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Woodstock Festival Poland

We recently wrote an article about The Orchestra of Christmas Charity and their great project – The Grande Finale – which takes place every second Sunday of January. Today I would like to tell you about their second most famous project – Woodstock Festival Poland - which is organised every summer as a symbol of the Orchestra's gratitude towards all the people who helped during the Grande Finale.

The Festival was inspired by the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the 25th anniversary festival in 1994. Now Woodstock Festival Poland has outgrown its American counterpart. The original Woodstock gathered around 400,000 people, whereas Woodstock Festival Poland has an average attendance of 625,000 (1 million according to unofficial estimations).

The Woodstock Festival Poland is the biggest free open-air festival. There are a variety of different musical scenes with different genres for every interest.

The Big Scene, where you can find various bands and artists performing a variety of different genres (previous artists have included: The Prodigy, Helloween, Papa Roach, Within Temptation, Dream Theater, Volbeat, Manu Chao, Ky-Mani Marley, Damian Marley, Kaiser Chiefs, Anthrax, The Darkness, Sabaton, Machine Head, The Qemist, Gentleman, Nigel Kennedy, The Subways, Julliete Lewis and many more.

The Small (also Folk) Scene, where you can find artists performing softer, folk-oriented music.

The Krishna Scene, where you can usually find modern and classic Polish punk rock bands.

ASP Scene, progressive music, usually combined with the performing arts.

The Woodstock Festival Poland is another world, putting on over 3 days a variety of different bands and artists. Some people wait the whole year just to take part in it.

There is the Hare Krishna village, where members of the society sell their own vegetarian food, organise workshops about spirituality, yoga and meditation, as well as teach about their religion and beliefs. Krishna Village is a representation of one of Woodstock's principal ideas – the promotion of antiracism and a multicultural society (together with the Association Never Again).

The amount of activities available at the festival (excluding the concerts) is simply overwhelming.

• You can participate in various workshops (percussion, DIY ceramics, poetry reciting, cabaret improvisations, guitar lessons, dreadlock hairstyling, 3D printing, yoga, Zumba, how to improve your employability etc.)

The ASP (Academy of Lovely Arts) organises a series of lectures and meetings with important Polish and foreign artists, musicians, writers, and politicians. (In previous years there has been the opportunity to meet and talk with Michael Lang – organiser of the original Woodstock, Lech Walesa, Imam Abi Ali Issa – representative of Polish Muslims, Kesang Takla – Minister of Information for the Dalai Lama, Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Buzek – ex-president of European Parliament, Peter Jenner – manager of Pink Floyd, Agnieszka Holland and many more).

• You can watch films every afternoon at the open-air cinema.

• You can form a football team and participate in the Anti-racism Polish Football Championships.

• You can do a bungee jump over the Big Scene

• And much more to discover!

The Woodstock festival has many special features, which have become its defining characteristics. The scenes are never separated from the audience (except for The Prodigy concert, on their special request). The area under the scene is covered with flags brought by festivalgoers. The campsite is also full of flags representing where the campers have come from. There is a fire truck which drives around the festival area and sprays water at people (the festival takes place in the middle of summer, where the temperature can reach 33-38 degrees). Order at the festival is maintained by a group of volunteers called The Peace Patrol, who are trained at special centres before the festival. Next to the Big Scene there is a place where those who want to can have a mud bath and dance with hundreds of other people in the mud. There are special zones that are alcohol free. There are also the so-called "afterparties" - spontaneous concerts or jam sessions which take place at night after the last concerts. Special thematic parades and “villages” are also organised –for example the parades and “villages” of the bearded people, bikers, liberated woman and many more. At the festival it is also common to see thousands of people wearing different hand-made costumes, presenting their own poetry, the theme is different every year.

The Woodstock Festival Poland is a spectacular event, one for your bucket list! It takes place every summer in the Polish city Kostrzyn, near to the Polish-German border. Thanks to its location and the large number of foreigners coming from different countries (mostly Germany), Woodstock Festival Poland has been officially recognised as unifying Polish and German people by the presidents of Germany and Poland. Because of this, in 2012 the festival was launched by the President of Germany Joachim Gauck and the President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski.

The 22nd Woodstock Festival Poland will take place in Kostrzyn, on the 14-16th of July 2016 and as always, everyone is welcome.

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