“ The Heineken Open'er Festival is an anunal music festival which takes place in Gdynia, on the North coast of Poland. „
I wrote a review on this a month or two ago however I had to put it in the wrong category as this festivals product page did not exist however I suggested it to dooyoo and now it does so I want to be the first to write about it. This review has been changed and expanded upon from the first one.. I chose Open'er Music festival which is a rather new music festival in relation to others based in Gdynia, North Poland.
***Choosing this festival***
I myself had never been to Poland and to be honest had no desire to visit there in my lifetime however researching potential festivals to attend in the summer of 2010 me and my friends decided to go to a one overseas for a change and upon looking around stumbled upon this particular one which had won various continent wide awards and to top it off it was roughly £80 cheaper then similar festivals based in the UK.
We booked our tickets through their online website which you then have to print off yourself and exchange for wristbands on the day. Then all we had to do is sit and wait excitably for news of bands being announced over the months. At the time the only band that were confirmed were Pearl Jam a personal favourite of mine and looking back at previous years line ups we expected alot.
I was pre warned however that taste's in music are slightly different in Poland and that the festival itself does tend to promote polish bands as well as less popular genre's. Over the months many bands were speculated to be playing however in the end the top bands that most British people would recognise were the likes of Pearl Jam, Kasabian, Damien Marley, Gorillaz, Fatboy Slim and Cyprus Hill. A great mix of music types from rock (pearl jam) Reggae (Damien Marley) and old school hip hop (Cyprus Hill) However there were many other band's Id never heard of but i'll mention them later.
For my degree im currently studying basic e-marketing and website construction at a basic level however I would need no knowledge at all of websites to feel that this one is quite poorly put together. It does look very amateurish and I will be honest when my friend's told me how to order my tickets i asked for reassurances that it wasn't a scamming website due to how basic the site asking for my card details was.
The main site is in polish however there is a sister site in full English perhaps a notification to how popular this festival has become with nationalities to whom English is their native language.
It was not a scam and the tickets once paid for are saved on your account to be printed off at a later date with your passport number on to be exchanged for a wristband when you arrive at the site on the outskirts of the city.
We all went to Berlin first for few days and then got an amazingly tedious and uncomfortable 9 HOUR!! Train to Gdansk train station and were met there by blinding 30 Celsius sunshine and droves of visitors in similar situation to us. The City is a port city and clearly by the enormous ships and cranes littering the river it is a key place for imports and exports in the country.
We wandered the city for a bit to get our money ex-changed into Polish zloty as it is called. It is pretty clear it is still a developing EU country as there were alot of worn down areas and buildings but peppered with nice new shops, mall, restaurants and bars undoubtedly created as an indirect result of the 80,000 people the festival brings in once a year for 4 days.
One thing noted on the whole trip is that Poland is amazingly cheap. I exchanged roughly £200 on the first day and including beer, food and some shopping over the four days I still had some change left at the end.
At the train station we joined the queue for the many shuttle buses put on for free that takes us to the festival site based right on the outskirts of the city a few miles away. This bus journey was only 25 mins yet I would swap it for the 9 hour train anyday. 25 minutes in 30 plus degrees heat squeezed into a bus with sweat dripping from my face it was very very uncomfortable however we finally got there.
After a sweaty cramped uncomfortable bus shuttle to the festivals site it becomes apparant how ideal a location this festival is. A brilliant location to rival any other festivals im aware of. A lovely clean beach just a 5 minute walk down the road. Or a busy city centre a short journey in the other direction as well as being surrounded by some cafe's and restaurants and open fields to play sports or relax on.
The site itself is actually on an old abandoned airfield and is positioned adjacent to a wide tarmacked runway and in the distance a run-down air control tower can be seen which makes for an interesting back drop at this brilliant festival.
***The Festival ***
The festival itself is exactly the same as any festival I'm sure many reading this have been too. Camp site, shops selling random things that you'll never need, horrible portaloo's and food stalls selling in this case weird and wonderful polish delicacy's. We got there quite late and as a result got quite bad tent sites but couldn't really complain.
On site shower buildings with mirrors and sinks was a god send after 3 days in burning heat and probably the most pleasant difference to uk festivals was that the thousands of portaloo's were changed on a night so everyday's toilet facilities were fresh and clean.
The site operates a swipe card system where u buy a card fill it with credit and as you buy stuff you just swipe for a nice easy transaction. Beer wise the festival does not allow you to bring your own onsite unless it's wine because the festival is the "Heineken open'er festival" and as a result the only onsite alcoholic beverage available is Heineken surprisingly cold.
The stages are based a few hundred metres away from campsites and the bands start at about 6 in afternoon with the last bands usually on at about 12 at night each day and usually a dance based act like fatboy slim or groove armarda. There are three tents spread across the site and we like many there tried to have a look at each one just a bit. I have now become a follower of artist's I'd never heard before like matisyahu a rapping Jew haha.
When all the bands are finished the place is still alive with music, drunk people dancing and best of all an underground air raid bunker that is now converted into a night club to party on as long as you wish.
The world cup was on and sadly England had just been knocked out however there was still a tent with a big screen in filled with myself proudly wearing my Sunderland shirt mixed with football shirts from around the world, Germans, Australians, Dutch and it was one of greatest moments of festival seeing people from countries around the world mixing talking football and having a bit fun. That was the Highlight of the festival for me in general, People from around the world all proud of where their from discussing stories of where they come from. In fact I myself made friends with four people from Manchester who I often Meet up with now back home.
The beach near the festival which I fell asleep on and woke up to hundreds of people playing football and volley ball at half seven in morning, the Ice cream bars, Friendly polish people and visitors in general, Cheap beer and food (70p a can of Heineken £1.50 for a 12 inch pizza or example)there's just so many plus points.
For the more adventurous when it comes to picking music festivals or someone who wants a change from the same Uk ones every year I absolutely recommend this one be looked at. It is very difficult to put into words everything there is to do and all the lovely moments I had surprisingly in Poland of all places but Iv tried thanks for reading :)