The fascination of medieval religious music, ancient hymns and the music of plain form, has created the need to organise the Monodic Music Festival. During the Festival you can listen to monodic liturgical singing, including the more and more popular Gregorian Chorale, consisting of arranged synagogal, Syrian, Byzantine and Greek hymns. In the unusual atmosphere of the Cathedral Basilica, excellent performers appear on the stage, including Schola of the Village Theatre "Węgajty" and Dominican Friars' Gregorian Schola from Warsaw. One of the greatest events in the history of the Festival was a concert of Tomasz Stańko from "Bornus Consort" conducted by Marcin Szczyciński which took place in 2001.
Poetical Contest for non-professional poets. The idea of the contest is the activation of Płock's literary environment, confrontation of poetical creativity as well as promotion of Płock's culture. The contest starts in March but the announcement of the results and the awarding ceremony will take place in autumn during the Płock's Poetry Autumn. The fruit of the contest is a volume of the prizewinning poems published every year. Very valuable prizes await the best poets, including the main reward of the Mayor of Płock.
The European Picnic is the open-air mass event organized in order to popularise the idea of European integration among the local community of the city of Płock.
The Picnic is the serial event (in 2003 it will be organized for the fifth time), that has been firmly written down in Płock's cultural calendar. It is an annual festival of the citizens of Płock and its sister cities. The main objective of the event is to inform the local community in a very accessible way of the history, culture and art of the European Union Countries and explain to the citizens the European integration process.
The main organiser of the Picnic is the City Hall of Płock and the co-organisers are Płock Culture and Art Centre, European Information Centre - Mazovian Office of Spatial Planning and Local Development Regional Department in Płock, as well as Regional Centre of European Information in Paweł Włodkowic College. Music groups from Płock's partner cities are being invited to take part in the Picnic. In 2003 we will celebrate the jubilee of 15 years of partnership between Płock and Darmstadt, and that is why during the 5th European Picnic the biggest emphasis will be placed on popularisation of the German culture.
The exceptional significance of the event is proved by the fact that Mr. Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, took the honorable patronage over 4th European Picnic.
From the very beginning, the date of the event was connected with the 9th of May - the Day of Europe. The first European Picnic took place on May 8th, 1999, the second on May 5th - 7th, 2002 (the main attraction of the event was the "Greek Evening"), and the third one on May 11th - 13th, 2001 (the main attraction of the event was the "Balkan Evening" and the performance of the Picnic Star - Kayah). The fourth edition of the Picnic took place on May 17th - 19th, 2002. The main feature of the event was the "Italian Evening" organized together with our Italian partner city - Forli and the Italian Institute of Culture operating in Warsaw. In the framework of the "Italian Evening" lots of interesting events took place, including concerts of Italian music groups, Italian couisine tasting and the performance of the Picnic Star - the group "Tercet czyli Kwartet". The project has a very wide public range - it is directed to all citizens of our city as well as the
representatives of the eight partner cities of Płock - Darmstadt in Germany, Fort Wayne in the USA, Forli in Italy, Mazeikiai in Lithuania, Auxerre in France, Nowopolotsk in Belarus, Balti in Moldova and Loznica in Serbia and Montenegro. The youth, representatives of the artistic environment from foreign partner cities, children, youth, teachers, members of school European clubs, folk ensembles and artistic groups from Płock all take a very active part in the event. The Picnic fulfils its basic objective, which is the popularisation of the European integration idea, by holding numerous concerts of national and foreign artists, European quizzes, European performances of Płock pupils and artistic exhibitions.
In 2002 the Picnic was second biggest open-air event organized in the city (after the International Children's Games Płock 2002); it gathered about 15 000 participants - Płock citizens and guests.
During the event the participants on the Old Market Square are given the information materials promoting the European Union Countries, which are received from the Embassies of these countries. In the city many additional events take place, such as scientific conferences, exhibitions, seminars and European films reviews.
The review was initiated in 1995. The aim of the event is to present the abilities and output of handicapped people, to integrate them with the environment of healthy people, to awake the sensibility to human values and respect for human dignity, to search for the new artistic forms and to inspire them to further work.
It is one of very few occasions for handicapped people to present their diverse forms of artistic activity, like: dancing, singing, poetry, playing instruments; as well as for their instructors to present the effects of their work with handicapped persons.
