At the beginning of August, we went on a six days trip and our first stop was a Festival: Pol’and Rock. Formerly known as Woodstock. This is a big three-day free festival. And today I am ready to share my experiences.
On the first of August, we both still had to work, but we booked a blablacar to get there around four in the afternoon. We took our bags, sleeping mats and tent to work to go straight to the meeting point. We were making a six days trip and would be flying back on Tuesday the 7th in the evening, with only cabin luggage. In case you have missed it, I have devoted an article to what I took with me for this six days trip in my backpack. You can read it here.
It took us around 7 hours including 3 stops to get there by car and we arrived around 11 at night at the parking places. We thanked the driver and went on our way in the dark. On our way to the entrance, we found our friends and continued. Part of the group already had made a campsite and we decided to join them. And as this is a free festival, the camping was as well for free on the festival terrain.
We entered and I was in shock. I did not know what to think about the festival and I could not understand why I said yes to going here. 100.000 Drunk people all over the road, willing to hug everyone, struggling to move forward. Sleeping against food trucks, gates next to the garbage. I had set lower expectations because Szymon told me before that the forest was the local toilet for those days, but I did not expect any of this craziness. But I was tired, so maybe everything looks ten times worse then it is.
After an hour we found the campsite and had to set up our tent in the dark and we did not bring any flashlights. Luckily nowadays we have our mobile phones, I was holding the flashlight and Szymon set up the tent. before after thing was done it was already 1 o’clock. I was in a more bad mood, maybe because I was tired, in shock and maybe disbelief that I was there. And no, I am not a princess, as a kid, I always went camping with my parents. I was maybe just not expecting so many drunk people at one time. Szymon persuaded me to still have a short walk over the festival and after we went to bed.
That night I barely slept at all, a lot of people were loud and we had a tree trunk in the middle of our tent. This is a disadvantage of setting up your tent in the middle of the night. Around 5 I finally fell asleep to wake up around half past 7 again (2.5h) because of the sunrise. Szymon was awake too and we went towards the toilets (toitoi/dixies) and the showers. First Szymon used one of the toilets and I hold our stuff and after I went. The toilets were clean and a lot better than expected. Normally, the toilets at festivals are quite disgusting and smelly, these, however, were not. I still had some nightmares of my week of camp with these kinds of toilets. After day three you do not want to use them normally. But here at the festival they get cleaned and empties multiple times per day.
After a successful toilet visit, we headed to the showers/washing places. There are hot showers available, but you need to pay for them (2.50eur/10pln). And we did not want to do that. We headed to the free shower places, where you can have a nice refreshing cold shower. Luckily this was the first day and I thought I did not need a complete shower and I could just wash at the tap. We also took wipes with use for the more private parts so everything could stay fresh and clean. There was a small queue for the taps and free showers, but it went rather fast. For the paid showers, the queue was huge (just to pay and get in) and after you would need to queue again for a shower.
After being fresh/clean again we headed back and have some breakfast at the tent. We bought some bread and jam the day before. We had a quick breakfast put on some clothes and headed out for the day. I was more relaxed and more open-minded to enjoy this new experience. Apparently, I just needed some cold water on my face and a bit of sleep.
There were multiple workshops, most of them in polish but also a few in English. Music was not yet playing because the festival kicks off on Thursday at noon. We started the search for coffee/tea. We found a place but it was already 30 degrees so we took an ice tea and ice coffee and explored more of the terrain by daylight. This was Szymon his sixth time but my first. Here and there we just sat down and chilled.
We had our second breakfast at Hare Krishna, here you can get a full meal for 9pln (around 2.25eur). But there is no choice and they serve every day the same. For us not really a problem and it is more healthy. They serve only vegan food and it is really filling.
We walked a bit more over the festival, but it was starting to get very hot. And I did not bring anything with me to be able to cover my shoulders or head from the sun. Szymon and I decided to look for a cap and maybe a shirt to be better protected. We bought two caps – mine I lost again in Berlin. And I bought a shirt and a belly pouch for my valuables. We hopped quickly back to our tent and on our way, I found a very sad Tiger stuck behind a fence and I had to make a quick picture.
Around the festival, there are multiple camps with sometimes funny names or very nice fences. There was one fence with a closet entrance to Narnia. Or a campsite called: Coorvidolek – which means whore-hole. The visitors of the festival are very creative.
The rest of the day I really enjoyed the festival in my new outfit – which was a really good choice. And no I did not get drunk, I am not drinking any alcohol at all this year and maybe as well next year and Szymon is as well not drinking. We had the full sober experience of the festival. The only thing we needed from time to time after our lack of sleep was a Monster energy drink. I can only say the drinks at the festival have an okay price. We paid 6pln (1.50Eur) for one monster, but for an iced coffee, you pay 10pln (2.50eur). You can also buy big bottles of water – I believe there were around 2pln are Hare Krishna but a small bottle of water at a food truck is 5pln. Sometimes it is better to walk a bit further for a bigger bottle of water.
We visited some concerts, relaxed and enjoyed and we went to bed quite early. But overall it was a very long day, very hot and a very enjoyable day. We walked around 20km over the festival. And yes during the day we moved our tent so no more tree trunk!
The second night we slept great and were ready for the second day of the Festival. We headed again to the showers and I just took one of the free showers – cold water, but a misty spray. I did this just wearing my underwear – which is quite common there. We had Hare Krishna for breakfast, sat a bit with the people from our campsite and headed off again. We visited the supermarket on the terrain. Here you cannot buy any alcohol – but who cares they have ice cream! It was again very warm on Friday and we visited an interview together – unfortunately in polish.
In the afternoon we headed for an hour back to the tent, sat down and had some social time with some people at our campsite. We packed our bags and I put on some leggings. We decided to take a train on Saturday morning early to head to the coast.
We headed to the concert of Judas Priest with the group. A really nice concert, worth seeing and of course singing along with Breaking the Law. We decided to go for one last Hare Krishna meal and again back to the main stage to enjoy still a part of the concert of Arch Enemy.
Around 1 in the night we headed back to the tent to break it down and take our bags. We left our tent with one of our friends and one of the sleeping mats we took with us.
The first evening I regretted that I came, but the next morning this already disappeared. Now back home I wish I could go back. It was a really good experience. Everyone is very relaxed, very normal and the atmosphere is amazing. Dancing with Hare Krishna – the song is still stuck in my head. Bouncing with the rock concerts, doing the workshops. And how amazing it is how safe you can feel on a big festival (300.000 people). Nothing got stolen from our tents, everything is well organized. And on the Friday due to the heat, there were even firetrucks supplying extra refreshing places with water in which people were dancing. What I do regret is not trying out the mudbath- but this will be on my to do list for next year! Then we might even go a bit longer and also head to the beach after. I recommend going to this festival! I have never felt so free and relaxed. I did not mind getting dirty from the sand and in the end when I was at the tent and I needed to pee, I just headed into the forest instead of walking 15min to the nearest toilet.
Have you ever been to Woodstock/Pol’and Rock festival? Or any similar festivals? What was your impression? And if you have never been there would you go?