Festival Report - Ostroda Reggae Festival 2016
08/13/2016 by Gardy Stein
Day Zero - Czwartek
Thursday, August 11th 2016
Anticipation is rising, artists arriving, preparations in full swing - it's Reggae Festival time again in Ostroda, Poland! While sharing as many festival impressions with you as possible, we will also equip you with a few Polish words and sentences so that, in case you ever make it to this beautiful country, you can take a first step towards its friendly inhabitants. 'Zaczynamy!' - let's go!
Thursday morning, at breakfast: next to our table sits Jarek "Hejen" Hejenkowski, the stage manager. He is in a hurry, ready to leave for soundcheck, and invites us to join him. Reaching the main festival area, we are granted a rare "work-in-progress" view and witness first-hand the enormous efforts of the construction crew. Activity is most dense around the Red Stage (the main stage as of tomorrow), but also stalls and food corners are being set up. Despite a big banner, nothing is to be seen of the Yellow Stage as yet, and as I stroll around inspecting the area, I'm greeted by Walt aka DJ Earthpipe from the UK who will play here Saturday night. Together we take a look at a half-hidden bunker which might have served as an airplane hangar (the whole festival area belonged to the army once), and we agree that this hall would be perfect to hold Dances. Let music take over the theatres of war!
Sun is shining, weather is sweet, so I decide to take a stroll through the city ('miasto'). Some eager festival visitors have already gathered at the gates, waiting for the vast Camping grounds to open - around 10.000 people are expected per day! That's the reason why the festival had to move from an inner city area to its present-day location: Reggae is big in Poland, much more mainstream than, for instance, in Germany. A look at today's schedule confirms this fact, as seven bands from Poland will rock the Amfiteatr located directly at the sea shore. When I reach there around 11am, The Bartenders are about to do their soundcheck. Lead singer Kuba hands me a copy of their hot-off-the-press album Poles Are Movin', and what can be heard on stage sounds promising enough to look forward to their show later tonight.
First things first: after a delicious meal at the recently opened vegetarian restaurant in town, we arrive in time to see Wolni Ludzie who act as openers at 3 pm. Their name means "Free People", and while they perform their second song, the International Declaration of Human Rights flickers over the screen, bearing the distinctive handwriting of VJ Majonez (who already left a lasting impression last year). Maken, one of the festival organizers who seems to know everything, tells me that the 8-headed group on stage won the Reggaeland Contest in Plock this year and can be seen as Polish newcomers. Likewise fresh on the scene is the next band Dobra Sila ("Good Force"), introducing their melodious compositions that somehow remind me of Beres Hammond to the slowly growing crowd.
Announced by moderator Mario Korpol, who leads through the program today, the Freakin Rudeboys seem to be better known - they have fans who even carry a self-made banner with their name through the crowd! More fans gather for the next band: the KoNoPiAnS are on a tour celebrating their 20th anniversary, and already their soundcheck is fun. Lead singer Marcin 'Cozer' Markiewicz is a charismatic person who knows exactly how to commuicate with the people present. During their performance, he masters the threefold challenge of singing, using a megaphone and playing trumpet in the well-composed instrumental harmonies of their songs. The tempo of the music is considerably increased, causing large portions of the audience to move along with the beat - an effective countermeasure against the temparatures that drop to 11 degree Celsius. Brrr! Good thing that The Bartenders keep the speed up, appearing in fine style with black suits and white shirts. They play an infectious mix of what they call Ska-Jazz, and the nine musicians on stage (of which the lady playing keyboard is a special eye-catcher) are a joy to watch and hear.
The sun has set by now, and with Tallib, a younger generation of musicians take over. They start out with a blend of Rap and Raggamuffin, hitting some soft notes in between, and end their show with a variety of well-known riddims (Johnny Be Good is touched as well as The Tide Is High). The last one, Wipeout, even sees the whole place palancing: 'Na prawo!' (to the right), 'Na lewo!' (to the left). Last act on stage is the frenetically cheered Junior Stress. He gets the biggest response so far - hands are up and waving, people sing along and jump to the prevalent Dancehall beat. As seems to be the rule with bands in Poland, the stage is full once more - no act we've seen tonight had less than 6 musicians, and a brass section was part of all of them. The party goes on until well after midnight before the last notes ebb away and we head back to our quarters. 'Do jutro!' - until tomorrow!
