As well as being a great party destination with some of the best nightlife in Europe, Krakow is also known for its wide variety of festivals which take place throughout the year. When thinking about things to do in Krakow, visiting one of the wide varieties of festivals throught the year should be at the top of your list.
Today, Misteria Paschalia is one of the most important European festivals dedicated to early music. The consequently built image, carefully thought out programme and the cohesive idea of presenting music connected to the Holy Week and Easter is performed by acknowledged masters and outstanding interpreters of the historical trend. For the last decade, the festival has been attracting music lovers from across the country, as well as promoting Kraków as a city hosting cultural events on a global scale.
Off Plus Camera
The great event of world cinema has been taking place in Krakow in recent years and is a festival that brings viewers closer to original, intriguing and often difficult to receive pictures, chosen at world film events (among others, festivals in Berlin, Pusan, Venice, Los Angeles, Reykjavik, Rotterdam, Toronto, Dubai and Sundance Festival). The organisers have been able to accomplish the almost impossible – connecting niche cinema with mass interest. The atmosphere is heated by one of the largest money rewards possible to gain at film festivals, intended to finance further productions of the laureate.
Krakow Rugby Festival- the "kracking rugby fest" aka KRF
Krakow Rugby Festival is an annual event taking place every 3rd weekend of June. It gathers international male and female teams from all over the world. Its motto says "the true spirit of rugby, and not only drinking" however there is plenty of beer and beer orientated animation / contest involved ! The level of teams is usually varied from average to very good but during the KRF it's not the skill level which matters the most, but the fun factor. Meet and make new friends, play rugby, drink beer and have fun !
Krakow Live Festival
Live Music Festival started off promoting hip – hop, r’n’b and pop. Yet in the following years, more and more bands have been catering to the tastes of rock fans.
It was the only event to co-feature Rihanna and Lily Allen, Missy Elliot and Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers with 50 Cent or Muse sharing the stage with The Chemical Brothers, Interpol and Kanye West, Editors performing along Q-Tip or White Lies and Kid Cudi. It was Live Music Festival that witnessed Jay-Z, NAS, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, 30 Seconds To Mars, Panic At The Disco, Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen and more performing in Poland for the first time. In 2013, the headliners included Florence and the Machine and Franz Ferdinand.
The first event under the banner of Live Music Festival took place in 2006 on the areas of Wisła football club, while others were staged on the airfield – Aviation Museum. In 2008, 20,000 people watched the concerts, with 30,000 in 2009 40,000 in 2010, 35,000 in 2011, 30,000 in 2012, and over 40,000 in 2013.
The Dragons’ Parade
The Great Parade of Dragons is organized by Theatre Grotesque and is a great dragon festival which takes place in Krakow. As part of the Holy City of Krakow, a colorful parade of dragons marches through the streets of the Old Town, where its characters take part in the Competition for the Most Beautiful Dragon.
Jewish Culture Festival
The Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków is an annual cultural event which has been running since 1988 in the once Jewish district of Kazimierz by the Jewish Culture Festival Society headed by Janusz Makuch, a self-described meshugeneh, fascinated with all things Jewish. The main goal of the festival is to educate people about Jewish culture, history and faith (Judaism) which flourished in Poland before the Holocaust, as well as to familiarize them with modern Jewish culture developing mostly in the United States and Israel, and finally, to provide entertainment.
The Wreaths Festival
Wianki in Krakow is one of the biggest Polish outdoor events, originating from ancient pagan rituals although it has it recently changed its character. The new formula of the event combines the tradition of Midsummer Night with concerts of world format. World renowned artists such as Jamiroquai (2008) and Lenny Kravitz (2009), as well as top representatives of the Polish music scene have already performed on the unique outdoor stage in the bend of the Vistula at the foot of Wawel Mountain. The end of the event is marked with a huge fireworks show, which combined with the rest of the high class entertainment on show it’s no surprise that huge crowds from all around Poland come to Wawel.
The innovative form of Wianki has been acknowledged, among others, in the plebiscite “Night Owls” organised by the monthly newspaper “Aktivist”, while in the study “Tourism in Krakow” created by the association Forum for Poland, it was acknowledged as one of the three most attractive events to take place in Krakow.
Krakow Juwenalia is justifiably called the Great Feast of Students. Within six days of continuous celebration, the students choose the Nicest and Super Student of Cracow. They also march in a colorful procession / fancy dress parade to the Market Square to receive from the Mayor the keys to the gates of the city of Cracow – a symbolic gesture of taking control of the city for the duration of the event.
Juvenalia is a fun and relaxing time for each student. The event is deeply rooted in the tradition of the university and Cracow citizens. During this time, the city is “occupied” by students. Outdoor concerts, cabaret shows, sports games and many other attractions take place to celebrate this holiday. The concerts have attracted a large number of big names over the years, such as White Lies, Guano Apes and Within Temptation to name a few. Of course for those people interested in doing more than just partying Krakow has a number of activities on offer.
The mission of the organizers of the Student’s Day is to spread and promote the culture awarness of students and ensure the safety and comfort for all participants. According to the data provided by the organizers of the Student Culture Festival, the number of participants involved in this event amounts to approximately 8000 students from different Cracow universities.
Materia Prima Festival
Materia Prima is addressed to adult audiences as the Festival of Polish premieres and artists discovered for the Polish audience. Every two years in Krakow there are world-famous theatres, present at international, prestigious festivals, appreciated by audiences around the world and awarded many times.The festival presents surprising and revealing performances, in which the theater combines with a new circus and dance theater, dance intermingles with multimedia, as well as forms of puppet theater, masks and shadows, where actors’ acting often contradicts the principles of physics and where the imagination has no limits. The Festival program consists of attractive, phenomenal performances and perfectly performed performances.