The Open’er festival, held annually in the northern city of Gdynia on the Baltic Sea, is the largest open-air music and performing arts festival in Poland and is developing its reputation year by year. Although only established as recently as 2002, when it was held in Warsaw, Open’er now caters for up to 55,000 festival goers on each of its four days. In excess of 120 acts perform across the seven stages during the course of Open’er and many famous artists have appeared here since the festival’s inception. The Chemical Brothers headlined in 2002 and, since then, artists as well-known as Cypress Hill, Massive Attack, Snoop Dog, Fatboy Slim, The White Stripes, Placebo, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Björk, Beastie Boys, and the Sex Pistols have made the trip here.
It was in 2006 that Open’er moved to what is now its permanent home at Kosakowo Airport, formerly known as Babie Doly Military Airport, in Gdynia. This 75 hectare site has proved to be an ideal location for the festival, enabling not only the stages to be set up there but also with more than enough room for all the accompanying elements of a typical festival ‘village’. There is a 10 hectare space dedicated to campers and plenty of room for the film and theatrical performances as well as the merchandising areas and food and drink zones. There is a chillout zone – disconcertingly, perhaps, it’s in a former military hanger – as well as stages dedicated to World Music, Young Talent, Drum and Bass, amongst others. For the 2009 festival, a new area, Fashion’er, was introduced to cater for creative fashion innovations. There is a free internet café – if you don´t mind queues – and concerts take place from four in the afternoon right through until five o’clock in the morning. One of the great attractions of the village is the fabulous beach next to the Baltic Sea.
Additionally, the town of Gdynia is only a short ride away; with plenty of reasonably priced restaurants and cheap pints of Tiske. It’s little wonder that Open’er is becoming more and more popular with festival goers from outside of Poland.
It’s possible to purchase three types of ticket for Open’er; for one, three or four days. Space on the campsite is not included in the basic ticket price. The major airport nearest the festival is at Gdansk but Gdynia is accessible by train from most Polish cities. Free buses are provided to ferry festival goers from the main station in Gdynia out to the festival site – a 15 minute bus journey. These buses run every few minutes all through the four days. Those people with camping tickets can also use the city bus number 109 to the site on the days before and after the event. Although the camp site itself is fairly small, many visitors have commented on its cleanliness and friendly atmosphere. It’s also worth remembering that many previous visitors to Open’er have mentioned that it’s advisable to ‘negotiate’ with taxi drivers about fares as they tend to assume that British people are all wealthy and so raise their charges accordingly!
Open’er is a friendly, lively festival in a lovely seaside location that not many people might ordinarily visit. Details of the next event can be found on the Open’er website.