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Sacrum Profanum Festiwal

Sacrum Profanum bows to no one

2019-09-24
For four weeks, I recorded clips promoting the Sacrum Profanum Festival, playing the role of the anti-coach. The anti-coach is a character I came up with for social media – a total nihilist and a self-absorbed cynic. In other words – quite an unpleasant guy. I thought to myself that if this guy is discouraging enough, then listeners looking for new sounds will feel encouraged to take part in this festival.

For me, the Sacrum Profanum festival is a dream come true for many different reasons. It takes place in Krakow, where I was born, raised and where I returned a few years ago, for better or worse. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted Krakow to abandon its museum character. I wanted the city to forget about Piwnica pod Baranami and Bracka Street, I wanted it to spit on Wyspiański and show the middle finger to the people buried on Skałka. I’m pretty sure that Miłosz would be glad to see such a rebellion… This is a modern festival. It bows to no one, especially not to the past. Instead, it is filled with this rebel energy which I looked for when I was young.

While we’re on the subject of youth, I still remember the time of musical divisions. Depeche Mode fans were at odds with metalheads. Techno culture vehemently opposed guitar music. Punks struggled to gain their own independent identity. The divisions occurred along the fault lines of various circles, but also in our mentalities. I still remember myself, being a 13-year-old metalhead, wondering if I could buy a Fields of the Nephilim tape. I really liked their music (I was thirteen), but the Fields played goth music. Would I be committing an act of apostasy by buying their tape? In other words, would I be a traitor to metal? That’s what I was thinking, together with my entire generation. Today the times have changed – for the better. Thanks to this, we have our Sacrum Profanum, where classical music meets monstrous guitar feedbacks played by Aaron Turner of Isis fame, and the flock of Holy Presence cellists stand in opposition to Lithuanian minimalism, whatever that is.

In culture, I’m interested in new phenomena. These words may sound weird spoken by an old metalhead, but they’re honest and carefully selected, word by word. Once upon a time, metal was a dangerous novelty, which grew old – just like we did. The world of sound is a true cosmos, and exploring it brings great joy, as you feel a bit like an archaeologist, and a bit like an alchemist. I’m just happy when I stumble upon sounds that seem incredible, radically different from everything I've heard before. As the years go by, this kind of experience becomes more and more difficult to come by, but the Sacrum Profanum Festival proves that it is still possible, especially since the organisers often commission the invited artists to create something new.
I saved the most important thing for the end. I always understood culture as a challenge and a dangerous adventure. I hate books that “read well”, films that are “great to watch” and all I have in my heart for “catchy music” is disdain. I want war. I want to have to make an effort. For me, this effort is nothing but a key to the door to adventure and mystery. And that is why I really appreciate this esotericism, this weirdness and this sonic cruelty announced in the programme of the festival in Krakow. So, I absolutely encourage you to take part in the Sacrum Profanum festival. Not as Łukasz, the anti-coach. Just as Łukasz.

Łukasz Orbitowski for the Sacrum Profanum Festival