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95 f Poznan Positives


Ten years after its inauguration in 2008, Ethno Port Poznan is now one of mainland Europe’s more adventurous festivals, Ken Hunt has the history.


P


oznań is a historic city in west- central Poland in what’s


known as the Wielkopolska or Greater Poland voivodeship (a Polish province). It is a city well supplied with music festivals of varying kinds, and a variety of other cul- tural and commercial conventions and festivals. Over four days in June it becomes home to one of Europe’s most singular music festivals.


The rise of Ethno Port Poznań from its lowly beginnings has been spectacu-


lar. Its very first, low-key and inauspicious edition was held at an out-of-the-way


site in 2008, but it persevered to outgrow its marginalised beginnings, becoming one of Europe’s game-changing roots, folk and world music festivals. It is turn- ing things around in Poland. A series of commemorative CD anthologies bear witness to the festival’s mindset, but barely scratch the surface.


Over the years since 2008 the festival has generated and created its own unique identity and purpose in terms of both national and mainland European festivals. Talk to any Polish musician or journalist operating in the field and, without excep- tion or prompting, they all say Ethno Port


has become Poland’s boldest and most wayward-minded festival champion in its genre frame. Guest musicians from abroad talk fondly of it as a festival they’d like to perform at again. And dreams can come


true at Ethno Port Poznań; despite a gen- eral moratorium on re-booking acts, in 2017 several past attendees performed there again.


Remember that knowing-nod line in Wayne’s World 2: “If you book them they


will come”? The Ethno Port Poznań fanta- sy became reality. Festival director Andrzej Maszewski explains the back- ground:


Photo: Jan Plotowski


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