Polish, German presidents rock Poland's Woodstock

The Polish and German presidents Thursday joined 150,000 young music fans to launch Poland's wildly popular "Woodstock Station" rock festival on the border with Germany.

Relaxed, wearing no ties and standing on stage in front of the massive audience, Poland's Bronislaw Komorowski and Germany's Joachim Gauck said they were "proud" and "delighted" to launch the 18th edition of the festival in Kostrzyn nad Odra.

Cheering fans, mostly from Poland and Germany, unfurled a massive red-and-white Polish flag at the foot of the stage as the four-day-long event -- one of the largest of its kind in Europe -- kicked off in blazing sunshine with a massive campground on the horizon.

Before the launch, the leaders chatted with young concert-goers at the festival's "Academy of the Finest Arts" workshop which invites different politicians each year for a question period.

This year, youngsters chose to focus on draft legislation, the vestiges of communism, and the two leaders' favourite hobbies and music.

"I want our presence here in front of hundreds of thousands of young Poles and Germans to symbolise our hope and our optimism about the future of our friendship and Polish-German relations," Komorowski said.

"As a German I admire Poles above all for their love of liberty, not only during the war but also during the communist period," Gauck said, deeming Poland the "land of liberty".

"Can I come sit with you and get a photo together?" asked one of the young Poles crammed into a huge tent where the meeting took place.

"If you bring your girlfriend with you, of course!," Komorowski chuckled back.

Launched in 1985, Woodstock Station (Przystanek Woodstock) attracts a wide variety of bands including rock, punk, reggae, funk, folk and metal from Poland and abroad.

This year, kooky British rockers The Darkness are among the headline acts.

The festival is run by Poland's "The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity" (WOSP) which organises a huge charity drive each January to fund medical care for sick children.

By allowing free access to the annual festival the WOSP hopes to thank the tens of thousands of young volunteers that work on its behalf to collect charity funding.

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