Introducing :: Instytut Festival

Words by: Iwona Korzybska, I Voice
Posted: 15/3/18 12:23

Our 'Introducing' series focuses on shining a light on events taking place away from the usual electronic hotspots. This latest edition finds a new Polish festival 'Instytut' taking place, in June 2018, at the breathtaking Citadel of Modlin Fortress—nowadays known as Garnizon Modlin — near Warsaw. Ibiza Voice talked to the promoters to get more insight.

Ibiza Voice - Tell us who first started Instytut, when and where, because you have been doing raves for many years, right?

The history of techno-parties called INSTYTUT dates back to 2000. Myself (Iwona Korzybska) , Joanna Wielkopolan  and Gerhard Derksen – promoters from the agency Groove Control were highly inspired by the Awakenings Festival. So we asked  ourselves: “Why can we not throw a big rave in Warsaw?”

We were already a part of Warsaw’s house and techno movement that started and developed in the early 90s in the clubs like Blue Velvet, Trend, Adria and several secret locations.  After a lot of time searching, finally we discovered and fell in love with a 2000 m2, brutalist building used for scientific research. We thought: “Oh my God, This is IT! That‘s just the spot we‘ve been looking for!” Next we started the negotiations with the scientists who worked there and the director of the building to get permission to throw parties there. 

First we had to introduce the futuristic, computerised music to the scientists (most of them were in their 60's).  It was like two crazy girls with extravagant, colourful outfits, red hair and dreadlocks presenting their passion for music to the academic staff. The support and friendly attitude of the faculty from the outset was certainly a big advantage.  Everyone on both sides kind of had the attitude, "your music is an important part of the culture and so is our science, so let’s try and make this work!"

Let me add that Instytut Energetyki / Energetic Institute has a rich history of scientific research that dates back fifty years, When the resolution of the Council of Ministers commissioned research into energy transmission and its active involvement continues today.

Who are some of the biggest acts you have booked, and how much has the party evolved over the years?

Over the years we’ve booked almost all the techno DJ's we ever dreamed of, but luckily the music keeps on developing and new acts appear. We’ve booked many great  artists starting from Claude Young, Josh Wink, Luke Slater, Chris Liebing, Marcel Dettmann, Johannes Heil, Sam Paganini, Kaiserdisco and legends Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin. 

We started organising the parties in 2000. Each party took place twice a year as the academics that use the building on a daily basis worked all year round on projects like creating artificial storms.

There was a short period where myself and Joanna went on maternity leave but after constant pressure from our loyal following we decided to bring the Instytut raves back.

What are your fondest memories from over the years? Any iconic moments or really proud achievements?

What I actually love about this job is the a fact that the DJ’s who used to play at Instytut, spread the good word and have helped create a reputation taht has spread worldwide. Our hospitality and love that we put into all we do make this rave so special. We do our best to keep this culture as authentic as ever. Our fans - Instytut’s partygoers are a very loyal audience: many ravers that attend our new parties are  “fresh” and come here attracted by Instytut's exciting history, but lots of them participated in all previous parties and started this adventure 16 years ago. So, Instytut is just connecting the generations. 

If you are asking me about the special memories: the first event was very surprising when it comes to atmosphere, because it was our beginning.

And then, I always remember the party with Jeff Mills.  There were a lot of nerves and unexpected hurdles to overcome. Mills's personal experience at the airport, unpleasant comments of the customs officers and his sudden decision not to play, because he was very irritated. It ended with prayers and talks with the manager, Jeff still did not want to play. Meanwhile, the soundsystem went down. A total disaster!  Jeff Mills finally agreed to play: he went to the DJ booth, almost incognito, but then the audience began to cheer. The echo in this building make a lot of noise. Our ravers showed their respect for the artist! And then he played -  a full set and it was obvious as it went on that he began to enjoy himself once he saw how receptive our audience was.

Why start a festival? What gave you the idea, why evolve now?  

Parties in Instytut showed us the growing potential of our project. Last editions were completely “sold-out“. We’ve had to look for bigger venues to continue doing what we do best! And it was our dream to move on, to go to the the next level of organising music events. We came from the underground, we love this music, so we wanted  to think big and do something more. That’s why came up to the idea of creating the festival. 

And what was the idea for it? There are so many festivals now, what did you want to mark out this one as unique and different?

Yes, we do think that our festival is going to be “not just another techno event in Europe.” 

For Festival Information click here

First of all, we found another great location, which is as unique as our energetic institute. We’ve been looking for it for a long time. Fortress Modlin is beautifully located, between 3 rivers, very close to Warsaw with easy connections for transport. The buildings are absolutely beautiful, they keep this historic spirit inside. This place was the light in eyes of Napoleon! And now it’s ours! 