The intention of the organizers was to make the review a presentation not a competition. Every year a few dozens of artists and groups from all over Poland participate in the event.
Young-Open-Movement-Form /Młody-Otwarty-Ruch-Forma/ (MORF) is a meeting with the art of alternative theatre and with the people creating this theatre. This is not a competition. The purpose of the event is to present the output of Polish theatrical avant-garde and at the same time the confrontation of still active representatives of theatrical movement of the seventies (or initiated on the basis of "young intellectuals theatre's" experiences) with youth theatrical groups, just starting their artistic way.
The "young intellectuals theatres" participating in MORF include the Theatre of the Eight Day from Poznań, or the Actors of the Theatre Cricot 2 from Kraków. The theatres established on the basis of the 2nd Reform of the Theatre are: Travel Office Theatre from Poznań, Cinema Theatre from Michałowice, Wierszalin Society, Theatre from Białystok and amateur theatres of the last, youngest trend: Theatre 44 from Szmocin, Albert Tison's Theatre from Żnin, Wolf's Theatre from Brodnica, and the third Theatre on the Road from Bydgoszcz.
The history of our one-thousand-year-old Płock alternates with the stormy past of Poland. Here, in the chill of our almost 900-year-old Cathedral Basilica and in the walls of the the oldest college in Poland, which is over 800 years old, the memory and strength of the Polish nation are preserved. Płock bells spin out the tales about Mieszko I who built his fortified castle here and about Bolesław Chrobry who built "palatium". Władysław Herman and Bolesław Krzywousty were two Polish rulers, who fell in love with Płock and after death were buried in the basement of Płock Cathedral. From here Maslaw ruled the independent Płock State and King Jagiełło established the main munitions base for his army during the war with Teutonic Knights. The last session of the Parliament of Polish Kingdom was held here. Płock - except Lwów - is the only city which was decorated with "The Brave Cross" by Marshal Józef Piłsudski for the heroic defense during the Polish-Bolshevik war.
During the three-day-long Festival, the past and the present of Płock is presented. Płock's artists participate in numerous festivities, exhibitions, performances and concerts which are held at that time. Colourful processions glide along the streets of the Old Town and on the Tumskie Hill students of archaeology of the Warsaw University present the ancient trades - the manufactures of goldsmith, brazier, saddler, purse maker and others. In the courtyard of Mazovian Dukes' Castle cross-bow tournaments are held and in the scenery of the Vistula River embankment knight's tournaments take place. In 2000, the Płock's Cross-Bow Team won the title of Polish Champion Team, despite having a very hard competition.
The originator of the event was Wacław Milke - the founder and manager of the Scout Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance "Dzieci Płocka" ("Children of Płock").
The idea of the show is the meeting of children, instructors and teachers who love theatre and admire various theatre forms performed by the little actors. During the show the theatre events of the last season can be seen in Płock and the city becomes the capital of the children's theatre in Poland. The atmosphere of improvisation, carefreeness and fun is expressed in "Dziennik" - the journal published by the Youth Cultural Centre - which is created during the show and edited by all participants of the all-Polish "Farce".
The members of the jury are theatrologists, directors, actors and theatre instructors, among others: Wanda Chotomska, Elżbieta JóĽwicka-Piwek, Grzegorz Kwieciński, Tadeusz Bystram, Kazimierz Lewkowski, Leszek Bzdyl, Halina and Jan Machulski.
The mysterious and wonderful world of our ancestors' beliefs are preserved in Polish folklore today.
One of the main folk ceremonies was St. John's Night. During this night people were dancing around bonfires, jumping over them, throwing "holy" herbs into them and singing songs about "the God in a golden wreath, who gives golden grains for crops, dew for meadows and bread for people". The last traces of the "water cult" has been preserved in the tradition of throwing the garlands and herbs into the water to secure people the favour of this element. One of the legends connected with St. John's Night is the tale of the fern's flower. The flower is very difficult to find because it blossoms only in this one night for only few moments, somewhere in the impenetrable wood. The one who finds it becomes happy and rich. To be faithful to our ancestors' traditions, every year on the eve of St. John's Night, people from all over Płock gather in the amphitheatre on the Vistula riverbank to participate in the mystery of St. John's Night. This is the night of dancing, singing,
music and fireworks shows.
