- THE STORY
od 2017 do ciekawostki
Over 110 thousand festival goers attended the 20th edition of Open'er, which went down in history as a celebration of exceptional moments on a European level.
„It feels like I met my friend again”, said Labrinth, while delivering an emotional performance on Saturday on Orange Main Stage. His words perfectly visualize the thoughts of tens of thousands of Open’er fans. Some of them constatntly come back to the festival, for others it was a debut year. And for over 20 artists, including Lizzo, Lil Nas X, SZA Labrinth, Caroline Polachek, David Kushner, and Metro Boomin, Open’er became a first-timer in Poland.
Labrinth’s show in Gdynia, his only European concert this year, was filled with celebration of special events. „Tonight I celebrate new life”, said Lab, who welcomed his new-born daughter just a few hours before entering the stage. Soon after, Kendrick Lamar reminded us of his genius, delivering a show worthy of a king. Lizzo and Lil Nas X, Wednesday co-headliners, were an essence of positivity. On Thursday, right here at Open’er, SZA played her only European festival show. Friday saw Arctic Monkeys go through 2 decades of their indie-rock anthems, and Queens Of The Stone Age played to one of the most epic sunsets, seen in the festival’s history.
In 2023, we were happy to re-start the post-pandemic return of the Opene'er Theatre. The first step was the special project "Teatr Zdarzenie", consisting of 3 small forms. For NGOs at the festival, it was an absolutely record-breaking year in terms of number of applications! "Women's power", this year's slogan of the zone, attracted dozens of non-governmental organizations at a very high level. There was also the Let's Talk tent, where important discussions were held as part of Civic Open'er.
Open'er 2022 was record-breaking in many respects. At the same time, in terms of production and organization, it was the most difficult and demanding edition in the festival's twenty-year history. It was a time full of great emotions.
"It's been too long! Are you ready to let go tonight?”, said Dan Reynolds during the Wednesday Imagine Dragons concert at Orange Main Stage. “We needed this. I needed it - to be together, interact, feel, touch”, he continued. It feels like a good summary of the anticipation that accompanied tens of thousands of people three years after the last real festival season. At last, we could enjoy the concerts, meetings and freedom that are the basis of Open'er.
During 4 days, in this spirit, Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport welcomed over 150,000 participants and biggest artists - including the mentioned Imagine Dragons, as well as Twenty One Pilots, The Killers, A$AP Rocky, Martin Garrix, Måneskin, Playboi Carti, Years & Years, The Smile, Tove Lo and Peggy Gou, who in one day decided to replace the The Chemical Brothers, after their performance was cancelled due to Covid spreading through the band.
Open'er has also become a place to express the thoughts on the situation beyond our eastern border. During our special initiative "Let’s support Ukraine at concerts", in cooperation with the Polish Center for International Aid, we have conducted and continue to collect funds, i.a. for the reconstruction of schools in Ukraine, as well as the education and development of children and youth from Ukraine in Poland. Members of the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha also spoke about the need of support, while Dan Reynolds symbolized it by grabbing the Ukrainian flag during the Imagine Dragons concert, and Brandon Flowers took time in The Killers performance to appreciate the help Polish people gave to the Ukrainian refugees.
Like most festivals on our continent and in the USA, we came back in a time of organizational and logistical complications on an unprecedented scale. The daily cancellations of European flights or the ever-increasing cases of coronavirus infections among artists are just a small part of the reality that the world of international concert and festival tours is currently facing.
For the first time in history, the weather forced the evacuation of Open'er. In a short time, nearly 60,000 people were evacuated from the area, protecting the participants from the effects of the approaching storm. It was an unprecedented situation in the last 30 years in Poland, which opens a new chapter in discussions about the safety of mass events in our country. We have no doubts that the health and life of the participants at Open'er is and will always be an absolute priority.
Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions, some of the Friday concerts had to be canceled. In this situation, we all needed what Martin Garrix provided when he entered the stage at the end of the day - a nearly 2,5-hour set full of euphoria and colors that filled the open'er space until sunrise.
Popular as always were also the festival activities, such as Silent Disco, Alterkino, Fashion Stage, NGO and meetings in the Let's Talk tent, hosting i.a. the US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski, or the Mayor Of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski.
