OFF Festival is one of the hidden gems in Europe’s ever growing festival scene. Started by Artur Rojek 11 years ago, OFF has become a symbol for both independent emerging artists as well for internationally acclaimed performers who we have a feeling that absolutely love performing there. From today, in one month, the 2017 will start and we are highly looking forward for it!
The festival is held in a beautiful park, Dolina Trzech Stawow (the name meaning The Valley of the Three Ponds), from the Polish city of Katowice. Looking back at last year, the festival attendees had the chance of seeing an impressive number of great live acts from which one would have really a tough choice in selecting the act to attend.
The 2016 edition featured the return of Rachel Goswell (known by most of you as the lead singer of the legendary British shoegaze act, Slowdive) with her supergroup Minor Victories, also, one (especially us, the Nordic mooded people) could attend the outstanding live performance of the Kiasmos duo, consisting of the Icelandic master, Olafur Arnalds and Bloodgroup’s Faroese Janus Rasmussen. Add to that the old school English rock band of Lush or the explosive performance of another Icelandic famous name, Gus Gus and that is already a mouthwatering setup. Another great Nordic act that performed at OFF back in 2016 was the Danish group Liima, known by some of you under their previous project name, Efterklang and one should mention the great concert of the German electronic producer, Pantha du Prince.
We do not even dare to dream about how OFF was in previous years, as we have browsed through the wonderful booklets produced by the festival’s media department in the previous editions, booklets that we have seen at some very dear Berlin friends who have been attending OFF for 6 years in a row now. Just to mention a few of the artists that performed here in the past editions, Mogwai, Caribou, British Sea Power, The National, El Perro del Mar, Thurston Moore, The Stooges, Death in Vegas, My Bloody Valentine, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Jesus and Mary Chain and the list can go on and on…
Oh, did we mention picking the stage? OFF offers one of the most smart setups in Europe’s festivals as it consists of two main stages and two secondary stages. Due to this exceptional idea, most of your “wanted” concerts would have fewer chances to overlap so you have the real possibility of seeing everybody that you want.
So what about going in 2017? The line-up is mouthwatering as usual featuring the wonderful PJ Harvey who is having a huge tour this summer headlining at many famous festivals. Also in the line up, we have Swans, one of the most powerful performances that we have ever seen. We were even lucky to add to our collection the signed setlist of Michael Gira, at the end of the gig that they had back in 2013 in Control Club.
Anna Meredith is also a wonderful addition to the line-up, as we have seen her back in 2015 at her wonderful performance from Le Guess Who Festival, Utrecht, a festival that shares the same values as OFF, a potpourri of genres combining a number of famous musicians with raw talented emerging artists, while also including a good batch of local talent. But anyway, the magic of these festivals, curated by people who really know their music, is the discovery of amazing artists while having a beer and hearing some excellent sounds from the nearby stage.
Getting to Katowice takes a bit of an effort, but the city is totally worth it. A beautiful Central European town, Katowice will also offer a great culinary experience, not to mention the amazing beers that they have there. A selection that is also available at the festival, where you will be able to sample a huge variety of food but also drinks (unlike a lot of festivals that only provide beer). Just check out this outstanding type of Urquell served from the same tap in three different ways and tastes:
How to reach Katowice?
Except the local airport, the closest airports to Katowice are the one in Krakow (71 km away) of the Czech airport of
Ostrava (124 km away). From each one of these one can travel by bus or by train to Katowice. The city is full of good
quality hotels which are also very fair priced, so you should be pretty much content with your accommodation. So, as the name suggests, OFF WE GO to OFF Festival Katowice! And would love to meet some of you there as well! Romania is connected to Poland only via a route between the countries’capitals (LOT Airlines) or with a connecting flight, both from Bucharest (OTP) and Cluj Napoca (CLJ) with WizzAir.