[Festivals Stories] EtnoKrakow/Crossroads Festival

30 Dec 2021

EtnoKrakow/Crossroads Festival
13 > 22 August 2021
Krakow, Poland


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What the Crossroads Association can surely take pride in is that - though seeing other festivals cancelling one after another since March - not for a second did they doubt that the festival would take place in 2020 - upholding its 22 year tradition. They took on the formula and subtitle OnEarth - OnAir - OnLine, offering various versions in proportion between these fields.

Fortunately they've been able to meet their listeners in person during the open-air concerts as well as the chamber ones. Simultaneously they did not abandon the idea of radio broadcasting and live streaming. This way the chamber concerts with audience limitation of 40 people each, could have been seen by 16 000 more. Alongside other live streams from Strefa club - the Association's all-year-round project - have gained more than 100 000 views. They've broadened their knowledge of the available streaming tools, and they're planning to keep sharing more of the productions online after the pandemic to keep in touch with those of the listeners that are not able to join them in person.

Ironically - during the preparations and and then the festival itself - they could have found half of their team in this group (including the directors) who spent over 40 days in quarantine. With only a few of them left in the field - and the leaders, half of the cameramen and technicians sick at home - they did not give up; carrying everything out according to the plan. Due to quarantine restrictions and borders being closed, the international character of the festival was put into a question - but not for long. It quickly became apparent to them that they were able to propose a very diverse line up, inviting exclusively the artists that are currently living in Poland.

The main theme of the concerts was dialogue - between the musicians, between genres. The festival's chamber stage at Strefa hosted a Syrian composer and multi-instrumentalist Wassim Ibrahim in a project with a Mexican percussion player, Tomas Sanchez. A Moroccan artist, inspired by the music of the Sahara - Mustapha El Boudani - performed with a Polish vocalist Anna Witczak, known from Dikanda. A fusion of flamenco and music from India was introduced by Indialucia with Michał Czachowski at the helm. On the open air stage, Derico Alves Forró Band from Brazil played with the South American grace, and the Sokół Orchestra from Poland - with the Slavic fire and finery. Traditional Persian music was melded with the poetry of Rumi, a Sufi mystic, by the Hamdam Trio from Iran. The evening was closed with a performance of the legendary Kraków formation, Kroke - one of the most outstanding bands on the European world music stages. The final concert was interrupted by a sudden storm, but both the band and audience decided to wait until they were able to carry on. Just like we will wait for the world to get back to normal.

More information: http://www.etnokrakow.pl

(General Editor: Simon Mundy)