In 2021, due to the pandemic, Open'er Festival had to be postponed again. But fans were able to enjoy festival emotions during a new event - Open'er Park powered by Orange. It was the longest running festival that year, with the biggest number of participants. The beautiful space created in Kolibki Park in Gdynia served for 6 weeks, 23 concert days and over 75 thousand attending fans.
2020 was the first year, when festivals had to be postponed due to the pandemic. But fans got the opportunity to see rebroadcasts of 23 live shows from the last decade of Open'er. Besides Open'er headliners, like Radiohead, The Dead Weather, Kasabian, Pharrell Williams, Queens Of The Stone Age and Foo Fighters, we relived the emotions watching Jungle, Royal Blood, The 1975, Skunk Anansie, Alabama Shakes, The Kills.
Over 110,000 people have enjoyed the 18th edition of the festival. Although the weather did not spoil us, and in terms of temperature it was one of the coldest Open'ers in history, the festival emotions sparked a fire! No wonder, if the atmosphere was heated by the rock giants The Strokes and The Smashing Pumpkins, iconic goddesses Kylie Minogue and Lana Del Rey, masters of electronic dance music Swedish House Mafia and modern hip hop stars - Travis Scott and Stormzy who became the undisputed hero of this edition.
JAIN created a fantastic one-woman-show for the opening of Orange Main Stage. Rosalia left no doubt that it was only a matter of time when her name would appear on the festival posters as a headliner. The biggest surprise took place at the end of the second day. At the last moment, A$AP Rocky's concert was canceled and his slot was replaced with Stormzy - one of the most important figures of British hip-hop and grime. "24 hours ago, my manager called me and asked if I wanted to perform in Poland. I said 'Hell F*ckin Yes'! It will be a legendary night," he said at the beginning of his Wednesday performance on Orange Main Stage. And indeed - despite the heavy rainfall, Stormzy's performance was one of the most energetic during this year's edition. He was surprised by the wonderful reception. "You have one of the best energies I've ever seen," he repeated many times.
An extremely important part of Open'er was culture, art and social issues. For the 8th time in a row audiences enjoyed Theatre at Open’er. This year, viewers saw "Other People" TR Warszawa, "We Are Leaving" Nowy Teatr and "Holy Noodle" Komuna Warszawa. "The festival should stimulate your brain" emphasized Mikołaj Ziółkowski, the head of Alter Art agency and Open’er Festival. Panels with the President of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, journalist Tomasz Sekielski, and the Ombudsman Adam Bodnar were also very popular.
To understand Open'er, you need to be there. At least once in a lifetime. There's never enough words to describe it, especially after a year like this.
No to brag about records, but it was the first time, the festival was completely sold out. 4 days gathered over 140 thousand people, who wanted to see one of the biggest stars of contemporary pop - Bruno Mars, the legendary Depeche Mode, colourful Gorillaz and Arctic Monkeys - on of the biggest rock bands in the world.
But among the shows we'll be mentioning in the years to come, are the ones performed by this year's two oldest artists - David Byrne and Nick Cave - the constant rule-changers, whose creativity made a huge impact on the festival goers.
Whether you like it, or not, hip-hop is the most popular genre of today. You can see it in the views, the streams and during the live shows. Artists like Post malone, Young Thug, Yung Lean and Polish acts like Taconafide, Otsochodzi or Pro8l3m gathered thousands of people, regardless of the time.
This year we also brought a new project to life - Civil Open'er. In the Let's Talk tent, you could talk to the Commisioner For Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, as well as representatives of the European Commision and several NGOs.
For the 7th time, we also repared the Open'er Art project with plays such as Jan Klata's "Wesele" and exhibitions like „Jutro Będzie Wojna?”.
Even though the 2017 edition didn’t spoil us with good weather, it’s going to be remembered as exceptionally successful thanks to unforgettable concerts and 120,000 festival-goers in Gdynia.
„We do not need to do the encore, we can play as long as we want” – this is what Dave Grohl said during the second hour of Foo Fighters concert and let people know that they were not going anywhere. 20 songs, some of them in extended versions, guest appearance from Alison Mosshart of The Kills, almost two and a half hours on stage, brilliant connection with fans and the crowd’s energy coming towards the stage make you ask yourself if this was the best concert in the history of Open’er…
Foo Fighters’ set had everything you would expect from a rock spectacle. Slightly different emotions were present during Radiohead’s concert who left out some of their biggest hits in favour of a cohesive and complete set showcasing different stages of their career, from „Daydreaming” of their latest album to „Street Spirit” from their career beginnings.
