Blogging about festivals as a careeer, I received an e-mail, inviting me to one of the Polish festivals this summer. The reason for this invitation was to initiate some kind of cultural exchange between Turkey and Poland in the celebration of the 600. aniversary of the begginning of the diplomatic relationships between these two countries. What an honour. I accepted it right away.
I was offered a few Polish festivals through the summer and I chosed visit the biggest one, Open’er in Gydnia, even if I had to fly to Poland after spending 6 days without shower and sleeping in a tent, I mean the day right after Glastonbury. So It was going to be two huge festivals in a row and it was a challange, even for a festival-addict like me. Well, bring it on!
There were few other festivals which all looked -I’d say- delicious but I made my decision based on the genre of music I usually write about and listen to personally and to be honest this summer’s most wanted rockstars Arctic Monkes was like 80% effective on my decision, since their name was announced among headliners.
I even remember, as Open’er was one of the first festivals to announce Arctic Monkeys’ appereance, thinking seriosly buying a ticket and going to Open’er on my own. Then I gave up because I didn’t know the country much or anyone in Poland but I guess I ‘secretly’ drew it to myself! Now I have a chance to get to know the country and the people.
First I spent one and a half days in Warsaw – which was not enought- yet you can read about it here. The other day it was time to fly to Gdansk to go to the festival. From the airport to Sopot -a cute little town by the beach, where we stayed during the festival- the road was full of tall green northern trees, that could burst your lungs with oxygen if you’re not used to it.
We quickly left our stuff at the apartment and went directly to the festival site. With my long black rubber boots, I was ready for the potential rain the clouds were indicating to and my 4 days full of great music had officially began.
With 5 stages across the endless green grass of the Kosakowo Airport, tousands of music enthusiasts; good choice of music, a museum, a fashion stage, silent disco, cool pieces of contemporary art, bazaar of young designers’ products, broad variety of Polish & international food, the inevitable drunken teenagers, a theater, a cinema and a really cute ferris wheel was completing the festival spirit! It all looked amazing; even though I was there right after Glastonbury, the so called biggest and most amazing music festival on earth.
Here’s the highlights of the festival for me. I was there…
… jumping and screaming the lyrics of Boys & Girls with tousands of Polish fans during Blur’s headline performance on the very night I came to Open’er.
… putting my hands up, closing my eyes and dancing during the amazing performance of 19 and 22 year old siblings Disclosure in Tent Stage the same night.
… finally enjoying The National’s performance, resenting that it has been canceled during to our Gezi resistance (they were so kind and posted a supporrt message, and I love them even more)
… screaming and shouting with a bunch of sweaty and drunk teenagers while the frontman of Palma Violets howled and stagedived.
… in the very front row – kind of a warzone- waiting for the Arctic Monkeys to come on stage with their amazing new hit Do I Wanna Know? (Lots of people fainted yet they were handed out safe & sound to the paramedics waiting in front of the stage. I also saw how determined I was to watch the Monkeys from that warzone. I still have minor bruises but I had a great time!)
… up front of the stage with more than 5 people squeezed in 1 square meter, sweaty, sharing a raincoat with new Polish friends.
… dancing to Baptism of Crystal Castles all alone in the middle of a very enthusiastic crowd at Tent Stage
… when Queens of the Stone Age drummer Jon Theodore was playing an incredible drum solo.
… when a fan in wheelchair was crowdsurfing during Kim Nowak concert.
… writing #occupygezi on a wall of the bus –Pawel Althamer’s art project- standing in the middle of the festival, when I saw other Gezi-related tags on the walls and realised there were other Turkish people at the festival.
… in the crowd making my hands like a triangle and singing along Matilda at Alt-J concert.
… it started to rain and noone went anywhere or even cared during the Tame Impala performance.
… Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood was performing his 15 min composition Electric Counterpoint.
…during the wonderful closure of the festival by the performance of Ensemble Modern conducted by Steve Reich and accompanied by some cinematographically beautiful footage of the festival in the background.
And I’m glad I was there.
I think the only downside of the festival for me was that there wasn’t any alcohol besides beer, which had a lowered alcohol percentage, and you couldn’t take alcoholic beverages outside of the food zones to the stages. I was told that these were precautions against exesive consumption of alcohol among youngsters.
I absolutely had a great time. The tickets, the food and the transportation was affordable. People were helpful, friendly and fun. The weather was really nice, not so cold and not so hot. The music -both Polish and international acts- was great. And the small towns around with nice beaches are worth exploring. The Polish fans are really crazy, passionate and open for new stuff. I liked being in a festival with them.
I coincidentially made some new Turkish friends and I had a great time with them too. When I asked them why they were here, they also gave similar responses. The main reason for them to come here was the advantages of the currency, the amazing line-up and don’t get me wrong but girls:) The Polish girls are really very beautiful.
Besides having a great time, I also got to know great Polish music which was unknown to me before. I really suggest that you should check out…
… Novika if you haven’t already, since she’s really famous in Poland and in the business for over 10 years now. I was impressed by the deep house / techno sound of her songs and they are in English. My personal favourite is Lovefinder.
… Polish singer & songwriter Skubas, whose catchy melodies and groovy rhytms made me wonder what his lyrics said. Linoskoczek was my favourite. Translation? Anyone?
… really good looking and cool electronica-duo Rebeka, whose songs are in English. Listen to Fail to have a glance at their work.
… xxanaxx, another electronica-duo with a cool name who also sing in English.
… the rock band called Kim Nowak, surprisingly the side project of Waglevski brothers who are normally hip-hop musicians.
… Kaliber 44 if you are curious how top notch Polish rap sounds.
… Maria Pezsek. Her style and her posture on stage combined with her voice made me wonder what she said, because it definitely looked like she had a message.
I went back to Istanbul with cool and good quality merchandise of the festival (I only buy them when I really enjoy a certain show or festival), interesting stuff I bought from the young designers, a minor bruise and great memories. If the line-up’s so strong next year I’d definitely spare a week to go to the Open’er and spend some time at the beautiful beaches.
Polish fans are absolutely crazy and would love to enjoy a festival with them. For more live videos check out:
online interview: Peter Björn & John
online interview: Peter Björn & John
Blogging about festivals as a careeer, I received an e-mail, inviting me to one of the Polish festivals this summer. The reason for this invitation was to initiate some kind...