The 13th edition of Different Sounds, and the 7th under the banner of East of Culture, took place from September 3-6, 2020.

The year 2020 will be remembered as a turning point and an incredibly challenging year for both East of Culture – Different Sounds and the entire community involved in organising, producing, and promoting musical events worldwide. The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic was absolutely unprecedented. In recent years, the global music and concert markets had been experiencing a dynamic boom, and Poland was no exception. Festivals were constantly competing to outdo each other with their formats and programmes. Audiences steadily grew, and over the years, satisfied participants formed something akin to a vibrant festival family. In many ways, 2020 was an entirely different year, but as the organisers of the East of Culture – Different Sounds Festival, we decided that despite numerous challenges, we would not abandon our “festival family” — a large international group of fans and friends of Different Sounds. To stay true to our community and our hearts, we decided to move the festival from June to the very beginning of September.

The festival tent returned to Błonia near the Lublin Castle, where, between 3 and 6 September, it pulsed with four days of diverse and ambitious music. Among the highlights was the encounter with the legendary label Antena Krzyku and artists associated with this esteemed label. (Javva, Daniel Spaleniak, 1984, Hańba!, Izzy and the Black Trees, Trupa Trupa).Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival also showcased a diverse array of bands from across Europe. The prevailing restrictions on travel and mandatory quarantines made it particularly difficult to coordinate the presence of international performers but we succeeded and enjoyed the perfomances of Nubiyan Twist, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Barbara Morgensternas well as the most intriguing musical phenomena from our vibrant domestic alternative scene:Gaijin Blues, MU, William’s Things, Ayoub Houmanna & Nomads Moods, EABS, Bielizna, RAT KRU, Złote Twarze Live Band).

Beyond maintaining the event’s high artistic standards as we do every year, we were particularly committed to offering attendees solace and a semblance of normalcy in a world turned upside down. To that end, we strived to preserve the festival’s familiar format as closely as possible. The festival programme was thus enriched with all the elements that define its identity, while also introducing a new cycle of online musical events. This included streaming concerts by Javva, 1984, and MU, a panel discussion dedicated to the Antena Krzyku label, a discussion on “Why Do We Need Festivals Today?”, and all literary panels.

The festival offered a rich non-musical programme. Film buffs could delve into daily screenings like “A Gentle Creature” by Sergei Loznitsa, “Numbers” by Oleg Sentsov, “Crystal Swan” by Darya Zhuk, and “Censored” by Roman Brovko. Photography enthusiasts were treated to a photography exhibition by Zofia Rydet in the Hartwig Alley. Book lovers could explore an exhibition of Wschodni Express’ book covers and portraits of their authors. Additionally, illustrator Katarzyna Bogucka presented her unique interpretation of the Bauhaus movement in the exhibition “Bauhaus – a school that’s not just for adults”. We could also admire posters and album covers designed by Dawid Ryski.

Festival attendees could also look forward to encounters with writers, poets, and translators, as well as literary premieres. In 2020, the porfolio of Wschodni Express expanded with five new titles: Artem Chekh “District D” (translated by Marek S. Zadura), Mark Liwin “Rivers and Roads” (translated by Olga Świncicka), Siarhiej Prylucki “Patriotyzm dla Opornych” (translated by Bohdan Zadura), “Wszystkie ptaki, co we mnie” – an anthology of Latvian poetry (translated by Olga Wiewióra), and Oleg Sentsov’s “Marketer” (translated by Bohdan Zadura).

Little Different Sounds hosted workshops where we explored the language of music alongside learning to play percussion instruments. Tomasz Drozdek led us on a journey through a collection of unusual instruments, and keeping with tradition, the event culminated in a collaborative song and music video.

The fact that East of Culture – Different Sounds took place in the challenging year of 2020 was widely reported in the media and resonated throughout the music industry. Its ambitious and distinctive programme garnered significant critical acclaim, earning, among other accolades, the title of the “Best Festival of 2020” in the subjective ranking of Gazeta Wyborcza’s music journalist Jarek Szubrycht.


LINE UP 2020