A proper season of music festivals in Poland starts on the first weekend of July with one of the biggest open-air festivals in Europe: Open’er Festival. Taking place on the seaside in the city of Gdynia, Open’er is known as a hipster Mecca. Better take your coolest sunglasses, flannel shirt and baggy sweater- and don’t forget about waterproof boots! Doesn’t matter if the forecast says 35°C for the whole weekend: it will rain. It always does, and you’ll destroy your newest pair of Converse.
WHO? As befits for the most hipster festival of them all, alternative music dominates four of Open’er’s stages. In past years on the Main, Tent, Alter and ‘Here&Now’ stage the audience have seen artists like Mumford and Sons, Modest Mouse, Bon Iver, M83, Friendly Fires, The Klaxons, Peter Bjorn & John and Crystal Castles. Lovers of heavier tones could enjoy Queens Of The Stone Age, The Hives, Pearl Jam, The Dead Weather, Tame Impala and Gogol Bordello. If that’s still not enoughfor you, Open’er also hosts mainstream artists like Rihanna, Janelle Monae, Major Lazer and The Cardigans or hip-hop legends such as Nas and Wiz Khalifa.
This year among the headliners are: The Black Keys, Pearl Jam, Banks, Bastille, Ben Howard, Foals, Foster the People, Haim, Faith No More, Interpol, Jack White, MGMT, MØ, Phoenix and many, many more.
DISCOVER! Obviously, Open’er is not only about big names that we all already know. Here, you can fall in love with plenty of Polish bands that you’ve never heard of before! A few of our must see acts are: Daniel Spanielak a young master of guitar melancholia, the mysterious Bokka who last year created quite a fuss on the electronic scene, the extremely talented vocalist, composer and producer Kari who’ll be bringing captivating, ambitious pop music, a new wave of surf-rock blended with ambient, psychedelia and noise called Kaseciarz, a fresh approach to sung poetry, or, to be more precise, poetic songs from Król which is based mostly on ambient and indie music and will give you a deep love for the Polish language; a popular face on Berlin’s electronic scene, multi-instrumentalist Mooryc, Pink Freud who are being called one of the most original voices in modern jazz, and synth-pop sensation of 2013 and probably the youngest musicians of the festival (at only 16 years old!) The Dumplings.
WHERE? Gdynia is one of the trio cities which are connected in a big complex called Trójmiasto. Everything starts and finishes here: Gdańsk, Sopot, Gdynia – as the song says. While Gdynia is a tranquil city full of communistic blocks of flats, Gdańsk – being one of the oldest Polish cities – delights with its historical architecture, and touristic Sopot attracts with its jetty, which is one of the longest in Europe. You can easily access both cities by train in less than half hour, for £2 for both ways.
HOW MUCH? Having stars like these unfortunately means that tickets to Open’er don’t come cheap. This year a 4-day ticket with camping costs 500zł which is around £100. You can stay in Gdynia where you can rent a flat for those couple of days but you’ll miss half of the experience.
HOW TO GET THERE? You can fly to Gdańsk and then take a train to Gdynia. If you’re already in Poland take one of the special Open’er trains.
Of course Open’er 2014 has already finished but Alter Art – the organizers of the festival – tend to make each year bigger and better than the previous one so now it’s time to start collecting money for Open’er 2015. Keep an eye on Open’er’s website and fanpage, because usually from the beginning of February the announcements of first headliners are made and early bird tickets are available shortly after that.