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Day One - Piatek
Friday, August 12th 2016
'Dzien dobry!' - Good morning, Ostroda! After an ample breakfast that was consumed along with the excited voices of World Reggae Contest finalists Adahzeh on the next table, Lars and I slowly pick our way to the Amfiteatr to watch the movie "I Am The Gorgon - Bunny 'Striker' Lee and the Roots of Reggae" at 1:30 pm. We get held up at the 'molo' (pier), where, as last year, the Ukku Bit Divas conduct around 50 eager Dancehall dancers to the sound of Beenie's World Dance - as last year!
No time to linger, though, because the doors to the media room are already closing, and quickly we secure a seat to follow director Diggory Kenrick's excursion into the history of Reggae. It's an extensive coverage that belongs to the general education of everyone who considers himself a fan of this music, and names such as Roy Shirley, Slim Smith, Twinkle Brothers, Cornell Campbell, King Tubbys, Johnny Clarke and King Jammys whirr through the air. Space doesn't allow me to go into detail here, but if you want to know about the rise to success of the artists mentioned above or why Tappa Zukie says that Bunny Lee "took him out of the badness and saved his life through music", watch this movie!
Right before the cinema started, the Reggae University hosted a discussion about how to improve Reggae music in Poland, and since we were not there to witness everything that has been said, our polish photographer colleague Bartek Muracki tells us how different opinions were expressed during the meeting, ranging from the position that Reggae music in Poland is doing just fine and should keep its national character to the view that efforts should be made to open more to a global market and intensify international collaborations. Please, can this discussion continue on a worldwide level?
Today continues practically, though. The main stage is calling, and we enter the festival premises where Ras Muhamad is up first at 3:15 pm. He performs alongside the Budapest Riddim Band and is well received by the crowd: "Reggae music has gone global! Look at me, I'm from Indonesia. Can you sing with me? I come from a place called Indonesia, the city of Jakarta..." intones he the well-known Chronixx song. His mum (!) is smilingly skaning along to his music, capturing the festival vibes on her mobile.
With Jafia, Tabu and Damian Syjonfam, three wonderful polish artists are taking turns rocking the growing mass, and the different variations they offer (jazzy, rocky, songwritery Reggae) accompany us on the hunt for food. Decisions are difficult to make, as there are dozens of options to choose from: Kebab, Grill, Burger, Pizza, "Don Makkarone", Croques, Tacos, Vege Bar, Crepes, Frytki and Pierogi (a delicious national dish, something like filled dumplins) compete for our attention. We favour Quesadillas for now, followed by a generous portion of 'lody' (ice cream). 'Smaczny!' - delicious!
While walking around, some fashion highlights catch the attentive observer's eye. Apart from the typical festival mix of colorful tops, baggy pants and - here and there - creative costumes (we come across two piglets, a donkey, a scary black-and-white clown who offers free hugs and a feather-crowned Indian princess), the hip hairstyle for men this season seems to be a dread mullet: shaved sides, short top, dreads at the back. Girls tend to wear floral wreaths in all varieties, and as we pass a group of them, they scream excitedly. Not because of us, though, but because of the mountains of foam spit out by one of Andrzej Czaplinski's machines. Screeching and giggling children (and grown-ups who are still close to their inner child) dive into the inviting mass of white bubbles, a scenery that attracts photographers like honey attracts bees.
Before seeing them flock around the Red Stage once more where Kabaka Pyramid is bound to appear, I take a quick deturn to the Green Stage where Poland's own Violinbwoy holds a session. Slavic chorals and a Dub so heavy in bass that the straw fittings of the ceiling trickle to the ground provide the background to which Wojciech Przysiezny casts his entrancing string music. 'To jest piekne' - this is beautiful!
Taking in a glimpse of King & Krakowski who are up next, a soundsystem show that is enhanced with Jamaican expatriate Jonathan "King" Brown on vocals (man, he comes closer to Buju's voice than even Assassin, and it takes a lot for me to say that!) and Piotr Krakowski, who is not only selector but picks up the trumpet as well. What a vibe! Before it ends, the Red Stage is calling... 'I jestesmy!' - and here we are!
