About the festival

The Festival is an event which brings together children from various religious and cultural circles. It is an event where – during common fun and games – children become acquainted with the wealth and variety of the tradition of different countries and regions. They learn tolerance of and respect for their age peers’ creeds, cultures, customs and behaviour patterns. The participants in the Festival of the Children of Mountains are Polish and foreign folk ensembles presenting diverse ethnic groups of sub-Carpathian regions as well as mountainous regions of all continents. Altogether there are around 400 participants aged 7-14.
The Festival has a unique formula: 5 foreign ensembles are paired up with 5 Polish ones to form the so-called comrade pairs. Over the 7 Festival days the children live, perform, go on trips, make bonfires, and spend one day in the homes of the Polish comrades. Each pair has its “national day,” during which they are the “star” of the concerts; the ensembles present customs, traditions, handicrafts and dishes of their own regional cuisine. Furthermore, they prepare a special joint programme for the final concert, crafting a new quality out of the various elements of cultures and customs of particular nations. Such a Festival proceeding lets the children find their own communication language thanks to which fears of the other disappear, and the distrust of the strange and obscure – so inherent in every human being – turns into acceptance of cultural, religious and social otherness. As a result, friendship is born and it develops in future contacts.

The Festival has been organised since 1992. In its principles, it refers back to the programme premises of the Festival of the Mountains – a pre-war event originated by the Association of the Mountainous Lands, whose main aim was to preserve the cultural heritage – the cultivation and presentation of the tradition of folk culture and arts of the people inhabiting the sub-Carpathians. Currently, owing to the original programme principles which make the Nowy Sącz Festival stand out from other children’s festivals of a similar nature, it has become an event whose significance reaches far beyond mere preservation and presentation of folk culture.

The 29 editions produced so far have hosted 349 children’s folk ensembles from 67 countries, which means that about 15 000 children have enjoyed the great adventure, made new friends, bringing joy to the inhabitants of the region and tourists, and – most importantly – have fulfilled and passed on the idea of the Festival: CHILDREN’S FRIENDSHIP BUILDS THE PEACE OF THE ADULTS’ WORLD.

As for the audience member experience, the Festival is an extraordinarily colourful extravaganza. The multi-coloured parade down the town streets which takes place on the Festival opening day crowned with the inaugural concert of all the ensembles and a fireworks display in the Nowy Sącz old market square attract thousands of spectators each year. Crowds attend evening concerts on national days as well as the final concert. It is hard to express the emotions aroused by the Festival each year; it’s just an unmissable event. We invite you to come to the FESTIVAL OF THE CHILDREN OF MOUNTAINS – International Festival of Children’s Folk Ensembles in Nowy Sącz.


Programme Principles

The main principle of the Festival is to teach through play, and so the Festival is not competitive. The ensembles’ programmes should be adjusted to the child’s age and interpretive skills, and their foundations should be children’s games and play characteristic of a given region.


The organiser of the FESTIVAL OF THE CHILDREN OF MOUNTAINS – International Festival of Children’s Folk Ensembles is SOKÓŁ Małopolska Culture Centre in Nowy Sącz, a Małopolska Province cultural institution.

They have already been here

349 ensembles from 67 countries around the world have performed in previous editions of the festival.

Rules and regulations

For the media

Basic information about the Festival, media accreditation, and high-resolution photos to be downloaded and used to promote the Festival.