Despite having been around for as little as five years, Spring Break has managed to establish itself as a fixture on the Poznań music scene. Its one-of-a-kind formula, that is unique not only to Poland but also Europe-wide, is to combine an urban festival with a showcase of notable trends from the domestic music scene for industry professionals, i.e. journalists, promoters and managers. Although Spring Break is part of INES (the Innovation Network of European Showcases), which associates some of Europe's largest and most prominent showcase festivals, what sets it apart from other events of its kind is its equal, if not greater emphasis on appealing to local audiences.
With clubs, halls and other concert venues scattered widely throughout the Stare Miasto (Old Town) district, locals have an edge over visiting festival-goers, who may not always know how much time to allow to navigate between the different locations. The use of multiple concert venues is a definite advantage of Spring Break - its only drawback is the distances between them. These pose a challenge to the hundreds of people who arrive in the city every year to satisfy their curiosity about the current developments in domestic music.
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It is undeniable that no event can be truly attractive without big-name headliners. In every edition of Spring Break, the posters have always mainly featured the names of the best-known individual artists or bands. Lately, these have been Artur Rojek, PRO8L3M, Fisz Emade Tworzywo, Dawid Podsiadło and Taco Hemingway. This year, on 25-27 April, the festival will feature Afromental, with a preview of music off his upcoming album, The Dumplings, making a repeat appearance at Spring Break (in only a few years, this once little-known duo has become a well-established headliner), Mela Koteluk, Daria Zawiałow and Sokół.
Make no mistake though, as the small-print line-up includes many equally interesting projects and bands. Electronic duo fans should not miss Coals, XXANAXX and, again, The Dumplings. Rap buffs should not stop at Sokół, as there will be plenty more to choose from in this genre - suffice it to mention the young rap sensation Tuzza, or the legend of Poznań hip-hop, Peja, this time exceptionally accompanied by a live group: RPS Band. Those who prefer the guitar over a beat will have no reason to complain either: this year's Spring Break will give them Trupa Trupa, a Tri-City group just signed by the famous American record label Sub Pop, the local Indie rock star Terrific Sunday, The Saturday Tea: a Warsaw trio spanning psychedelic and guitar pop, as well as cold wave classicists from Bydgoszcz, Variete. Those whose hearts beat for folk will surely be overjoyed to hear Kwiat Jabłoni, Lor, Adam Repucha and Hania Rani, the latter known from the Tęskno duo. Looking to dance into the wee hours of the morning? DJs, groups and individuals, including ABC Przygody, Komitet Obrony Disco, Trzech Muszkieterów, Boarding Pass and Sofomor are unlikely to disappoint.
Spring Break is not all well-known music - it is also about the premieres of completely new projects. This year, this category will include the Provinz Posen project in which musicians from Afro Kolektyw and Muchy will take a crack at century-old Wielkopolska folk. We will also see the Holaki trio of Stanisław, Kuba and Mateusz Holak (Stanisław formed the band Malarze i Żołnierze, while many years later his sons set up Kumka Olik).
Not all of the bands appearing on the city's stages this April will come from Poland. Spring Break is an opportunity for foreign artists to make their names in this country. In collaboration with the Moscow Bol Festival, Spring Break organisers are bringing Intruist, Lucidvox and Ussy. Music Export Ukraine will import the bands Postman and OY Soundsystem. Coming from France through the combined efforts of the French Institute and Le Bureau Export are Apollo Noir, KhadyaK and The Blind Sun. The young Hungarian scene will be represented by Belau, The Devil's Trade and Vera Jonas Experiment, brought to Poznań by Spring Break collaborators from HOTS (Hungarian Oncoming Tunes). The Czechs (of Sound:Czech:Time) have chosen Thom Artway, Zabelov Group and teepee.
2019 is going to be extraordinary: for the first time Spring Break will last four days! On Sunday, 28 April, a special concert will end this year's edition. This free-admission event on Plac Wolności will feature Jerz Igor and the Żywa Akademia Pana Kleksa. As both of these projects cater primarily to children, the Sunday event is set to become a casual family picnic.
Spring Break has changed considerably since 2004: it has gradually spread into more city venues, it has significantly expanded its lecture, discussion and workshop segment, and got over its reluctance to invite major, valuable performers to give repeat appearances. This year's edition builds competently on the well-tested showcase-meets-festival formula. It presents a greater number of lesser known, but nevertheless essential names, with less emphasis on big celebrities who drive sales. Will this prove to be the right approach for the biggest music event in Poznań? Find out as soon as the end of April.
translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski
Enea Spring Break Showcase Festival & Conference, 25-28 April, to learn more, go to: spring-break.pl
© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2019