small, How to Start the Best Music Festival in Europe, 47tnm_23_08_2014_foto_radoslaw_kazmierczak_01.jpg, Main Tent of the Festival Tauron Nowa Muzyka. Photo: Radosław Kaźmierczak
Every summer Poland hosts a plethora of music festivals which take place from May till September. Apart from the huge festivals with pop star-packed line-ups, there is a smaller one that deserves a closer look – one that has been voted The Best Small Festival in Europe 3 times in the last 4 years, was recommend by The Guardian as a must-see, and believe it or not, sells over 10,000 tickets a year while being run by a group of 5 friends. We’re talking about Festival Tauron Nowa Muzyka.
I talked to Anna Kopaniarz, the production manager and head of booking of the Festival Tauron Nowa Muzyka. I caught her during one of her jam-packed days 3 weeks before the beginning of the festival’s 10th edition, right in the middle of a load of infernal paperwork and some unexpected events that forced minor changes to the line-up. Even though she admits to being tired and feeling the rising tension, she never loses her good mood.
‘I half understand these accounting documents in my native Polish whereas I’m forced to deal with a ton of them in English everyday! Gee, it's insane, a crazy adventure but otherwise it’s great… I just wish the weather was nice, this is what really stresses me out every year.’
Since 2006 the festival has grown from a one-day local event into a four-day musical bonanza with huge publicity and thousands of listeners coming from all corners of Europe. The team running the festival was able to find their own niche, somewhere in the middle of the biggest pop festivals and the smaller, more avant-garde oriented ones. Surprisingly, according to Anna, it is not the result of some complicated business calculation:
‘Every one of us in the office has slightly different musical taste so diversity comes naturally. We never had any policy but just presenting to listeners our favourite acts from contemporary alternative / jazz / electronic / dance music and proving that even though these artists may not be on every billboard they still can bring thousands of people to the festival.’
The festival’s stages have hosted stars such as Flying Lotus, Jaga Jazzist, Autechre, DJ Krush, Prefuse 73, Jamie Lidell, Amon Tobin, Battles, and Bonobo, but apart from big names like these the festival presents a huge array of artists that are not yet widely recognised or popular.
‘This is what I personally look for when we prepare the line-up. I’m totally into new things, into being the first one to discover something exciting. This is why we always have some lesser-known projects or even some acts that are just on the beginning of their music journey’.
Moreover, since 2014 the festival’s organisers have asked Wojtek Kucharczyk to curate one of its stages. Wojtek, as the founder of Mik!Musik (one of the most avant-garde electronic record labels in Poland), invites artists who go far beyond the boundaries of music known to humankind.
‘This is the only stage that I’m not at all involved in when it comes to booking artists. I leave it all to Wojtek and the results are captivating. Last year, his stage – Carbon Atlantis – was located in the underground rooms of the museum and people who made the effort to go down there were totally blown away. There was something of a spiritual experience in the music they played there and in the way the music was presented… This year Wojtek broadened his research and invited some artists from Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, therefore our expectations are sky-high’.
Besides, this year’s edition looks very promising in every respect. Magnificent headliners, lots of recently discovered acts and, for the very first time in festival’s history, a large number of up-and-coming Polish artists.
‘This year is amazingly great for Polish acts. We have an unprecedented explosion of creativity, wonderful new electronic music: Rysy, Klaves, We Draw A, Małe Miasta, Cosovel… If you’re not from Poland and you don’t know their music yet just visit our website, listen to their great music and I promise you'll be tempted to come to Katowice and hear them live!’
Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival takes place in Katowice from 20th to 23rd August 2015. The full line-up, artists’ profiles (I bet you don’t know more than half of them so it might come in handy), and all other necessary info can be found at:
Interviewed by Wojciech Oleksiak on 31st July 2015.