Jarocin: A Free Enclave behind the Iron Curtain

In: East Central Europe
Grzegorz Piotrowski
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Jarocin in Poland is usually associated with one of the biggest rock festivals behind the Iron Curtain. It was not only a birthplace of many music groups in the 1980s, but also an enclave of freedom in communist Poland. It was a place where young people could manifest their music and fashion tastes, listen to their favorite bands and enjoy few days of relative freedom. This article highlights the main events in the history of the festival and also tries to assess its significance for the broader political and cultural life of Poland in the 1980s. It also looks at the role the festival played in the creation of youth subcultures and in catalyzing political changes in “late socialist” Poland.

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