Freetong Players International Theatre Group Freetown from Sierra Leone, photo: press materials
The International Mountain Lands Folklore Festival celebrates the folk culture of highland troupes from Poland, alongside African tribe dance and Argentinian tango. This year marks the 42nd edition of one of the oldest and biggest folklore festivals in the world.

"Folklore bands from Sierra Leone in Africa and Cordoba in Argentina will be the stars of this year's festival", says Andrzej Kawecki, the director of Zakopane's Promotion Office.

This year 12 folklore bands from Turkey, Italy, Serbia, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Portugal, Macedonia, Greece, France, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria will compete for the festival's main prize, "The Golden Shepherd's Axe" ("Złota ciupaga"). These colourful troupes will take the stage of the huge Festival tent, called by the highlanders "the scarfed chamber" ("chuściana izba"). Bands from Poland are selected by the jury at July's Polish Highlanders Folklore Festival in Żywiec.

This year, auditions for the competition will be accompanied by the spectacular Podhale Carriage-Driving Championship, Folklore Workshops, The Carpathian Arc Music Festival and The Folk Note Concert. Children's highland bands will play for the first time, presenting old rites, games and customs interwoven with song, music and dance; the bands were selected during the Tatra Children's Regional Bands Review, called "The Small Festival", in Zakopane.

The First International Mountain Lands Folklore Festival took place in Zakopane in 1968. Originally all the bands competed in one category and only one prize, "The Golden Shepherd's Axe", could be won. Later, after noticing the vast differences between bands, the jury raised the need to reformulate the Festival's regulations. New rules were drawn up and three categories for folklore playing bands were singled out: authentic, artistic adaptation, and stylized forms. A fourth category was introduced in 1975 for bands presenting reconstructed folklore, recreated from literature and archival records. The competition has lasted in this form to the present day.

For details and a full programme, see: www.mffzg.pl

Source: PAP