Festivals in Bydgoszcz

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  17. Festivals in Bydgoszcz - Festivities and celebrations calendar
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Cultural celebrations, festivals and many different smaller events play a substantial role in Bydgoszcz citizens everyday life. Bydgoszcz has something to offer for all, from students to older people, Poles and foreigners, for those interested in music, cinema or regional culture and cuisine.

Take a look at this list of some of the festivals:

  • Juwenalia – Blokada Łużyka, Bal rzymski

Every year in the middle of May, major universities in Poland hold a big student festival called Juwenalia. Bydgoszcz is no exception to that rule. The biggest universities in the city - UKW, UTP, WSG and the Medical Faculty of UMK have a lot of events, concerts and parties; sometimes they join their forces and work together to bring even bigger parties. Everything is organized by students, who rule the city during this time (they got “the keys to the city” from the Mayor of Bydgoszcz).

The most important event of UKW - Kazimierz Wielki University, is called “Blokada Łużyka” and since a few years ago has been held at the main campus on Chodkiewicza Street. Blokada Łużyka is all about barbecues and picnics with friends whilst listening to the music of local bands and invited stars (expect a lot of reggae, rap and rock music). You can bring your food and your drinks (a looot of beer is recommended), as well as buy food and drink there.

The most famous party organised by UTP - University of Science and Technology - is called “Bal Rzymski”, which means a toga party- a kind of costume party with a Roman theme. People wear togas that night, which are usually made of bed sheets (although costumes are not compulsory). The party takes place at the main campus in Fordon, Kaliskiego 7 Street.

  • Ster na Bydgoszcz

Boaters and sailors from all over the country (and abroad) come to Bydgoszcz during these days. You can really see that everything in Bydgoszcz is focuses around its river! Brda during these times is really crowded, literally full of both small and large boats: it’s something really interesting to see. There are numerous events organized: the main place for the Festival is Mill Island and Rybi Rynek (Fish Market Square), next to the Granaries. Every year there are concerts organized - which is a unique chance to hear and sing some traditional sea shanty songs, which sailors used to sing whilst they were working. Except for that there are pop or rock music stars performing as well. The bottle race on the river is the moment that everyone is waiting for. There are several teams competing, they have to build a boat themselves, usually using plastic bottles or other similar materials (in 2016 there was an Erasmus team competing! Check that out if you’re interested, maybe there’s a chance for you to join it this year!). There is also an official parade on the river with all the boats that came to the city. The biggest sailors festival in the region is something special and very specific to Bydgoszcz and something, that you definitely don’t want to miss.

  • Camerimage -The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography

Every November one of the most important movie festivals in Poland takes place right here in Bydgoszcz. It’s the largest movie festival in the world focusing specifically on cinematographers and their work. That’s why really famous and important people come to Bydgoszcz. If you are interested in the art of cinematography or you work in the film industry, you simply cannot miss this festival, which is already world famous. The festival has been visited by such stars as: David Lynch, Keanu Reeves, Darren Aronofsky, Bryan Adams or Alan Rickman, just to name a few of the hundreds of distinguished filmmakers that have attended the festival.

The festival lasts for over a week and screens around 300 movies in three different locations: the Opera Nova, Multikino (Marszałka Focha 48 Street) and MCK-Kino Orzeł (Marcinkowskiego 12-14 Street). The Opera Nova is the main festival center (Marszałka Focha 5 Street), with 2 screening rooms and rooms for seminars, press and Q&A conferences. Camerimage Market also can be found here.

There are 10 competitions with professional juries with the award of Golden Frog in the main competition. Next to such “obvious” categories as the best international or the best Polish movie, it also has very interesting music videos competition and TV pilots competition, what can be extremely interesting for all TV series fans, as you can see them a long time before official premiere. Every movie has Polish or English (sometimes both if needed) subtitles, so don’t worry if you don’t speak Polish! You will understand every movie easily.

Apart from the movie screenings there are also series of workshops and lectures for students and for everyone interested in cinematography. After each day of screenings there are afterparties in Landschaft Cafe and Mózg Club.

Ticket price list for Opera Nova:

  • Ticket for the first morning screening 10,00 PLN
  • Ticket for the second morning screening 10,00 PLN
  • Ticket for a single regular screening 20,00 PLN
  • One day ticket 70,00 PLN
  • Ticket for workshops 20,00 PLN
  • Ticket for Camerimage Market and exhibitions 20,00 PLN
  • Ticket price list for Multikino and MCK - Orzeł Cinema
  • Ticket for a single screening 10,00 PLN
  • Ticket for workshops and seminars 20,00 PLN

For more detailed info, lineups, guest’s lists, special entry cards go to the official website of Camerimage Festival.

