Pol’and’Rock Festival (Woodstock Festival Poland)

Pol’and’Rock Festival (Woodstock Festival Poland)
Photo: polandrockfestival.pl
Pol’and’Rock Festival, formerly known as Woodstock Festival Poland (Przystanek Woodstock, literally translated as “Woodstock Station”) is an annual three-day music festival held in the Polish town of Kostrzyn nad Odrą. Founded in 1995, it has since become one of Poland’s major music events.

Woodstock Festival Poland was inspired by and named after the famous Woodstock Music & Art Fair, informally known as the Woodstock Festival. The original festival was held on a dairy farm in New York state from August 15 to 18, 1969. It had an impressive line-up of talented performers, including Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, The Who, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, and others. Although a one-time event, it has inspired many music promoters to create similar open-air festivals.

Woodstock Festival Poland was launched in 1995 by the Greatest Orchestra of Christmas Charity (GOCC) and its founder, Polish journalist and social campaigner Jerzy Owsiak. The GOCC is Poland’s biggest non-governmental, non-profit, charity organization that focuses on health care.

The first Woodstock Festival Poland was held on July 15–16, 1995 in Czymanowo. It featured mainly Polish performers. The festival had been moved to several locations in the following years before finding a permanent home in Kostrzyn nad Odrą in 2004. In 2018, the organizers had to rename it Pol’and’Rock Festival due to legal reasons.

Like its famous prototype, Pol’and’Rock Festival was originally a rock festival. Although still mainly focused on rock, it has grown to embrace other genres and styles, including punk rock, heavy metal, rapcore, reggae, folk music, EDM, and even classical music. The festival has several stages (Main Stage, Second Stage, Viva Kultura Tent Stage) that host live performances almost all day long. Each edition of Pol’and’Rock Festival has featured both Polish and international artists and bands. Foreign bands that have performed at the festival include Papa Roach, Guano Apes, The Prodigy, Sabaton, and many others.

Along with the concerts, the program of the festival features many other events. One of the festival’s main highlights is the Academy of the Finest Arts (AFA) designed to bring arts as close as possible to the audience. AFA hosts various workshops, thematic camps and villages, special projects, and meetings with artists, political and religious leaders, journalists and other people who have something to share with the audience. The Hari Krishna movement commonly participates in the festival and hosts yoga classes, meditation sessions and an Indian food cafeteria.

Pol’and’Rock Festival is a free event that attracts more than 750,000 attendees from all over Poland and abroad every year. According to the organizers, it is the biggest open-air festival in Europe.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pol’and’Rock Festival

Photo: Lukasz Zajac



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