Sounds of the North

The "Festival of Music inspired by Folklore – Sounds of the North" (Poland) was initiated in the 1970ies as a review of Cashubian folk bands, which in time widened its reach to folk bands from Northern Poland and finally – to representatives of the Baltic countries. In the 1990ies, it was entitled Northern Folk's Festival and since 1999, it has been organized as Sounds of the North.

  • What is the project about?
    The festival presents most outstanding artists, the representatives of musical tradition of the Baltic Sea – varied in style and interchangeably defining particular cultural idioms. In fact, renaissance of the contemporary "folk" music is closely connected with the need of finding one's own roots, reviving of the sources and strengthening regional and national individuality.

     Sounds of the North 2014
    © Sounds of the North
    Over the years, the festival's stage has become a place for artists, especially musicians and activities that are inspired by musical roots of their own and other nations’ culture. The organizers have an open attitude in very broad range of performers: beginning with representatives of such exotic nations as Buryats, Yakuts, Chukchees, Karelians, Mordvins, Tuvans and Saami to folk bands from most of the European countries.

    In 2005, Baltic Sea Cultural Centre was invited as an institutional partner to organize the prestigious 26th European Broadcasting Union Folk Festival. This great venture is produced each year at different locations. Gdansk’s edition was considered very successful in terms of organization and artistic values.

    Nowadays, Sounds of the North takes place every two years, charming audience during a few summer evenings with most beautiful fusions of tradition and modernity. It presents original folk performers and professional musicians who have found their inspiration in traditional music, their mot suited instrument and a specific atmosphere. "Inspiration" is an essential word for the festival that invites artists who blend traditional melodies with contemporary music experience to create entirely new sounds and bring folk culture to new artistic life.

  • Who is the target group?

    - folk music fans, folk dancers and musicians
    - inhabitants of the Tri-cities Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot
    - interested tourists in general

    Each year, at the festival there are about 35 to 40 artists represented and about 2000 visitors.

  • Next edition of the project

    The 33th edition of the festival will take place from 14th to 17th July 2016.


"ARS BALTICA is not a bureaucratic construction for political posturing, but a concept that stands for unconventional and committed collaboration in real cooperative projects." (Rainer Haarmann, former ARS BALTICA Coordinator, 1997)

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Key Facts

  • start of the project in 1978 as a Cashubian folk bands review
  • since 1999 organized as Sounds of the North
  • accredited with the ARS BALTICA logo since 2008
  • located at Gdańsk (Poland)
  • countries involved are Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Russia, Poland


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Sounds of the North 2014 © Sounds of the North