This week, Wroclaw in Poland witnessed the frightening sight of 1,876 guitarists assembling in the city’s market square in an attempt to become the world’s biggest-ever guitar gathering.
The ensemble was part of the city’s fifth annual Thanks Jimi Festival, and the song they attempted was Hey Joe. And while the record hasn’t yet been officially authenticated by the Guinness Book Of Records, we can at least be certain that it would’ve sounded awesome: the current record for the world’s largest guitar orchestra was set in 2006 by the same organisers, when 1,581 played the song in the city centre. Earlier record attempts are available on YouTube or through links here (WARNING: footage features a headless guitar).
Organiser Leszek Cichonski told the press: “With the power of soul anything is possible. This is what Jimi Hendrix claimed 30 years ago, but it is still true.” And we know that 30 years ago Hendrix had been dead for nearly seven years, but whatever – we get his point, loud and clear.
So while our idea of a community get-together is a Nazi-style tombola, an unhygienic car-boot sale, a bitter garden fete - or worse still, a Mayday festival where bearded alcoholic countryfolk battle with sticks - the Poles gather together in their city centres, rocking as hard as they can to celebrate the lives of departed axe legends: undaunted by fashion, factual accuracy and any other concessions to the modern world.
The Polish rock, we don’t. It’s as simple as that.