The xx and Lorde played memorable concerts. Slightly intimidated by their popularity The xx and pulsating with energy and riveting Lorde have something in common – very emotional connection with their public and storytelling about loneliness in an overstimulating world. The Weeknd arrived to Open’er glowing with fame of his two albums and several singles which climbed to the top of the charts all over the world. His first concert in Poland gathered thousands of fans and, just like a few similar concerts from the past editions (e.g. Drake), showed that rap and new R&B are the most popular music genres in the world right now.
The festival also welcomed Solange, M.I.A, Rae Sremmurd, Jimmy Eat World, Prophets of Rage and tens of Polish artists, namely Taco Hemingway, Grammtik and Brodka.
Open’er in cooperation with Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw prepared the „Hoolifemmes” exhibition which presented untamed female freedom unveiled in expression, dance and performance, depicted by important, contemporary artists. The exposition gathered 15,000 people in the museum hall. Important messages about the state of modern world could also be heard from the Theatre („(A)pollonia”, „Black power, white memory”) and Alterkino.
Is there in the world any other festival, where a definite rock star, Red Hot Chili Peppers chant a football song together with thousands of audience, and what’s more they do it in flawless, practically clean Polish language? We feel like there isn’t. The possibility of experiencing such an amazing moments have drawn to Gdynia over 120 thousand people for the jubilee, 15-th festival edition.
Florence & The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pharrell Williams, Kygo – not only in writing this line-up looks impressive. It did great on stage. Florence, the queen of a baroque pop, Red Hot Chili Peppers in excellent shape and happy, amazingly optimistic Pharrell Williams. Each of them with a solid set of their top hits, but also with surprises. Red Hot Chili Peppers playing David Bowie’s “Warszawa”, and Florence specially for the Polish audience the “Third Eye” anticipated by the fans. Wiz Khalifa has also marked his presence. The American rapper would have a wide spectrum of candidates to so-called Tylor Gang.
Great comebacks after years of absence were also highly impressive – LCD Soundsystem concert and moving, full of emotions and dark concert of Sigur Ros. Phenomenal concerts at Tent Stage played by PJ Harvey and Californian band At The Drive In and Grimes. And finally The Last Shadow Puppets and Tame Impala, as well as The 1975 or Bastille at Open’er made a big step towards becoming headliners of the biggest festivals, which may happen soon.
Open'er 2015 brought us unforgettable musical sensations and a four-day adventure, that is being recollected for the next 12 months. The festival lasted from 1st till 4th July and was headlined by: Drake, The Libertines, Mumford & Sons and Kasabian. These were the first concerts ever in Poland for the two first artists. Modest Mouse, D'Angelo and Alabama Shakes have also scored their debut in Gdynia. Traditionally the local music scene has provided a strong representation. We can mention some great concerst like the one of Natalia Przybysz, Fisz Emade Tworzywo and a true sensation of the festival - raper Taco Hemingway, who performed at Open'er at crowded Tent Stage, although it was one of his first concerts ever.
An exhibition organised in cooperation with the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw was also very succesfull. "NO ONE CAN TAKE OUR YOUTH AWAY!” was a story about the art and music of the 80's that constituted to a part of the alternative Thri-city, for fourteen years a home place of Open'er. Open'er participants had the occasion to watch two legendary spectacles of Warsaw TR in Open’er theatres - "4.48 Psychosis" and "Whatever Happens, I Love You", that were performed for the last time. The curtain in ALTERKINO also didn't go down, mainly because of film spectacles that have been followed by hundreds of spectators, watching as well music documentaries as those, which have important social purpose to fulfill. There were also difficult topics undertaken in discussions with writers such as: Magdalena Grzebałkowska, Ziemowit Szczerk and Zygmunt Miłoszewski.
2014 From legends Pearl Jam and recently reunited Faith No More, throughout the highlights of recent years: The Black Keys or Jack White, to bands still writing their musical history: Haim, Bastille, Banks or Royal Blood – that was the sound of this Open’er Festival.