Koro Fyah is the surprise opener for the performance of Kabaka and the Bebble Rockers, and wow, does he do a great job. 'Oczywiscie' (of course), the Pyramid gets the bigger forwards because fans know songs like Warrior, No Capitalist or Well Done, and especially his Rap interlude is well received. "War is a thing we billions are spent on, peace is something they can't make a cent from..." Accurate!
Where to go next? Imagine attractive happenings tugging at you from every cardinal point. North: DJ Feel-X with an open mic session and wicked local talents, South: delicious vegan backstage food, East: Nattali Rize on the Red Stage, West: Green Stage with Micah Shemaiah. I decide to do South first, then West, then East. Micah brings some Original Dread vibes alongside Malik Singledread & Madmajk - what a lucky coincidence that he brought along a stack of the Shalalak vinyl that I've wanted to buy since it was released!
Nattali Rize now... despite having seen her show twice during the last three weeks, I fall for her artistry and the reactions she is able to evoke in her audience, over again. Most impressed is everyone by the speech she delivers in flawless Polish - it touches the hearts deeply if you take an effort to learn the local people's language, even more so when you come with a message of love and peace and empowerment. Kabaka joins her again during the soulful Hold On, and along with the beautiful stage illuminations (the LED screens are arranged horizontally this year, as opposed to last year's vertical set-up) and the soap bubbles floating through the air like feathers, this beautiful festival once more wraps everyone in its magical embrace.
Worthy concluders of the night are the boys of Zjednoczenie Sound System celebrating their 15 years stage anniversary in a crazy party at the Green Stage, and the Maleo Reggae Rockers, another Polish Reggae dinosaur who sings alongside the cajoling voice of Kelvin Grant of Musical Youth. Opting for yet another stroll ('spacer'), we let the Grunwaldzka street take us to our hotel's doorstep. 'Dobry noc' - good night!
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Day Two - Sobota
Saturday, August 13th 2016
Yes, last night was long. Still, I manage to get up in time for the Reggae University. Today, Nattali Rize holds a presentation on Australian Reggae, her words being translated into Polish by Bartosz Wójcik. We learn a lot about the adaption and evolution of Reggae in Australia, didgeridoos and festivals and all. The Melbourne Ska Orchestra, she says, initiated by Nicky Bomba, unites at least 25 people of diverse cultural backgrounds on stage, as Australia is very multi-cultural. Also, Dancehall is more and more present, regular dances and soundsystems being held in most of the bigger cities. Nattali also talks about the struggle of West Papua, one of the lesser known tragedies of present-day world politics (do some research on that!), and her involvement with an initiative called Rise Of The Morning Star. She also mentions one of the many other projects she is active in, an educational program to empower school children by bringing music to distant rural communities, presenting the track People Of The Red Sunset by B-Town Warriors as an outcome. Bartosz mentions that Junior Stress does similar projects for and with Chechnian refugee children - respect to all the betterment you bring, peace warriors!
Change of location: at 3 pm sharp, the main stage program takes off with Naaman. No, I haven't forgotten the accent circonflexe on the second 'a' - this powerful lady is a Polish singer that carries on the torch of female vibes started by Nattali Rize yesterday. After her, the Paraliz Band welcome a hesitant sun. They celebrate their 20th stage jubilee (as did the Konopians on Thursday), and Faustyna, organizer of the kids corner, tells me that they hail from her hometwon Torun, the city where Nikolaus Kopernikus was born.
Before Mesajah starts, we visit the Kontener Studio of DJ Feel-X, a dubplate container studio the DJ and sound engineer called Sebastian initiated last year (there is a dubplate sampler available from his recordings back in 2015). For this edition, he has already recorded local artists like Madmajk, Olaf Bressa, Hopkins and Kompanija Reggae Sound. He is also a sensible addition to the main-stage line-up: every day before the live acts start at 3 pm, he plays an hour warm-up that lures spectators out of their tents and into the music.
Speaking of: the most action-packed performance yet is unfolding in front of our astounded eyes. Ten minutes into his show, Manuel Rengifo Diaz aka Mesajah jumps off stage, over two fences and into the crowd, a nervous security guard at his heels. Singing his was through the mass of people and back on stage, he delivers his infectious tracks and another surprise. Causing a craze of screaming from the audience, Bednarek adds his vibes for one song; after that, the background singers I Grace and the band Riddim Bandits are properly introduced, doing one track on their own. During changeover-break, I secure myself a place in one of the hamacs that were installed between press office and Chillout Strefa. Swinging gently to the backdrop of Pandadread Soundsystem playing at the Green Stage, writing this report is a pleasant task.
