The small Polish border town of Kostrzyn-nad-Odra its home to the Woodstock Station rock festival. held along a forest road towards a military base on its outskirts, the throbbing roar of guitars beyond the forest can be heard, believing I was in for a night of testosterone-induced aggression. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The promise of a good time at one of Europe’s largest non-profit festivals must be the reason that some 100,000 Germans travel each year across the border to join their Polish neighbors for a weekend of rock, punk and reggae, contributing to the audience of hundreds of thousands that attended this year. I believe that over this weekend people from the two countries make more contact, spiritually and bodily, than any official German-Polish friendship program could ever achieve.
The festival is the brainchild of Polish journalist and social campaigner Jerzy Owsiak, who some say is the second most famous Pole after Pope John Paul II. He initiated the festival to say thank you to those who donated money to his GOCC charity organization for child medical care. Entry to Woodstock Station is free of charge, all staff are volunteers and bands are merely paid expenses and a symbolic fee. Owsiak says he wants to keep the character of the festival non-commercial.