As The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach quipped from stage during their first Polish set, "a quarter of the size of Glastonbury, but ten times the energy." The festival kept its trademark blend of music and arts. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Open’er gallery were present with their mind-broadening exhibitions, and the audience’s emotions were pushed to the limits with both large-scale concerts and theatrical performances. Film premieres in ALTERKINO, cabaret performances and meetings with renowned Polish writers in ALTERCAFE, Silent Disco, the Kids Zone, campsite yoga and other activities were also within reach. Once again, Open’er provided a full spectrum of entertainment, and kept its status as one of Europe's key festivals.
2013 was the year of "Kings and Queens”. It's the audience that made Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme drop the security and party with the fans backstage. Kings of Leon played for 60,000 fans, including Rihanna and her crew, who spent the entire concert dancing in the pit. The Open'er stages also included the magnetic Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arctic Monkeys, The National and Tame Impala. The audience could watch as many as four theatre plays: a premiere of Nowy Teatr's "Kabaret Warszawski", directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, "Nancy. Interview" from the same "Courtney Love" by Teatr Polski in Wrocław, as well as "Paw Królowej" from Teatr Stary in Krakow. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw also had its place at the festival with the "Projection Propaganda Machine" and the plane-inspired installation "Antek" by Paweł Althamer and Grupa Nowolipie. In addition, Open’er fans could enjoy all activities Open'er offered to date: Fashion Stage, Silent Disco, Kids Zone, Signing Tent, the Ferris Wheel and many more. The festival audience counted over 85,000 festival goers.
In 2012, the Main Stage featured what could have been the most eclectic line-up in the Open’er history: penderecki//greenwood, The Kills, Björk, New Order, Bon Iver, Justice. For the first time, arts became a part of the festival on such a large scale with the extremely popular theatre play "Angels in America" by Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, an exhibition by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the large-format installation "Totem" by Maury Gomulicki.
During the tenth festival edition in 2011, over 85,000 festival goers have enjoyed the festival in Babie Doły. The event was reviewed by about 500 journalists. Aside from concerts, new possibilities of spending time, such as the Ferris Wheel and Silent Disco, were created that year. Thousands of fans have enjoyed themselves watching the performance from Prince and the anniversary fireworks show that closed it. Music lovers could also see Coldplay, The Strokes, Pulp, M.I.A. or Primus.
2010 witnessed the performances from, among others, Pearl Jam, Kasabian, The Dead Weather and Pavement, and the appearance of even more new activities, e.g. Kids Zone and the environmentally friendly action.
In 2009, the festival was extended to four days. The Open'er stages featured Arctic Monkeys, Basement Jaxx, Gossip, Sex Pistols, Faith No More and plenty others.
In 2008, as many as seven stages: Main Stage, Tent Stage, World Stage, Young Talent Stage, Alter Space and two electronic spaces were created to accommodate the artists. The 50,000-strong audience witnessed performances from, among others, The Chemical Brothers, Jay – Z, Róisin Murphy and Editors.
2007 brought an even more impressive line-up, with concerts from Sonic Youth, Groove Armada, Beastie Boys, Muse and Björk. The festival also featured a fashion-dedicated space: Fashion’er/Fashion Stage.
The Kościuszko Square became too small for the crowd, so in 2006, the festival moved to Gdynia, Babie Doły – Kosakowo airfield. The festival was also extended to three days. Placebo, Pharrell Williams, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Rós, Scissor Sisters, The Streets, Kanye West and Basement Jaxx all came to Gdynia.
In 2005, 25,000 festival goers got their chance to watch Snoop Dogg, Faithless, Fatboy Slim, Lauryn Hill, The White Stripes and Underworld. On Day One, all day tickets sold out.
In 2004, all music lovers could enjoy the festival for as long as two days, to the music of Cypress Hill, Pink, Goldfrapp or Massive Attack, and filled all the Square to its brims.
In 2003, the festival moved to the Kościuszko Square in Gdynia. There, the fans could watch performances from Cassius, Kosheen, Layo & Bushwacka!
It all began in 2002 r. The one-day event featured, for the first time in Poland, The Chemical Brothers.
The festival always features important artists who never visited Poland before, and often played there just once: Blur, Prince, Coldplay, The Strokes, Snoop Dogg, The White Stripes, Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand, Kanye West, Muse, Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Justice, Mumford & Sons or Interpol.
The Open'er audience could also witness exceptional concerts, such as Faith No More, reunited after years of silence, punk's greatest legends - Sex Pistols or alternative giants Sonic Youth, also marking their first and only time in Poland.
