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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Poland, Lesson 18 - National Festival of Polish Song in Opole
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Poland Series at PolishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Polish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 18. National Festival of Polish Song in Opole. In Polish, it’s called Krajowy Festiwal Piosenki Polskiej w Opolu.
In this episode we’ll be talking a little about Polish music, specifically about the Polish music festival that takes place every year in June in Opole, a city that has long been associated with this event. The full name of this festival is the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole. 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of this event.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Throughout its entire history, the festival failed to be held only once, in 1982. What was the reason?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The National Festival of Polish Song in Opole is an initiative by journalists that took place for the first time in 1963. It’s a summary of the artistic season of the Polish music scene. It takes place every June in the Millennium Amphitheater in Opole, which has a capacity of close to 4,000. During the festival, artists perform well-known songs, or piosenka, as well as new pieces of music. Musical debuts and cabaret also take place.
The history of the festival marks many important events. One such event occurred during the 9th edition of the festival, and involved performances by 800 artists, or artysta in Polish. To the surprise of the organizers, more than 100,000 people were interested in buying tickets! In 1996, to meet the needs of the 33rd edition of the festival, Poland's largest TV screen was installed, measuring 6 x 7 meters. Then in 2001, the first open stage was built to accommodate the needs of the 38th festival. Initially, the event lasted for four to six days, but in recent years it has been condensed to just two.
Today, the festival is divided into distinctive parts. Most notable is the Superone concert, in Polish called koncert Superjedynki, which is a review of the achievements of the last season. There is also the Premiere concert, during which songs are premiered by major artists. Kabareton is a part of the festival that's dedicated to cabarets, or in Polish kabaret. In the 80s, when Poland was part of the Soviet Union with strict censorship, such cabarets provided artists with an opportunity to subversively express their anti-Soviet sentiment. Another noticeable part of the festival is the Debuts concert, which, as the name indicates, offers a chance for people to see newly debuting artists.
Many major Polish musicians have performed and made their debuts on the stage of the National Festival of Polish Song, including—Czerwone Gitary, Budka Suflera, Maryla Rodowicz, Czesław Niemen, Stan Borys, Skaldowie, and Anna Jantar. Also, many modern artists such as Enej, Zakopower Doda, Feel, T. Love, and Kasia Kowalska have performed as well.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Throughout its entire history, the festival failed to be held only once, in 1982. What was the reason?
The National Festival of Polish Song in Opole was not held in 1982 because Poland was under martial law at that time, and the government had drastically restricted normal life by imposing military control.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have a similar music festival in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at PolishPod101.com!
See you next time!