American Power of Attraction!
This year’s La Folle Journée Festival ended late on Sunday, 28 September! The Festival has been held in Poland since 2010, drawing an ever larger audience, proving that music which is usually associated with the rigid atmosphere of the concert hall can be served in a very attractive way. No wonder, then, that another attendance record was broken this year – more than 37 000 listeners took part in the festival. To be exact, 37 364 listeners and participants of educational events.
This year, the organisers offered the audience a musical journey to America. As we know, the American continent exerts an enormous power of attraction. For this mad weekend, four halls in the building of the National Opera have changed their names to follow the theme of the Festival: Manhattan, Harlem, Hollywood and Wild West. Music also resounded in front of the Opera’s main entrance, in the festival tent, which was called Matrix Hall. This way, listeners on their way to the Opera knew that they were heading in the right direction. The sheer variety of the music from the other side of the Atlantic made it possible for everyone, from beginner to seasoned connoisseur, to find something for themselves. Renata has described the closing concert on Facebook: “The last La Folle Journée concert in the National Opera was excellent. Sinfonia Varsovia played everything from Gershwin to Star Wars and the Pink Panther. A great evening :)”. During the three days of the festival we had the opportunity to hear famous symphonies and concertos, fragments of film soundtracks, hits from famous musicals, minimalist miniatures, jazz standards, and even gospel songs.
This mix of genres and styles was played by some great ensembles – orchestras and vocal and jazz groups, including the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – the National Opera, Crossroads Quartet, Gordon Goodwin Trio and the Hob-beats Percussion Group. There were also some excellent soloists performing in the various halls: Bruce Brubaker, Paul Lay and Abdel Rahman El Bacha. “Thank you to the performers and thank you to those, who made it possible for me to thank the performers!” wrote Wojtek on the La Folle Journée fan page.
As in previous years, the organisers of La Folle Journée paid particular attention to the educational aspects of the event. Thus, the performers included not only famous artists, but also students of music schools from all over Poland. This was a way for them to gain valuable performing experience. The youngest children had an opportunity to embark on their adventure with music at Smykofonia [Toddler Philharmonic] concerts, called Smykofonia in America and Smykofonia Dixieland. On the second day of the festival there was a meeting titled American Music Education as recounted by students and observers. The meeting was organised by the “Music is for Everyone” Foundation. The foyer on the 1st floor was for Meetings with Instruments, during which guests could not only look at instruments, but also play them.
Easy accessibility and low ticket prices were not without relevance to the success of the Festival. By now the Festival’s Facebook profile has nearly 3 000 fans and the competitions in which it was possible to win CDs provided by the www.gigant.pl web store enjoyed enormous popularity. Comments on the profile were enthusiastic, such as this one, by Adam: “Another La Folle Journée behind us… unfortunately! These three days passed much too quickly. One would want more, more! Another load of emotion thanks to wonderful music played by wonderful musicians. I can’t wait for next year’s festival!”.
The organisers of the Festival – the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, C.R.E.A. and the “Musical Gardens” Foundation would like to invite you to the 6th edition of La Folle Journée.
It was our gut feeling, but now we know for sure that this is your Festival. It’s yours. It belongs to our audience. And, as long as you want it, to quote a classic, “the festival will go on to the end of the world and one day beyond”. We hope that you will join us next year!” – with these words Janusz Marynowski, Director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra invited everyone to attend next year’s event.