We want to put all our experience into this event, because there is a pretty long rave-history behind us! (laugh) Most important is the fact that our parties are made not only with an Excel-sheet (which is normal for other wannabe-promoters), but also it is made with our hearts. Because our hearts never stopped beating with techno sound! 

Tell us about the venue, because it looks pretty special. Has it been used for any other events? What have you done to it to make it suitable for a rave? What sound systems have you got? 

We are the first promoters to use this special place for a rave. We’ve been looking for such unique location for a long time and here it is! So expect from us the best selection of music, perfect organisation and brilliant sound systems. We have a lot of experience in producing big events, because we produce our events on our own. We‘re gonna show you our girl-power! (laugh) Please remember that our team is mainly girls. And these girls are responsible for both creating the line up and planning the electricity that runs the sound system! 

And about the line-up - what informed it, how did you decide who to book? Does it relate to the events you have been doing for years? How hard to programme is a full festival? What things must you consider?

We always put lots of efforts to create top quality events with great music, with inspiring artists who already are the big players in the techno game, but also giving up and comers a chance to debut on big stages and behind the decks. We never forget about the DJ's and producers from Poland, whose popularity in the world is growing. Most of them release their tracks on record labels worldwide – I mean acts like Jurek Przezdziecki, Jacek Sienkiewicz, Blazej Malinowski, Michal Wolski , Sept,  Concept Of Thrill.

How do the stages work? Each one is themed? Can you talk us through that? 

We’ll present 3 stages: Main, Underground and Rave for the night-time. But please also expect an additional stage dedicated to some Polish techno labels with their artists playing there in the daytime. Artists that have been revealed so far are: Nina Kraviz, Oscar Mulero, Marcel Dettmann, Kobosil, Sigha and Headless Horseman.


There is a visual art component to the festival right? Explain that to us. 

Yes! We do love arts, not only music. That’s why we decided to connect them. We invited some visual artists who will do gigantic installations in the festival site with their works! By the way: Poland is pretty famous for street art and we are truly proud of it! 

What have been the hardest things to overcome when setting this up? What challenges have you faced?

The most difficult was to find a proper location with all the aspects that would fit our requirements. We also had to pretty long discussions with the city government. But we are lucky: they were totally happy about our idea and supported us in many aspects. We are very thankful for that!  

What is partying in Poland like compared to the rest of Europe for anyone who hasn’t been? Do you have a different sound, a different focus on production, or anything like that?

Polish club scene started in the late 80’s just like in England, Spain or Germany. Peak time were certainly the 90’s. In the last years the Polish scene evolved massively: we organise well-known and respected festivals like Unsound or Tauron Nowa Muzyka. Many of our house and techno producers release their records on international (and local) labels, the scene is growing. In each city there is a techno club, where you can dance all night to Polish DJ-s and some International-DJ’s, who also visit our country regularly. In the last weeks we had the possibility to rave in Warsaw to such acts like Miss Kittin, Matthew Jonson, Amelie Lens, Dax J. or Seth Troxler. The most inspiring and influential record labels are definitely Otake Records, Technosoul, SpekuLLa, White Widow Records, MOST or Luzztro Records. 

The most popular genre on the dancefloors here is techno and its sub-genres like dub-techno for example. Polish clubbers prefer darker sounds than the happy house music, which also has its fans of course.  

What tips have you got for anyone coming to the festival and what are you most looking forward to yourself?

We are looking forward to bring back the love and euphoria that has so characterised the regular INSTYTUT-raves! Yes, all the artists claim that the Polish audience is very special: always ready to rave, smiling, never ever bored, totally up-for-it! Our festival is easily accessible: about 40 km from Warsaw. And lots of budget airlines fly into Modlin (the secondary airport, outside Warsaw main city). Warsaw is pretty cheap, offers a wide range of cuisines ( and yes, Warsaw is vegan friendly – our city is the best placed in the world after Berlin and NYC when it comes to vegetarian bars and cafes). 

Warsaw is a green city,  full of great possibilities for sightseeing, with good underground clubs and friendly people.  if you wish to experience the ultimate holiday time and the rave which has all the tapping of a modern event, but with old-skool flavour – please do not hesitate and book your plane.

I am pretty sure that Warsaw is 'The next big thing', the next ultimate clubbing destination for the ravers – especially from Europe. All of you have already experienced London, Berlin or Paris: come on and visit us, you’re gonna love the vibe and come back again and again!

For Festival Information click here

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