From Where I Sit: Hamilton’s International Perspectives

By Monika Rybak ’18

Before coming to Hamilton I attended a public middle school and high school in Poland, where I moved to from the US when I was nine. Since coming here it was interesting for me to hear what people knew about Poland. After hearing many people’s reactions to the fact that I’m from Poland, I can now narrow down what people know about Poland to three things: pierogi, vodka and Warsaw. But there is so much more to Poland. The great food, the incredible variety of small restaurants and cafés, the historical old parts of Polish cities that take you hundreds of years back. These are just some of the images that form the picture of Poland that I know. Something many people don’t know, and probably would not expect of Poland, are the many music festivals like the Coke Live Festival, the Heineken Open’er Festival and the Orange Warsaw Festival all of which are during the summer. Poland’s music scene is pretty unexciting until the festivals start happening. The summer festivals attract people from all over Poland and other European countries like the Czech Republic, Germany and the UK. The Heineken Open’er Festival in the city of Gdynia on the north coast of Poland is one of the most popular ones because it is in an attractive location and it gets many of the major names in music. Being able to go to the beach during the day and then go to the concerts during the night gives it a truly summery and vacation-like atmosphere. The concerts are spread out over four days and four music stages are set up outside in the area of an old airport. Rock, pop, alternative, indie rock, dance and electronic music all mix and everyone can find something that appeals to them. Some of the major artists who made an appearance at this year’s festival were Pearl Jam, the Black Keys, Jack White, MGMT and Foster the People. The festival also gives Polish artists a chance to promote themselves. Probably most of you have never heard of Misia FF, Dawid Podsiadto or Kamp! an indie rock group, a pop singer and an EDM (electronic dance music) band. The EDM scene has especially become big in Poland. The best part is that you can explore, and maybe find new music that you like, by switching between stages and artists. After listening to a rap concert on the beats stage you can quickly change the setting and atmosphere by going to a rock concert on the main stage and all you have to do is to walk to a different part of the airport field. Although, trying to make it to every concert is impossible. Believe me, I’ve tried. What’s also great is that there is so much more to do than just go to concerts. You can have a good time dancing and laughing with your friends at the silent disco, watching shows on the fashion stage or enjoying movies in the AlterKino tent. The atmosphere is great and the festival gets bigger every year. Even though the Open’er Festival may not be as big or as well-known as let’s say Glastonbury or Coachella, which attract some of the biggest names in music and are among the largest outdoor music festivals in the world, it is still one of the best ones. For me, this is definitely a summer event that I’m most excited about.

“From Where I Sit” is a column dedicated to the international voices of Hamilton’s campus.  If you are an international student and are interested in contributing a column, contact Sarah Rahman (srahman@hamilton.edu).

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