Peace, love, anti-racism and football at Polish Woodstock

Rafal Pankowski - 07 08 17

Poland’s Civil Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman), Adam Bodnar, kicked the ball to open the “Let’s kick racism out of the stadiums” tournament organised by the anti-fascist NEVER AGAIN Association at this year’s Woodstock Festival Poland.

During the biggest free festival in Europe, held on 3-5 August 2017, representatives of NEVER AGAIN carried out educational activities focusing on the growing problems of bigotry and violence. Several hundred thousand people took part in the festival including many young Poles who travelled from the UK.

The annual Woodstock Festival Poland takes place in Kostrzyn near the Polish-German border and was named after the legendary US festival of 1969, which featured Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin and made cultural history as a symbol of the peace movement.

Performers at this year’s Polish Woodstock festival included New Model Army and Nine Treasures, a Mongolian-Chinese band, which mixes traditional music with punk rock.

During the festival, NEVER AGAIN organised meetings with numerous bands involved with the Music Against Racism campaign, initiated by the late Marcin Kornak, founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

The musicians discussed the anti-racist message in rock music. Woodstock participants also took part in workshops conducted at the NEVER AGAIN info stand where they discussed ways of reacting to hate speech and discrimination.

NEVER AGAIN is HOPE Not Hate’s partner organisation in Poland. Founded in 1996 as an independent group to monitor hate crimes, it publishes an anti-racist magazine. It also conducts educational campaigns such as Music Against Racism and Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has been personally supported by figures such as Barack Obama and, recently, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.


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