The festival also showcases Polish artists, giving them a unique opportunity to perform in front of an audience of dozen thousands, often for the first time. There is no better place for publicity for local acts.
WE WERE THE FIRST
• Open’er Festival is not only a benchmark of scale, but also a pioneer of festival solutions, imitated by other events.
• We were the first to introduce the system of festival wristbands.
• In 2006, when the festival was moved to Babie Doły (Kosakowo) airfield, special free shuttle buses were provided to transport the festival goers from the main railway station to the festival area.
• Open’er was the first to introduce the festival coupons and Mastercard® PayPass™contactless ALTER kART, which are still used at the festival.
The already habitual announcements of artists in Polish Radio 3 are always greeted by the audiencewith strong emotions.
The festival’s reputation made it the single event to begin the ticket sale for the current edition before even announcing the first artist.
FACTS & FIGURES
• During10 years, we spent 210 days at the festival site. It is just as if Alter Art crew prepared the festival non-stop from January until end of July one year.
• The festival site has grown from 3 hectares in 2002 to 75 ha in 2013. During all these years combined, we took up approximately 463 ha, a surface of a small airport.
• During that time, we built a total of 42 stages of 319 meters (ca. 349 yards) of height, outnumbering the Eiffel Tower.
• The total energy consumption of Open’er Festival in ten years accounted to 40,062,222 watts – enough to power 130.541 laptops
• European Festival Awards 2016 - Promoter of the Year
• 17th Edition of „Gdynia Without Barriers” Contest - Award for Institutions Fighting With Stereotypes About People With Disabilities
• „25/25 years: Brands for Poland” Brief magazine award
• Created in Poland Superbrands 2014/15
• Nominated to European Festival Awards as Best Major Festival
• Superbrands 2013/2014 - "Leisure" category leader, Created in Poland Superbrands
• Nominated to European Festival Awards as Best Major Festival.
• NIPTEL Award for Art at Open'er.
• Open’er Festival elected one of the 100 symbols of Poland by Kocham Polskę (I Love Poland) foundation among Poland’s most important places, people, historical events and achievements (including, among others, the Solidarity movement, Copernicus, the relief of Vienna in 1683 or the Baltic Sea) collected in the album ”Polskie Symbole” (“The Polish Symbols”).
• PROJECT ALBUM’s Poland Style + Design Awards: SHOW, EVENT & PRODUCTION.
• The international Green’n’Clean Award, only granted to environmentally conscious festivals. The initiative includes the management of transport, production, energy and power, catering, and other important elements of festival life.
• Best Major Festival - European Festival Awards (won by Open'er two years in a row).
• Best Major Festival - European Festival Awards
• Musical event of 2009 (ONET.PL)
• Cultural Event of 2009 - by Trójkowy Dom Kultury listeners
• One of European Top 20 festivals (The Times)
• OOH! AWARDS 2009 for COMPANY OF THE YEAR – Events
• BizTrendy 2008 Award for Events/Places
• Festival of the year (mmtrojmiasto.pl)
• Most important action/event that has built a positive image of cities and regions (20yearsofRP.PL –LET’S BE PROUD)
• Elle Magazine’s plebiscite for the ”reason to be proud of Poland”
• Sztorm Sztormów (Gazeta Wyborcza)
• Sztorm Roku (Gazeta Wyborcza)
• Cultural Event of 2008 - by Trójkowy Dom Kultury listeners
• Skrzydła Trójmiasta 2008 in Muzyczne Trójmiasto awards, granted by trojmiasto.pl readers
• BizTrendy 2008 in Events/places category
• Sztorm Roku (Gazeta Wyborcza)
• Effie Awards 2007
• Cultural Event of 2007 - by Trójkowy Dom Kultury listeners
• Miazga 2007 (PULP)
• First place in Event category in the competition for best promotion of tourism in Pomerania region in 2007
• Event of the Year (Press - Top Eventy 2007)
• Sztorm Roku (Gazeta Wyborcza)
• Nocne Marki (Aktivist)
• Machinery 2006 (Machina)
• Effie Awards 2006
• 2006's As Empiku 2006 for Event of the Year
• Sztorm Roku (Gazeta Wyborcza)
• Nocne Marki (Aktivist)