Before I sink too deep in relaxation mode, though, the next female artist is calling. At 7:30 pm, Jah9 is announced, and an expectant hush falls over the audience. The singer starts from the off and walks gracefully on stage while singing an intro, accompanied by her band The Dub Treatment and visuals that center around ancient egyptian symbols and the number 9. It's a spiritual experience to see her perform. Not only because her voice covers a wide range from high to low, from soft to powerful and from spherically-dreamy to accurately sharp and present, but also because her enigmatic presence makes people pause, absorb and reflect. It's her year, the year of the nine (as 2+0+1+6 is 9), and she clearly is on the top of things. Next to her own songs, she also does a beautiful Imagine-cover that fits the peaceful sunset-mood and has the audience lift hands and lighters. Only the sudden fierce mosquito-attack interferes with the beauty of the moment, and I take refuge in the big hall of the Green Stage where Tamika is rocking away to a splendid collection of Polish producer K-Jah's finest riddim tracks.
A rumbling in my belly that has nothing to do with the massive bass brings me to the food corner once more. This time I try the fried vegetarian Pierogi with a delicious filling of mushrooms, leek, sweet corn and potato. While enjoying this meal, I observe the scenes around me, and once more I come to realize how much I like the Polish people. So far, there was not one situation where you could sense any serious aggression or even violence. No, everyone is extremely friendly, attentive and - even in a more or less drunken state - very mindful of each other, especially of the children who seem to be all over. Treat others as you want to be treated!
The voice of moderator 27Pablo brings me back to the here and now, and since Katchafire is about to perform, I quickly pick my way to the main stage again. Probably, the five young men who are entering it now had the longest trip to reach Ostroda, as they came all the way from New Zealand. Their performance is powerful, with a heavy focus on drums and percussions, and since they will be on their "Burn It Down" Europe tour for two more weeks, you might even catch them somewhere near you.
For the next hour or so, we leave reason behind, as the notorius Dancehall Masak-Rah is getting ready to set the Green Stage on fire. Their performance was one of my highlights last year, and this time it's not much different. Equipped with an excellent MC-team (27 Pablo and Junior Stress), a competent selector, a "Lady of the fiery drinks" and the sexy dancers of Ukku Bit Divas, this troupe transports pure Dancehall culture - the Polish way! The crowd reacts accordingly, bringing the hall to a boil in no time. Bubbles, bass, booz and bubbling - what a wicked combination!!!
Back to rationality: Alborosie has already started to perform, so we switch over to the main stage once more. He is one of the most exacting artists when it comes to backstage, catering and lodging, I've been told, but his show is amazing and worth the efforts. With the excellent musicians of the Shengen Clan to back him, he rolls like a bulldozer with all his vocal and charismatic force at the audience who has clearly reached its peak in this moment, leaving them breathless and in awe. And since Bednarek worked so well as a surprise guest of Mesajah, Alborosie brings him out again to join in Kingston Town. A lot of artists who performed already and are still around, including Jah9, are among the spectators cheering wildly, and despite the encroaching fatigue, I let myself be swept away by the words, sound and power.
Not much can top the performances we've seen so far today, but Stand High Patrol, a French soundsystem that has meanwhile taken over the Green Stage, lend a shining finish to the day with dub tracks to which a clear-voiced singer and a trumpetist add their skills. Paprika Korps, the Polish band who was supposed to play the final slot on the main stage, were cancelled, and the Eastwest Rockers play a short, dynamic show in their stead. With them, my festival Saturday is over and I head home, even though the Yellow Stage still offers a joint vibration attack by Rise Up! Sound, Good Vibes Familia and others. What a day! What impressions! Make sure you check the photo galleries so generously provided by my dear colleague Lars Silverback...
Today's Polish lesson en bloc:
'tak' - yes
'nie' - no
'prosze' - please
'dziekuje' - thank you
'nie wiem' - I don't know
'(nie) rozumiem' - I (don't) understand
'Szukam...' - I'm looking for...
'Przepraszam!' - Excuse me/ I'm sorry!
