The first folk music festival in Poland, organized every year since 1991, and one of the most famous in our country. The festival takes place on
the second weekend of December (and lasts for 3–4 days) in the Academic Culture Centre of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin.
This year the festival consists of: concerts including a concert – competition for young and debuting artists ”Open Stage”, post-competition photo exhibition 'Tradition through the lens", virtual folk studio. This year main the main slogan of the festival is 20 years of Polish folk. Polish young and recognized folk groups, which often started their careers at the festival, are presented. Every year the audience of about 3000 people and 200 performers from the region, country and from abroad take part in the event. The aim of the festival is to popularize broadly understood folklore, as well as to present folk music in a form that is attractive to the contemporary audience. Artists working within this kind of music and using current means of expression, create unconstrained and unique interpretations of folk sources. The result is original and modern music which preserves the traditional values of folklore. ”Mikołajki Folkowe” festival offers a possibility to get acquainted with non-commercial music and cultural patterns different from those of the mass culture. The festival aims to break down the barriers between nations and ethnic groups, through familiarizing the listeners with cultural differences and making them accept these. This is the reason for such a variety of artists performing at the festival. Over 2500 artists from more than 25 countries have performed on the festival stages
so far. The educational aspect of the event plays an important role, too. The ”Open Stage” competition, an international contest for young artists searching for inspiration in folk music and judged by a panel of experts, has been organized since 1993. Many folk music groups, currently very well-known, presented their music for the first time before a wider audience on the stage of ”Mikołajki Folkowe”. Moreover, artistic workshops, attended both by audience and performers, provide a chance to participate actively in the festival. The purpose of the workshops is to show how the wealth of folklore may be used today. Due to an interesting and diversified programme and the atmosphere of a ”folk feast,” ”Mikołajki Folkowe” has gained an opinion of an important cultural event, as well one of the most interesting and prestigious festivals of this music in Poland. It has also won a large and dedicated audience from all over the country and from abroad, and in some environments it is even perceived as a cult event. The initiator of the festival is St. Nicholas Orchestra, a well-known folk music group. The
organizers are Maria Curie-Skłodowska University and the Association of Folk Culture Animators.