Wooded City Festival. A New Face of the Łasztownia Island
Written by Unity Line   

After a long time, Szczecin will once again host an electronic music festival. Again on Łasztownia, which has been thoroughly upgraded over time. Its renovated wharf gives new opportunities that the organizers will make use of. 

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Boogie Brain legacy 

In the past, what attracted people from other parts of Poland and even from abroad to the city was the Boogie Brain festival. It was special in a sense that it welcomed artists bordering on various styles, mainly electronic music, jazz, and rap and offered fringe events in peculiar environments. For example on the historic concrete ship damaged during a raid in 1945 run aground on the Dąbie lake. The audience was placed on various vessels brought specially for this purpose. After two editions with the main stage in the Kasprowicz Park Amphitheatre, the third took place on Łasztownia, a river island in Szczecin. The cranes and former city slaughterhouse brought unique, industrial vibes to the event.

The next year Boogie Brain moved to nightclubs for financial reasons. It did not stop it from coming in second in the prestigious European Festival Awards contest in the Best Small Festival category beating more than 50 other events. Sadly, the international success did not result in increased sponsorship interest and the next, 2012 edition was the last one in the history of the festival.

Among the numerous performers hosted at Boogie Brain, there were Grzegorz Demiańczuk and Wojtek Tarańczuk from Szczecin, also known as Catz ‘N’ Dogz. Today they are appreciated in the club music circles, which is evident from Resident Advisor's ranking of the best 100 DJs in the world. Apart from making music and live performances, they organize events. Among other things, they are curators of the Wooded City festival. Its only two editions so far took place in Wrocław. This will change starting 2018. ‘Our focus is global but we really wanted a festival in Szczecin,’ said Grzegorz Demiańczuk during a press conference when it was announced that Wooded is moved to Łasztownia. On 23 June, the island will come full circle. It will once again host local and international electronic music.

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New Łasztownia

How has Łasztownia changed since 2010 when Boogie Brain took place there? First of all, the wharf now has a picturesque, over 1000 m long embankment with new paving, benches, street furniture, lighting, and renovated cranosaurus, historic port cranes from 1929. ‘We tried to keep this place special. This is why we restored old features such as post-German slabs and stones on the crest of the wharf, which have been well integrated with the new space,’ said Aleksandra Ciszewska, Deputy Director of the Municipal Services and Environment Department of the Municipal Authority in Szczecin in an interview for gs24.pl.

A new pier connecting Łasztownia and the Grodzka island has been built as well.  When it's warm, it turns into the Summer City Zone, which is used for recreation and relax at the banks of Oder. During the day, the visitors can use umbrellas, wooden beach chairs, hammocks, pillows, and beach balls and at night, there are parties and an outstanding view of the illuminated Chrobry Embankment there.

A new North East Marina was built between the islands. It is a modern facility that is well-grounded in naval traditions of Szczecin. During the opening ceremony, Krzysztof Soska, Vice-President of the city highlighted that the dream of generations of sailors to moor vessels in the heart of the city had come true. The port is directly adjacent to natural sites as it is surrounded by a Natura 2000 area.

New Łasztownia has plenty of culinary venues. You can try Spanish cuisine at Ole Bistro & Tapas or eat in extraordinary surroundings of the renovated Old Slaughterhouse. Additionally, the organizers promised food trucks during the Wooded festival.

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Friends from all over Europe

The exceptional scenery is just one attraction of the Wooded City festival. The industrial location will host two stages and a special fashion and design area. The youngest participants will enjoy a fun zone. The budget of the festival is around 500 thousand złotys, including 160 thousand from the city.

One of the key motifs at Wooded 2018 will be the cooperation with the local people. Creators, promotors, and activists who influence the culture in Szczecin will be involved in the festival through the Szczecin Artists’ Agency. ‘Environment is important to us as well. Many materials we use have been recycled,’ assured Rafał Cały, a co-organizer of the event during the press conference.

‘Szczecin has enormous potential, which has to be put to use. We will invite our friends from all over Europe here and we count on the audience from Germany, Scandinavia, etc. When selecting performers, we use our taste but also take into account the expectations of fans of electronic music from Szczecin. We are also considering a persona from outside of this circle to draw the attention of fans of other styles,’ added Grzegorz Domańczuk.

WOODED CITY 2018 - 23 June, Szczecin, Łasztownia

Performers confirmed so far:

The Dumplings – the brightest electropop duo in Poland. They performed on the greatest festivals in Poland and abroad such as the OFF Festival, Open’er, SXSW, Colours of Ostrava, or Sziget Festival.

Ryan Elliott – an American living in Berlin. His selection has been appreciated all over the world, from Guggenheim Museum, New York to Sonar Festival in Barcelona.

Answer Code Request – a resident of the famous Berghain club in Berlin. His music was produced by Ostgut Ton, MDR, Dolly Deluxe, Monkeytown Records, and more.

Mira – an influencer in the techno zone in eastern Germany, a resident of the KaterBlau and Bar25 clubs in Berlin. She has her own event series in Leipzig.

CANALIA– a collective from Szczecin performing in the famous City Hall/Tanz Bar club where they have been inviting global producers and DJs for years.

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