'Bardzo dobrze!' - very good
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Day Three - Niedziela
A few cups 'kawa z mlekiem' (coffee with milk), some 'chleb' (bread) and 'ser' (cheese) and a bit of 'owoce' - the solid 'sniadanie' (breakfast) provided and a 'prysznic' (shower) make us fit for the final day of the ORF. After the concert and drum workshop that was happening here yesterday with the band Foliba, Jah9 takes over the pier today for a class of "Yoga On Dub". While Yoga can be considered almost a part of the new, steamers- and incense-flavoured Reggae culture in Kingston, it is quite a novelty to the people here, and the limited places available were booked out minutes after the offer had been put online. Thus, 42 participants have the pleasure to breath, stretch and pose to the certified instructions of the singer, who, after the workshop, is invited as a guest speaker to the Reggae University as well.
At that point, however, we are already on our way to the festival area because the World Reggae Contest is about to take off. At the press office, we meet Chris Salewicz, celebrated music journalist, author and part of the Jury who will decide on the winner. Other Jury members are logged in via the life-stream that's being set up, and since everyone here is a professional in what he or she is doing, everything works out fine and the program starts without delay at 3 pm.
Mario and 27Pablo, imperturbable festival moderators, explain in advance that 81 contestants entered from 31 countries, simmering down to the 5 finalists that fill the backstage area now, eager to perform. Upon Quartiere Coffee fell the hard task to start, and the six men from Italy, the "Italian Reggae Familia", as they call themselves, bravely make the best of their slot. They have a natural feel - lead singer Filippo "Rootman" Fratangeli is a poised, confident performer who might not hit all notes properly, but this roughness adds to the down-to-earth impression they give. Their efforts to include the audience with claps and sing-along are obsolete, however, since only a few early birds are sprinkled in front of the stage.
Their number increases slightly when the next band, Etna Kontrabande, take their turn. Hailing from Poland, they represent what I came to understand as a typical band set-up: nine musicians fill the stage, three alone in the brass section. Of course they start with the bonus of being known to the locals, and the usage of their mothertongue in their lyrics is an authentic expression of their identity, something that I have missed with the previous band. A special feature is their double portion of frontmen: Golas and JaRas dive into a dynamic performance and keep energies high until the last note, interacting perfectly with the rest of the band. During a Ska song, trombonist Moto and guitarist Kruko, who juggles three guitars and a sampler alternately, join in the movement - fire!
The appearance of next band has been anticipated since their arrival in Poland. Adahzeh, the all-female band from Jamaica, has won the hearts of the people here in no time and certainly belong the most-photographed motives of this festival. As expected, their outfits are amazing. Partly responsible fo the design is their manager, who right now walks through the crowd to distribute little Jamaican flags. Not only in looks do they impress, but also in delivery: starting with an ambitious medley that ends in a version of Dennis Brown's Promised Land, they present a mix of their own creations like Critically Low or Island Girl (during which the bass player suddenly makes the splits) and cover songs ranging from Simmer Down over a beautiful rendition of Jah Is My Keeper (Peter Tosh) to a final One Love choir with the people. And, young as they are, they really know how to work the crowd!
Rapha Pico and The Roots Rockers are now taking the stage, announcing to bring Roots Rock Reggae. And this they do! The band which includes Rapha's Dad on bass is great, their instrumental expertise most obvious in the dubwise-parts of the songs. Rapha himself picks up the guitar and joins in, spreading World Wide Love and covering Black Uhuru. Despite the solid delivery and clean vocals, the singer somehow doesn't really seem to connect to the crowd, though. Maybe his current cooperation with local producer K-Jah will bring his music to recognition here, so he can be properly received next time!
By 7 pm, the last finalists are ready to perform: The Dubbeez from Amsterdam! Four musicians on stage start to play a fat beat, while a male and a female voice add some beautiful harmonies from the off. As soon as they enter the stage, Charr and Joanne grab the audience's attention and keep interaction and energy up throughout their show. "Peace, Love and Dub, that's what we stand for!" they announce and introduce us to their music, the most recent of which is available on their EP Dubby.
After their performance, the Jury meets to vote who will be the winner of this year's edition of The World Reggae Contest, and about half an hour later, everyone is back on stage, curious to know who'll receive the trophy. It's The Dubbeez!!! When the decision is announced, the band comes to claim it in a whirl of jumps and screams, shaking hands and posing for pictures. Their joy is infectious, but at this point I'd like to quote Adahzeh who said during their perfomance: "Reggae music is not a competition - we want to big up all the other bands in this contest!" Right on, all five bands are winners!
