The International Highland Folklore Festival is a vibrant and colorful event held annually in Zakopane, Poland. The festival is devoted to showcasing and preserving the unique culture, music, dance, and traditions of Poland’s highland areas, particularly the Podhale region. The event also includes participation from other mountain cultures around the world, adding an international flavor to the festival.
Established in 1965, the International Highland Folklore Festival is one of the oldest and most important events of its kind in Poland. It has played a significant role in promoting and preserving highlander culture, not only from the Polish Tatra Mountains but also from other highland regions around the world.
The festival usually takes place in August and lasts for about a week. The program includes performances by folk bands and dance groups, exhibitions of traditional handicrafts, parades, and competitions. Particular highlights are the performances of “góralski” music and dance, distinctive to Poland’s highland regions.
Alongside the local performers, groups from other mountainous regions worldwide are invited, fostering an exchange of highland cultures and traditions. In previous years, participants have come from countries like Slovakia, Romania, Colombia, Peru, and Nepal.
The festival takes place at various venues in Zakopane, including open-air stages, cultural centers, and the city’s main street, Krupówki. These venues provide necessary facilities, including seating, stages, and often food and drink vendors offering traditional highland cuisine.
Zakopane, being a popular tourist destination, offers a wide range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and holiday homes. Many accommodations are located within walking distance or a short drive from the festival venues.
How to Get There
Zakopane is well connected to other parts of Poland by road and rail. Regular buses and trains run from Krakow and other major cities. The nearest airports are in Krakow and Katowice.
Once in Zakopane, the town is small enough to navigate on foot. However, local buses and taxis are also readily available. Detailed information about how to reach the festival venues is typically provided on the festival’s official website or program.