The first International Małopolska Folklore Festival took place between 2nd and 6th July 2014 in Myślenice, Wygiełzów and Miechów (Poland). It was comprised of performances by over 300 folk artists from 10 countries of the world.
Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, the CzechRepublic, Georgia, Poland, Mexico, Romania, Taiwan and Ukraine. They were seen by a few thousand people.
This was a genuine celebration of international folklore: folk dances, songs and music. The performances were at a high level of artistry: they included spectacular choreography and display of beautiful folk costumes. The audience’s hearts were captured especially by performances of the groups Tlaolini from Mexico and Kelaptari from Georgia. The latter group presented a spectacular war dance shejiori which required from the performers many years of training and a lot of bravery.
The International Małopolska Folklore Festival was both a great musical and dance spectacle and a great cultural event. It included such events as “Taste the World” in which all the participating groups prepared and served the food characteristic of their local, folk cuisine, for example, sweet eggs Taiwanese style, Czech poppyseed loafs with coconuts, Mexican chocolate-and-chili-coated chicken. Everybody who appeared at the yard of Małopolska School of Hospitality could taste these dishes. The Festival climaxed when the procession of folk dancers and musicians made its way through the streets of Myślenice. In the open dance party which followed there over one thousand people participated: the Festival performers, guests, tourists and inhabitants of the town. One of them was Mr. Marek Sowa, the Head of Małopolska Province Administration, who was carried away to dance by beautiful Mexican girls.
The first International Małopolska Folklore Festival (2014) initiates a series of such events to happen in the future. To quote from the address closing the Festival by Mr. Marek Sowa, the Head of Małopolska Province Administration: “no doubt we do not finish but begin the tradition of fantastic meetings with international folklore here in Małopolska. Therefore I do not say ‘goodbye’ but ‘see you again.’” The real heroes were the volunteers who worked hard all days long till late in the evening on organization of our Festival to make it successful. To quote Mr. Piotr Szewczyk, the Director of the Festival: “this was indeed a double festival: the performances on stage and the volunteers’ work, without whom our success would not be possible.” We are grateful for their hard work and enthusiasm.
The closing ceremony of the Festival was not only spectacular but also strongly emotional. Through their common stay at Małopolska School of Hospitality both the performers and the organizers became close to one another and the moments of the groups’ departure was very moving and difficult.
The event included also a Miss and Mr. contest, organized together with the daily Dziennik Polski. The winners were a pair of dancers from Georgia, Shota and Mariam. They were very happy to obtain this prize, that the people who did not know them voted for them. They treated this distinction as important for their group and their country Georgia. And Armando Ayala from the Mexican group Tlaolini received a special prize for the greatest personality of the Festival. His magnificent charisma, frankness and optimism made him generally liked by the Festival participants and volunteer-organizers.
The Festival was widely reported in media: in both the region of Małopolska and in all Poland. As promised by the Head of the Małopolska Province Administration it will have its second edition in 2015.