This Fall we will meet for the fifth time. Well, officially. To be completely accurate, it’s our sixth encounter. First we’ll warm up at our birthday party, where for two days we’ll be bludgeoned by a band as heavy as a planet’s core, i.e. Ufomammut, as well as by the murderous tunes by Church of Misery. Then there’s the three-day festival proper and the Afterburner. In total, there will be about 30 bands and we haven’t even announced all of them yet.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Soulstone Gathering’s ancient history (not part of the official one yet, but already quite significant) begins in the year is 2014. We find ourselves in a (now defunct) venue in Kraków, called Kot Karola. Three local bands perform for about 70 people on the 18th of September: PurpleHaze Ensemble, Death Swingers, and Sun Dance. They support the Ukrainian bands Ethereal Riffian and Somali Yacht Club. The latter ones are, from then on, our frequent guests. The seed has been sown.
In 2015 we officially became Soulstone Gathering and went full speed ahead. The first warm-up party doubled the attendance from Kot Karola and the festival, taking place in Rotunda, brought 400 people together. A total of 16 bands, proudly representing the Polish stoner scene, and all that is “weird, heavy, and psychedelic”. We’re visited once again by the artists from the East: The Grand Astoria, Somali Yacht Club, and Stoned Jesus.
After the festival, we’ve also began working on one-off shows, outside the festival cycle. We bring down Bone Man, Dead Meadow, Belzebong, Dopelord, or sunnata. We also supported the tribute to the infamous skeleton-building of Kraków, as well as arrange a screening of the “Lo Sound Desert” movie.
The second edition of the festival results in the addition of new phrases to the fans’ vocabulary: “Soulstone Catering” or “High school Prom Gathering”. Due to problems with the Rotunda venue, we had to find a last-minute replacement – a place that looked like a giant canteen, Piast. It did not faze us, nor did it faze you, and we managed to enjoy two days straight of slow riffage. Masters of psychedelic music, such as 1000mods or Mars Red Sky were present. To prevent us from flying to far away, Apey & the Pea and Gorilla Monsoon brought us back to Earth.
From that point on, we’ve sticked to the two-day formula. We’ve also relocated to ZetPeTe. This allowed us to put more effort into the visual aspect of the festival. Yob and My Sleeping Karma were the headlines of the previous edition. Vortex Visual Division graced us with fantastic decorations that, in conjunction with Paweł Kuranda’s artworks, built the atmosphere and help us create a backstory to our Soulstone cycle: The old world has undergone a cataclysm and was completely annihilated. Our heroes, together with us, will have to embark on a cosmic voyage…
What awaits them? You’ll find out soon enough.
So what’s next? We’re extending our reach to areas outside the stoner environment and started our cooperation with the Goa Dupa Festival, where we curate the Life Stage, dedicated to psychedelic and trance-inducing instrumental music. Due to unforeseen weather situation, the event has not taken place last year. But our journey through the swamp (literally!) only strengthened our friendship with the GD/Egodrop collective and we’re awaiting the return of the festival next year. Meanwhile, we’re working on the visual aspect of the Soulstone Gathering three-day event together.
Throughout the last five years, we’ve managed to build a neat festival from scratch. We’d like to believe it doesn’t only build its own brand, but also creates a fantastic community. After all, YOU are Soulstone.
So far, we’ve managed to bring over 10 000 attendees and invite over 170 bands. What’s this year going to be like? Drop by, let’s check it out together.
One thing is for certain – we are preparing something special.