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Jarocin, Rock for Freedom

  • Poland
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There was no place like this on Eastern European map, in the Communist Block.
JAROCIN – a small town in Greater Poland becomes a symbol of independence, rebellion and freedom in a system of oppression. And it was all thanks to rock music.
Before 1989 Poland was a country ruled by communism and censorship. The country was steeped in economic crisis, food was limited and issued in exchange for “coupons”. Polish citizens were becoming increasingly dissatisfied and frustrated. The Solidarity movement is born and after one and a half year is forcefully disbanded by the military junta which instated martial law. The streets are overrun by fighting with the militia – workers and students are dying in the streets.
In this world, like an island in a sea of communist absurdity, emerges the Jarocin Festival – and the stand of Freedom and normality. Party officials in Warsaw initially fail to notice the phenomenon; no one in the capital even knew where this town with a population of 20 thousand was. All the while, several thousand rebellious young people gathered each year in Jarocin to listen to music played and created by their peers. That music becomes the voice of a generation of Poles dissatisfied with their contemporary reality, and it pushes them to action. For more and more musicians, rock is a catalyst for creating art of rebellion and liberation from the shackles of totalitarian absurdity. The cry of freedom echoes throughout the country and beyond its borders.




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