Castle Party Poland, by Alan Chapman

Castle Party is one of those hidden gems of a festival, set in the small town of Bolkow in Poland close to the German/Czech border and as you can gather from it’s name the main event is in a castle and as this a Gothic/Industrial festival that seems a fitting place to hold it.

Started back in 1994 in a smaller castle and with a much smaller attendance of 300 people, it has grown over the years to now cater for about 6000 goths/cybers/batcave fans from all over eastern Europe plus a few from a little further afield, a couple of years ago met a couple there from Japan.The bands that played here in the past are like a who’s who of the dark scene they include VNV Nation, Clan of Xymox, Die Krupps, Grendel, Funker Vogt, Leaves Eyes, New Model Army, The Crüxshadows, Suicide Commando. This year was no exception with KMFDM, Front 242, Covenant, Dreadful Shadows, Crematory, and Diary of Dreams being the main bands with plenty of smaller bands from across the region, all worth checking out. On top of that they have been adding performance arts to the line up and small shows in one of the Catholic Churchs in the town.
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Now remember this is a European main land festival so unlike here people in this town welcome the festival, no complaints about noise etc, in fact you can clearly hear the music from the town square. This small town gives itself over the influx of us weird people, you can rent spare rooms from the locals, Mag and me found ourselves renting a living room from this old couple who really looked after us.

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The bars, clubs, shops stay open for the duration so at no point are you left hungry or with nothing to do, after the music has finished in the main arena we found ourselves either at an old cinema converted to club for the weekend or Hacjenda Club listening to the many DJs who have come from across the world to play here, oh plus drink the very good Vodka that Poland has to offer.

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One of the main things you will hear from most who attend this festival is more than just the music (even if that is the common bond we all have), it’s a chance to spend time with friends some you might not have seen since the last time you were here, also to make new ones. With this scene so spread out this is an opportunity that is fully taken advantage of and it’s something that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also this is a time to fully dress up and show off new outfits, so many really make effort to look their best, which, considering everyone spends their days taking photos of each other, plus the locals also get in on the act, everyone wants to look their best. You will find photos from past events all around the town, which can be a shock to find a framed photo of yourself up on a clubs wall.

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If any of you get the chance this is one festival worth checking out and it’s not like it cost loads 35 for 3 days plus 30 to rent a room or there is an amazing camping site with it’s own swimming pool which you will find full of drunken goths in the early hours.

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The only thing left to do is to thank the organizers for putting on such a wonderful festival, and if you want to find out more check out their Web Site

Photos courtesy of Ninaax