  • Docs Against Gravity

Documentary film festival. Held usually in May in MCK - Miejskie Centrum Kultury (the Municipal Cultural Center, Marcinkowskiego 12 Street). Over the course of one week you can see the best documentaries from all over the world, that premiered the previous year. The Bydgoszcz event is part of a bigger documentary film festival, that is held by the same name in several cities in Poland, which makes it the biggest film festival of its kind in the country and the third most popular documentary film festival in Europe. Film screenings go together with discussion panels which sometimes includes the creator of the movie themself. If you are interested in movies or simply care about the world that you live in, you need to be there!

For the most up-to-. date news check these websites: docsag.pl/en and mck-bydgoszcz.pl.

  • Letnie Pranie Mózgu, Bromberg Calling, Mózg Festival

The best alternative cultural events always happen in Mózg Club! This is the most recognizable Bydgoszcz club in Poland. It’s a home for many, many alternative and cultural events and numerous Polish artists. Among this, there are several festivals I’d like to talk about:

Letnie Pranie Mózgu (we could try to translate it as Summer Brainwash Festival) is a summer cycle of concerts, parties and movie nights. Concerts are held on Fridays and they usually include artists playing alternative electronic music: ambient/techno/minimal/trip hop/dubstep/glitch hop/drum and bass/deep house… and so on, you get the idea. Music goes together with exhibitions and multimedia installations. The entrance fee usually is around 20 PLN (less than 5 EUR!). On Thursdays you can see - for free! - indie movies at the backyard (in front of the entrance to the club). For the line up and more info go here:lpm. mozg.pl/en/. You can also follow the Facebook profile of Mózg Club.

A similar idea follows another event, called Bromberg Calling. It’s a cyclic dance party with the sounds of energetic electronic music. It usually coincides with bank holidays in Poland. Watch out! Sometimes it’s very crowded.

Mózg Festival - International Contemporary Music and Visual Arts Festival. Last year it took place in September. Definitely check it out if you want to get familiar with the newest trends in music, performance and visual arts. The official website of the Festival can be found here.

  • Boski Fest

A very spontaneous and really positive event organised by group of friends in a DIY spirit. What originally was supposed to be a nice birthday party, after few years became a big, three day long festival full of workshops, panel discussions, yoga classes and - of course - music! Every year it’s supported by people thanks to the Polish crowdfunding platform “Polak potrafi” and organizers and volunteers do absolutely everything for free. Now it also gets some funds from the city of Bydgoszcz, which only helps to make it even better and bigger! If you support the festival in any money, you get a ticket which allows you to join Boski Fest. In past evernts, everything took place in July in the forest by the Brda River in Janowo (north-west from the center) in a camping site called “Na szlaku Brdy”.

The 13th-16th of July 2017, Bydgoszcz - Janowo.

For more info follow Facebook profile or official web-page.

  • Rzeka Muzyki (The River of Music)

Cyclic outdoor classical music concerts on the bank of Brda River. Just next to the Opera Nova. Set amongst the beautiful scenery of Brda River, with Mill Island and the Cathedral in the background, you can hear the music which is usually confined to the concert halls. The best way to spend a beautiful and warm summer evening is with good music. Bear in mind that these events are very popular and a lot of people will come (if the weather is good), so arrive earlier (even about an hour before the start) if you want to sit in the amphitheater. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to see it from the boulevards, the pedestrian bridge linking Opera Nova with Mill Island or even from the other bank of the river - which can also be a great experience. Every Sunday (in July and August) at 7 pm.

  • Plum Festival (Święto Śliwki) in Strzelce Dolne

A great opportunity to taste traditional Polish rural cuisine, just on the outskirts of Bydgoszcz. The village called Strzelce Dolne lies in the picturesque Lower Vistula Valley and has great weather conditions for growing plum trees. The speciality of the village are powidła śliwkowe, a kind of plum jam. The Festival of Plums usually takes place in the first weekend of September. If you visit the village at that time you’ll have a chance to see how the jam is produced, taste it and buy it, as well as other traditional dishes. With every year that passes the event is accompanied by more and more attractions. In last years there was a city bus line no. 202 connecting the city (bus stop in Fordon called “Tatrzańskie”) with the village during that special weekend.

Address: Strzelce Dolne 40, Dobrcz

Other festivals that may be interesting for you: Animated Movies Festival “Animocje”(April), Bydgoszcz Opera Festival (April - May) Drums Fusion (June), Bydgoskie Impresje Muzyczne (June/July) and Busker Fest (July).

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