Płock's folk ensembles - "Dzieci Płocka" ("Płock's Children"), "Wisła" ("Vistula"), "Masovia" - perform on the amhitheatre's stage every year. ...and when the night covers the amphitheatre and the Tumskie Hill, everyone starts to search for the fern's flower...
From June to August the citizens of Płock have the opportunity to listen to the series of concerts organized within the Summer Music Festival. The principal idea of this undertaking is to create a Płock music scene. The audience is attracted by various music themes: from lively American pieces to the compositions by Chopin and Brahms. Organ concerts in the Cathedral Basilica, concerts of chamber music in the Mazowian Museum as well as music-and-dance performances in the Old Market Square arouse both youth and adults interest.
The festival was organized for the first time in the summer of 2000.
International Electronic Music Festival "Astigmatic" is the only one Central European event presenting such music. Organisers have taken the name "Astigmatic" from the memorable Krzysztof Komeda record of 1965. In this way they want to pay a tribute to this great musician. According to many people "Astigmatic" is the best jazz record. Readers of "Jazz Forum" have recognized it as timeless album. The festival is review of artists and bands, presenting a wide spectrum of electronic music and going beyond typical club music. The entrance at the Festival is free. Festival takes place on the Vistula River beach near Sobótka Lake. On the festival spreads beautiful view from Tumskie Hill.
The first International Electronic Music Festival "Astigmatic" was held on August 1st - 2nd, 2003. This edition was very successful and attracted thousands of club music fans from Poland and abroad. About 20 thousand people visited the festival during the 2-day event. On two festival stages, a big one located on the Vistula River beach and a small one on the courtyard of the Stanisław Małachowski High School, performed many famous artists - legends of electronic music, including: Carl Craig- founder of the legendary Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Jakie Liebzeit - one of the precursors of electronic music of the 60-ies, performing with Burnt Friedman group, Jazzanowa German group - one of the most famous DJ sets in the world. Festival introduced also Polish club music stars, such as Futro and Skalpel groups. Altogether, more than 40 artists performed on both stages. The second stage, located in Stanisław Małachowski High School, featured DJ shows, visual installations and other interesting multimedia
The second Festival edition was held on August 6th - 8th, 2004.
Musicians and visualizers from the whole world took part in the second edition: USA, Canada, Venezuela, Japan, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland. Concerts were given non stop for three days and included such stars like Norman Jay, Glimmer Twins, Maurice Fulton and Murcof. The biggest novelty of this year's event was location of the main stage on the Vistula river at barges moored a few meters from the bank. The stage was equipped with 80 square meters screen, two smaller screens and sound and vision recording equipment. The second stage was located in an after-party tent on the beach and started its activity after performances at the main stage. In the Polish oldest high school - Stanisław Małachowski High School - Moma Film Foundation organised a film festival. The repertoire of Astigmatic Cinema included many projects, representing various domains of audiovisual art. Moma Film co-operates with Ars Electronica festival -
the most important European new media festival. They presented in Płock films that has been lately awarded. The project of French performer Julien Maire - "Demi Pas" was presented in Poland for the first time. It was animated short subject film, live. The film was presented in the Mazovian Museum famous for its art-nouveau exhibition. The main point of film festival was the European premiere of "Maestro"documentary film directed by Josell Ramos. Concerts attracted about 45 thousand people from Poland and abroad. Norman Jay show was admired by almost 20 thousand people.
The Festival, after two editions gained the recognition of the audience and artists from Poland and the whole world. Many favorable opinions confirm the success of the event both in artistic and organisational terms. The branch press recognized Astigmatic as the festival event of the year.
The third edition of the festival will be held on 5th - 7th August, 2005.
Who can resist the charm of Christmas? Traditional Christmas-Eve supper, the scent of Christmas tree, Christmas carols being sung with the family, Płock Cathedral Basilica resound with them every year during the "Płock Caroling". Even though many of us think that the tradition of carols is very old, their origin is not so distant. Many performers were involved in "Płock Caroling" including the choir and orchestra of the National Folk and Dance Ensemble "Mazowsze" ("Mazovia") and folk group "Ziemia Żywiecka" ("Żywiec Region"). Owing to such wonderful artists we have a great opportunity to hear little-known carols as well as the carols which are inseparably connected with the tradition of Polish Christmas.