Poznań might not have such a busy cultural calendar as Kraków or Warsaw, but there is a good selection of music and film events to keep locals and visitors entertained - and the Malta, Transatlantyk, and Jarocin festivals draw crowds from all around Poland each summer. Here’s a list of the most important annual festivals in Poznań organised by month:
Kaziuk - The Kaziuko Fair is a Vilnius tradition, taking place each year on or near St. Casimir's Day, since the early 17th century. Recently, festivities have spread outside Vilnius, and indeed outside Lithuania. In Poznań, the festival is organised by the Vilnius Enthusiasts Society to honour Polish-Lithuanian history and St. Casimir, crown prince and patron saint of the two nations. Expect music, dance, traditional costumes, food, and plenty of hand-made goods that make lovely souvenirs. www.tmwizw.republika.pl
Made in Chicago - Ah, Chicago - according to all the stats we've heard, the Windy City has the biggest Polish populace of any metro area other than Warsaw. This jazz music festival featuring concerts and workshops is indeed organised in collaboration with the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
Ethno Port - We're always excited when Ethno Port rolls around - the festival means not just music from around the world (and we mean a legitimately diverse selection, with guests from places like Mali, India, and Lebanon), but also visual arts, literature, theatre, dance, and cinema. www.ethnoport.pl
Enter Music Festival - Organised in Poznań’s hip Jeżyce district, this festival offers perfect early-summer relaxation at the Strzeszyńskie Lake with a line-up of Polish artists.
Malta - If there’s one highlight on the local cultural calendar then it has to be the Malta Festival, staged each summer, which has been something of a Poznań institution since its original conception back in 1991 as the International Theatre Festival. When it started, the festival focused on theatre alone, and was promoted as something of a Polish version of the Edinburgh Festival – full of fringe acts performing abstract plays. Fortunately, and in spite of the growing pull towards the mainstream, alternative theatre still plays a huge part in the Malta Festival. On top of that, there’ll be plenty of film screenings, workshops and exhibitions, both at Lake Malta and around venues across town.
Animated Film Festival - Animated films end up on the back-burner of many film festivals, but not this one! Each year, the Animator Festival brings to Poznań a week's worth of screenings, concerts, workshops, and lectures.
Jarocin Music Festival - This festival dates back to the seventies - though the beginnings were humble, the festival has since grown to considerable proportions, with some of Poland’s biggest bands making appearances each year. Get a tent, camp out, and enjoy the summer!
Ligatura - A comic book festival with exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, comic book pitches, and - naturally - the opportunity to shop to your fanboy/fangirl heart's content. www.ligatura.eu
Tzadik - This New Jewish Tradition Festival features a multitude of concerts and films. However, due to recent problems with obtaining funding, the festival’s existence has been threatened - the 2014 and 2016 editions were both called off. Check online to see if it's happening.
Dancing Poznań - This is a week-long contemporary dance workshop, with no restrictions concerning age or level of ability. There's a dizzying array of classes to chose from (admittedly a bit heavy on jazz); apart from dance, there’s also pilates and yoga.
Transatlantyk - Combining concerts and film screenings has really become a thing for summer festivals. Transatlantyk may be only a couple of years old, but it's already drawing some big stars: past guests included Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, and Thomas Struck.
Good Taste Festival - A foodie holiday with an international food fair, culinary shows and workshops, concerts, and competitions.
Flamenco Duende - The cure to the miserably grey Central European autumn, Flamenco Duende is full of sultry, sensual tunes, dynamic dancing, and Spanish temperament. The festival aims to bring the true spirit of the Andalusia Gypsy dance to Polish audiences.
Poznań Baroque - Concerts of masterpieces by Baroque composers in rather fetching locations, such as the Imperial Castle. Ditch the chilly streets and come listen to international artists play the chitarrone, lirone, and arpa doppia.
St. Martin's Day - St. Martin's Feast Day is a holiday that has been celebrated in Poznań since the Medieval times. The festival in its current form has been around since 1994, and involves a colourful parade, pleasant kitsch, and literal tonnes of special pimped-out croissants.
Ice Sculpture Festival - An international winter festival that draws artists from all the Northern countries, and even some that don’t usually get much snow.