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Ostróda Reggae Festival
Photography by: Sebastian Klebaniuk
Ostróda Reggae Festival with its 18-year history is a leading Polish event celebrating music and culture originating in Jamaica. The festival’s success is proof of the attractiveness and universality of reggae content. The festival has gained a global brand, valued by fans and artists in many places around the world, and gathers international audiences – young people and families with children.
From the small courtyard of the Ostróda castle, through the “White Barracks” to the unique area of the deserted military unit in the city center – “Red Barracks”, the festival has gone a long way over time. Always associated with the beautiful Masurian city, whose name has become synonymous with reggae for many people.
The 2017 edition has gone down in history by the performances of stars. Jamaican Shaggy performed at the festival for the first time. Real reggae legends of Steel Pulse and Big Youth have appeared, as well as modern in the approach to Jamaican matter, The Skints and Dreadzone. Poland was also represented by leading artists such as Mesajah, Tabu, Grubson and Vavamuffin. The best Polish reggae musicians performed together with the occasional Tribute to Bob Marley concert.
DJ / producer performances on the Green stage with many foreign and domestic stars of the genre, as well as smaller stages of Yellow and Jah Love, which successfully complemented the artistic offer of the event, were very popular.
During 4 festival days, over 30 performers appeared on his main stages, Red and Green, and about 20,000 people passed through the festival.
In the building of the Ostróda amphitheater, annual meetings and film screenings were held as part of the University of Reggae. Professor Carolyn Cooper – a journalist, writer, university lecturer and one of the most important characters associated with reggae in Jamaica – honored the event with her presence. There was an exhibition of reggae posters prepared by the Greek curator Maria Papaefstathiou, summarizing the international graphics competition that has been going on for years with thousands of submitted works on account. The official Polish premieres had two feature-length musical documents. Daily dance workshops were held at the pier in Ostróda, and a leading Polish drummer taught African drums. There was a creative activity zone for children and a chillout zone at the festival. Pro-ecological non-governmental organizations were present with their stands. There was also a permanent element of the festival – dozens of food tracks, colorful stalls with food, clothing, art and gadgets.
On the internet, you could follow interviews and press conferences from the festival’s press office. Super Polsat made almost an hour report from Ostróda, broadcast several times on the air of the station. Information about the festival appeared in many nationwide media, such as Onet.pl, Polish Radio Four (the media patron of the event for many years) or Trójka. Enthusiastic reports have appeared in the pages of the world’s largest reggae portal Reggaeville.com, whose journalists again visited the festival. The article about the event was published in Jamaica Gleaner’s largest Jamaican daily.
Almost 50,000 people have already liked the festival’s profile on FB, placing it at the top of national reggae fanpages.
ORF invariably enjoys the reputation of a culture-forming event – not only provides the opportunity to see the main stars of the genre, but also discovers artists unknown in Poland, propagates new phenomena and educates.
For years, the festival has gathered a full cross-section of an audience focused on peaceful coexistence and social awareness, from young people to families with young children, making it a truly family music festival. A police report confirming that there was not a single case of breaking the law during the festival became a media event of last year’s edition.