Appeals for solidarity arrive in the wake of attacks on a Pride march in Białystok along with waves of homophobic rhetoric from the media and politicians.
In the wake of right-wing attacks and a ratcheting up of homophobic sentiment in Polish media, as well as its political, religious and social spheres, local groups such as Brutaż, Oramics and Unsound festival have appealed for support. In addition to the fascist attacks on participants in Białystok's Pride march on July 20th, recent weeks have also seen the right-wing news magazine Gazeta Polska distributing "LGBT-free zone" stickers, while the leader of Poland's ruling Law And Justice party (PiS) has declared LGBTQ+ culture a "threat to Polish identity" ahead of elections due in October.
The scene's reaction, in particular to the attacks on Białystok's Pride march, has proven especially divisive, with techno promoter Revive attracting criticism for taking a supposedly neutral stance on the matter, stating in a now-deleted Facebook post, "Revive wolne od polityki" ("Revive free from politics"), "obiektywna prawda zależy od punktu widzenia" ("objective truth depends on the point of view") and "każdy kij ma dwa końce," a proverb translating roughly to "there are two sides to every story."
Following these events, Łukasz Warna-Wiesławski, a spokesperson for Unsound, provided this statement to Resident Advisor.
As promoters we need to take full responsibility for what we say and do. We're all connected to a broader political world, whether we like it or not. Events in Białystok were reprehensible, but they didn't happen in vacuum. We all try to create a shelter for our guests, but we can't ever forget why we do it. It might be rare for club music to contain words, but politics are in its DNA. The struggle it was born out of is still ongoing, so there's nothing radical or controversial about standing in solidarity with the victims of violence and the underprivileged, especially if you have a platform to speak against violence or hate. We often underestimate how our world is shaped by culture and how much power we have to make it a better place. It's just basic human decency, and it should be a norm.
Revive has since attempted to clarify their statement, saying, "Daily attitude and interest in current LGBT environmental issues is very important to us. These values underpin the culture on which we have grown up, and our post regretted the politicisation of places that should be free of politics. The world of clubs and music was built on the values of tolerance, but we did not want unpleasant events from Białystok and the related divisions into this world."
French electronic artist Kangding Ray has since cancelled a live show as Neon Chambers, a new project with Sigha, which was scheduled to perform at next month's Interior Festival, another event promoted by Revive. Although she has made no public statement on the matter, Avalon Emerson has also been removed from the lineup.
You can find a list of Polish LGBTQ+ groups to support here.
🏳️🌈Please suppport the LGBTQIA community in Poland🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/cRcNEsnXFs— ORAMICS (@Oramicspl) July 25, 2019
Due to comments made on social medias by Revive / Interior Festival that we can not stand behind, Neon Chambers has decided to cancel its Live show at this event, scheduled on the 24th August #interiorfestival #revivefestival— kangding ray (@kangding_ray) July 27, 2019
In the light of recent events in Poland it's more urgent than ever to support the LGBT+ community. We encourage you to come today at 18:30 to the Krakow City Hall at pl. Wszystkich Świętych, so we can show solidarity together. More information here: https://t.co/vCSM3KLCyu— Unsound (@unsound) July 25, 2019
So there's a full fledged ant-lgbt campaign fueled by the government and the church going on in Poland right now and the people behind Revive and Interior festivals release a statement that there's always to sides of the story and the judgment depends on someone's perspective...— łukasz warna-wiesławski (@wrnwslwsk) July 24, 2019
hey @rrose1921— RRRKRTA (@rrrkrta) July 24, 2019
Last Sat a Pride march in Białystok, Poland was attacked by hundreds of nazis. I was beaten up.
Today, the festival you played at (Revive) made an official statement claiming it's "free from politics" and that there's 2 sides to every story... could you react? pic.twitter.com/1OKsQ45jyg
Update: Schacke has announced that he's cancelled his performance at Interior Festival.
Photo credit: Krzysztof Kadziewicz