If there is a music genre that in Polish People’s Republic brought a wind of freedom, it was definitely Punk. If there was a place where during communism in Poland, people could feel truly free even just for couple of days, this place was definitely Jarocin Festival. But Jarocin is more than just that. Created in 1978, recreated two years later under a new name, finished in 1994 and re-born in 2005 is not an easy event to interpret. Its ambiguous past has been discussed on political and cultural forums, and in many books and films. What is undeniable, is that Jarocin is living history. Jarocin is simply a LEGEND.
WHO? Because of politics of communistic Polish People’s Republic, between 1978 and 1989, Jarocin was a festival for Polish bands only. Since the end of communism this situation started to change and after re-born of the festival in 2005, the organizers have willingly invited international artists. When Jarocin started it was all about punk and new wave. Nowadays, rock’n’roll is still the main force there, but Jarocin consequently opens up for other genres.
This year the big names on Jarocin are: British legend of doom Anathema, Celtic punk-rockers from Canada The Real McKenzies, absolute dinosaurs of Polish punk Dezerter and Cela nr 3, one of the most influential Polish bands Kult which blends rock with rap and plenty of trumpets, and representatives of Polish reggae scene Maleo Reggae Rockers.
DISCOVER! Since the early 80s the dream of every new-created punk band was to play on Jarocin Festival. Regardless the delicate shift in terms of music genres and change of formula of the festival, still for thousands of young bands having possibility to play on these legendary stages is an event of a lifetime. On Jarocin Festival each year apart from the main line-up there is also the finale of Rhythm of the Young: competition of young bands. Among bands from the main line-up our must see are: legends of oi: The Analogs, metal band which has absolutely no boundaries and is an alternative to everything: Kabanos, Enej who brings together rock, ska and Ukrainian folk, Ania Rusowicz a daughter of Polish queen of bigbit who brings characteristics of the style from the 60s to modern pop and Sorry Boys whose magical music with poetic lyrics oscillates between shoegaze, ambient and pop. In Rhythm of the Young section our eyes lay on: Polish-Mexican hard rock band Enclose whose vocalist just won 4th edition of The Voice of Poland, adorable and catchy BE.MY and indie rock The Sunlit Earth from Gdańsk.
WHERE? Jarocin: a small city situated on the west of Poland, about which the earliest records come from 13th century, until the 1980s was rather unknown. Since the festival started Jarocin has become the city of Jarocin Festival. Thankfully, just 70km north from Jarocin there is one of the oldest Polish cities that remembers beginnings of Poland and was a witness of some of the most significant events of Polish history. Poznań attracts tourist with its market square with two dancing goats in front of the clock on the tower of City Hall, extremely hipster cafés, vast parks and atmosphere which is different than anywhere else in Poland. In the end of the day, Poznań is a city of sensation, as its slogan says.
HOW MUCH? Tickets for whole festival with camping cost 150zł which is around £30, for one day – 100zł which is around £20zł. They’re available via several ticket-systems.
HOW TO GET THERE? The closest city to Jarocin that has an airport is Poznań (Wizzair and Ryanair do flights to Poznań from couple of cities in UK). After getting to the centre of this beautiful city, you need to take a train (around £5) and an hour later you’ll be in Jarocin. Then, just follow the crowd.
The legend of Jarocin Festival requires no further advertising.