And since show must go on at the main stage, another winner (of hearts, mainly) gets started: Kamil Bednarek, who has already appeard twice with Masajah and Alborosie, finally gets to do his very own show. The immense chorus of young girl's screams at times threatens to drown the singer's voice, and after two huge confetti-cannons explode their load of blue, silver and gold metallic, I run for cover to the Green Stage. No high-pitched screams here, just low-pitched bass with Germany's iLLBiLLY HiTEC and Austrian's Kinetical, a crucial combination that fits the location perfectly.
Deciding that the time is ripe for a 'piwo' (beer), I pass the heavily beleaguered backstage-bar and grab a glass, adding some of the readily available raspberry syrup that turns the bitter drink instantly into a pinkish cocktail. Thus equipped, I feel as ready as one can get for the upcoming concert of Alaine, Dean Fraser, Tarrus Riley and the Blaksoil Band. Sweet Alaine starts, filling our ears with her unique voice, and
During changeover, I take a glimpse at Radikal Guru and El Fata at the Green Stage. They perform with three musicians, adding trombone, saxophone and trumpet to the already dense sound, and when they play the Imperial March over a heavy bass remix, people go wild. Wildness is also going on at the Roots Trippin stage, on the other end of the festival area, where the Bass Invaders bass-invade the audience. I can't stay longer, though, because Dellé is about to appear on the main stage, and since I've never seen him perform on his own, I don't want to miss a thing.
Wise decision! His performance is a spectacle, the huge stage just enough to house this exceptional artist and his band. Everything is an eye-catcher: from the female trombone-player to the two chubby background singers who look and sound as if they've been directly picked from a church choir to the artist himself. Frank Dellé, one of the three Seeed-frontmen who currently tours for his second solo-album Néo, looks stunning in his dark suit. Accompanied by the producer of the album, Guido Creveiro, on keyboard, Dellé presents his new material in a cleverly rehearsed show that proves him to not only be a singer and songwriter, but an actor and performer as well.
Skipping the end of his show in order not to miss Italy's Paolo Baldini ls. Mellow Mood and Forelock, the Green Stage holds a surprise: next to the above mentioned artists, all five girls of Adahzeh rock the platform there, taking turns with the male MCs to vibe over a riddim and show their dancing skills. Madness! As track after track rolls from the speakers into the ram-packed hangar, ridden by the competent voices of Mellow Mood and Forelock and others, I feel that this right here is as important a contribution to the festival as the big artists on the main stage. Reggae still is, in many corners of the world, an underground culture that will continue to spawn talents by offering exposure, both to the music and to an audience.
Happily exhausted, I take a seat at the backstage bar to write some of these impressions down before they are overlain by new ones. It's a bit surreal - after a day filled with Reggae in all its diversity, there is Bollywood music softly playing here, while groups of people (artists, staff, soundcrews) engage in deep conversation. Before turning to the main stage for the last time today to get a dose of Vavamuffin's music for the way home, I wish to take some time out to express my gratitude for the wonderful experience these last days were. Masterminds behind the festival, Piotr Kolaj and Miroslaw Maken Dzieciolowski have to be mentioned first - without your efforts, none of this would have been possible! An immense THANK YOU to Olivia, Anja and everyone else who took care of the artists (and us), mastering the logistic challenge of who to bring where when. All our amazing colleagues at the press office for the shared space and expert information (without which I'd been so lost so often): Bartek, Szymon, Ania and everyone else... thank you! My gratitude goes out to all the drivers, all those friendly security guards (no irony here!), to Jarek and the stage crew and all the technicians involved for doing such an amazing job, to VJ Majonez once again for the great visual arts, to Andrzej for the foam and bubbles without which the festival would have been half as much fun, to the city of Ostroda for having us and to Reggaeville for sending me out. A big shout-out to my partner-in-crime Lars Silverback and to Jonas from irieites.de who joined us on the battle field on day one. And finally, to all the talented artists and musicians that have charged us with musical bliss we'll be able to feed on during the months ahead, and of course to the wonderful moderators 27Pablo and Mario - dziekuje bardzo!!!
One thing is for sure: whatever I try to put in words for you here is a meagre substitute for the real Ostroda experience, so you should really, really come and see for yourself next time around!