A festival that lives up to the times
In a nutshell, Next Fest Showcase & Conference has managed to feature over a hundred and ten bands and performers along with multiple panels and conferences spread across more than a dozen venues over three days. Following the resounding success of the Spring Break festival, its organisers are back with a brand-new event, acknowledging that tough times call for innovative approaches.
Although such star artists as Igor Herbut, Ralph Kaminski and Nosowska themselves are sufficient reason to attend, the key to the festival's appeal is the community it seeks to foster that will persevere even in the hardest of times.
Let us be honest: recent years have been unkind to music, especially the live type, harmed by such diverse factors as the pandemic, the nearby war, and inflation. As a result, despite being said to have long been revived, the culture industry scrambled to pick up the pieces and catch wind back in its sails. The majority of culture industry people, and especially up-and-coming young talent, face an uphill struggle. Many of them did not get their first real break until the Spring Break festival. That event put a spotlight on promising musicians waiting to be fully discovered. Now, however, the time has come for a whole new deal.
As announced by the organisers, Next Fest will introduce bands and individual artists that are poised to become the next sensation. "It will endorse various ideas and trends, show you the potential of phenomenal music and let you meet the professionals who realise the dreams of budding stars. We make them seen and heard", emphasise the organisers, adding that their aim is to create the best environment for as numerous and as diverse a music community as is possible. All this in a fine concert setting and an amazing atmosphere.
Without a doubt, the programme of the first Next Fest is every bit as impressive as that of the former Spring Break editions. It will feature over 110 bands and performers ranging from young talent to accomplished celebrities. The latter include Nosowska, undeniably one of Poland's most charismatic and boldest vocalists, who will present her new album, and Ralph Kaminski, an artist well on his way to becoming an icon of alternative pop, especially after the smashing success of his fourth and most recent album Bal u Rafała released last year. Nothing less is expected of the intimate solo performance of the LemOn vocalist Igor Herbut, and of swashbuckling Margaret, who has shown on multiple occasions that pop need not make endless concessions.
And there is more: Next Fest will feature such famous Polish alternative scene artists as 1988, a producer who, after a stint with Robert Piernikowski in Syny and another with Brodka, won the Passport of the Polityka weekly for his Ruleta solo; the singer Mrozu, who followed his heart towards mature R&B, soul and funk, and the alt-pop band Sorry Boys with music from their latest release Renaissance. Also in the event's line-up are Jamal, Bartek Królik, Vyspa, Julia Pietrucha, Kamp!, Piotr Zioła and Tomasz Makowiecki. Needless to say, Next Fest would not be complete without a strong presence from members of Poznań's own home-grown artistic scene. And that is a given as the programme features a slew of local projects and performers, among them the fuzz-rock band Izzy, the Black Trees, the female hip-hop duo Córy, the punkhouse madmen of Jeże Oruelińskie, the sentimental Julia Rover, an even more dreamy iteration of Pawlack, and even the black-metal horde In Twilight's Embrace! A total of twenty or so Poznań-based artists will make their appearances. And, last but not least, and not to be missed, expect to see Ciepłe Brejki, Ełmi, Kathia, Kryształy, Maks Łapiński, Mnody, naked relaxing, NOHONO, Szygenda, Yana Couto and Zuta.
The concert venues include Tama, Zamek (Castle) Cultural Centre and Scena na Piętrze (The Stage Upstairs). The event is a three-day musical journey of discovery across sound and space. Due to limited capacity of venues and first-come-first-served admission, the organisers advise arriving early for the most popular events.
Keeping the right balance between music creation and music production, upholding equality between culture and the music industry, maintaining diverse non-discriminatory programmes and ensuring a rich world of music that harmoniously coexists with business are among the challenges, issues and hopes confronting nearly every artist in Poland today. To examine them closely, Next Fest will hold panel discussions and conferences designed as a platform for getting to know one another, sharing knowledge and experiences, analysing trends and networking. The section will kick off with an inaugural panel discussion featuring the band Kwiat Jabłoni whose case demonstrates that taking shortcuts down a beaten path is inferior to choosing one's own route that is more likely to bring the desired success. An equally inspiring meeting featuring Marcin Bąkiewicz (Antyradio), Marcelina Słomian (Radio Nowy Świat), Łukasz Pieter (Radio Zet) and Mariusz Maurycy (Fource.pl) is entitled Can radio still promote artists? Łukasz Kamiński (Gazeta Wyborcza), Tomik Grewiński (Kayax), Krzysztof Dominik (ArtGrupa) and Maciej Pilarczyk (New Chaos Management) will address changes in the Polish music management industry after the fall of communism. "Art's Romance with the Future" in the context of NFT, blockchains, Metaverse and Web 3.0 technology will be discussed by Artur Rawicz (Rozmowy Rawicza), Swiernalis, Rafał Konieczny (Delphy Records) and Bartosz Bilnicki (Influverum).
"We want Next Fest to bring together people and the music that connects them, no matter whether they represent industry or are pursuing their life's passions. The organisers are confident that the time between the concerts of Poland's most fascinating artists during this April weekend in Poznań will be used to generate many ideas and forge many friendships. Spring Break has shown they can be trusted and will surely deliver musical treats this time as well. In short, the event is a definite must-see. So, see you all there!
translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski
Next Fest Showcase & Conference 2023, 20-22 April, passes: PLN 169-229, For more, see: nextfest.pl
© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2023