS?
The Sopot International festival is no more – after Polish Independence it stuttered on for a time, finally being abandoned in 2015 and the Opole national festival is just about being held this year. But the Open’er Festival, one of Poland’s top festivals is on in July, near Gdynia. The four-day-long festival last year attracted over 120,000 people and takes place in late
June, early July at the 75-hectare military airport Kosakowo. This year’s line-up includes Radiohead, James Blake, Foo Fighters, The Weekend alongside Polish bands – the electro-pop duo The Dumplings and Warsaw-based rapper Taco Hemingway. I don’t claim to know all of these bands, however I’m giving you a heads up on the line-ups advertised in case you do! Children are half price and there is a children’s zone with tons of activities. Iincreasingly a lot of these festivals are catering for children and families.
Here’s a few more taking place across Poland this summer. I’m amazed at the variety of music styles, and these are just a few I’ve picked out.
Sunrise Festival (21 – 23 July) – Kołobrzeg, Baltic coast A mass festival of house and trance that has a history of over 10 years with a lineup this year of David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, and Hardwell. The visual and pyrotechnic displays are legendary and cult after parties take place on the beach throughout the night until dawn and beyond. Unfortunately tickets are already sold out for this year but think about it for next year?
Audioriver (28 – 30 July), Płock, near Warsaw For electronic music fans Audioriver is known for its techno, drum & bass, house and deep house lineups. The festival is located by the Vistula River in Płock – 110km away from Warsaw. This year it will host artists of the likes of Boys Noize, Solomun, Ben Ufo and Kink. A three-day ticket costs 290 PLN.
Woodstock Festival (3 – 5 August) – Kostrzyn nad Odrą (Western Poland) This free, yes, free festival is a huge open air event with more than 300,000 people attending. Whilst it’s mainly a rock festival it features a wide ranging international line-up it including New Model Army, Archive and Nothing but Thieves from the UK. Hosted by Polands biggest charity Wielka Orkiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy, it’s theme is “Love, Friendship, and Music.” Many families and children take part, camping to make the most of it, and as you can see, even nuns get to go. Further information on the website.
FANCY REGGAE, HIP HOP OR COUNTRY? HEAD TO THE MAZURY LAKES Here in Poland’s Lake District you’ll find a an amazing variety of music to chill out to by the water’s edge.
Piknik Country (25–27 July) – Mrągowo (North East Poland) This International Country Music festival has been ongoing since 1983. Set by the shores of a lake it’s the place to be if you’re a fan of bluegrass, honky tonk or country rock. The line up is mainly Polish or American bands including Rawhide, Powergrass and Paweł Bączkowski and the Gold Country and Roll Band. Tickets from 59 PLN.
Ostróda Reggae Festiwal (10-13 August) Ostróda (North East Poland) With a 15 year old history this well-established festival features an international line-up with Shaggy from Jamaica and Talisman, The Skints, Steel Pulse and the Deadzone from the UK. 4 day tickets from 220 PLN. Children under 12 free and family tickets start from 285 PLN with camping extra.
Hip Hop Festiwal (20-22 July) – Giżycko (North East Poland) Taking place in a 19th century fort in Giżycko called Twiedza Boyen, this festival has been going for 15 years and this year’s line up includes mainly Polish rappers and musicians Kękę, Kaen, Dwa Sławy, Paluch, Sobota and Bonson. A 3 day ticket with camping costs from 190 PLN.
OR HEAD TO KATOWICE – NOW A CREATIVE CENTRE OF THE ARTS
Change your mind about Katowice, traditionally known for its industry, but since 2015 it’s become part of UNESCOs Creative Cities Network and has several festivals:
Tauron (6 – 9 July) Katowice This unique festival focuses mainly on electronic music, although with some jazz and hip hop bands as well as experimental sets – from both established and up-and-coming artists from Poland and abroad. The 2017 line up includes Roisin Murphy, The Cinematic Orchestra, RY X, Luke Vibert and Gold Panda. One day passes from 190 and two day from 220 PLN.
Off Festival (4-6 August) Katowice This top national festival is known for rock, pop, indie, alternative, urban and electronic music which takes place in fields to the south of Katowice. Created in 2006 by Artur Rojek from the alternative rock group Myslowitz it is known for its relaxed and non mainstream vibe. Line up includes PJ Harvey, Feist i Swans. Three day ticket cotsts 310 PLN
90’ Festival (12 August) Dolina 3 Stawów, Katowice Harking back to the music of the 90s this family festival is getting ever more popular. Children under 6 get in free, older ones 49 PLN and adults 79 PLN. To niepowtarzalna muzyczna podróż, obudzenie wspomnień z tamtych lat i zabawa dla wszystkich pokoleń.
Metal Hammer Festival (21 August), Katowice A hard rock festival featuring Marylin Manson Tickets from 170 PLN
AND THEN THERE’S ALWAYS KRAKÓW TO FINISH OFF THE SUMMER
Kraków Live Music Festival (18-19 August) This Music Festival has been held in Kraków since 2006. The line up announced so far includes Ellie Goulding and Alt-J from the UK, and Lana de Rey and Wiz Khalifa from the US. Past acts have included the likes of Rihanna, Franz Ferdinand, The Chemical Brothers, Jay-Z and Kaiser Chiefs. Tickets start at 195 PLN for a one day pass.
These are just some of the festivals throughout July and August – still time to book for one if you fancy a musical tour of Poland. Enjoy.
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