Heineken Open’er is the same story all over again.
A few weeks in advance I start to impatiently watch the growing lineup and plan what to see. A little closer to the date it turns out that out of my top 5 concerts, two are played at the same time on different stages, and the other three happen one after another – but on stages that are a kilometer from one another.
I also try to plan the meetings. People I will go to the festival with, people I will see there. There is always somebody who wanted to stay in our cabin/tent/dormitory/camper but could not fit, and we have to have drinks together to make up for it. There is a friend from another town (or abroad) that I have not seen in months, and a guy from work who I would like to talk to outside of the office. As a result, instead of joining the mosh pit or spreading a blanket on the grass in a nice spot overlooking the stage and the bg screens, I run around the airport (!) trying to coordinate a group of lost, delayed and slightly drunk individuals. Remember that the cell network is overloaded, and phone batteries dead.
This is how I know that summer has arrived.
Let’s meet at the green brick thing, surely nobody will have the same idea
Why do I keep coming back?
- Because the person(s?) who decides which artists to invite has a taste in music unbelievably close to mine. Open’er gave me the chance to hear and see live a number of bands I had thought were only in the dreamworld: Sonic Youth, White Stripes, this year those were Blur and Queens of the Stone Age (I am still waiting for Beck to drop by). Each time I discover something new, too, like Crystal Fighters in this year’s edition.
- Because it is one of the best organized festivals in Europe, with buses coming every few minutes, more portable toilets that could possibly be used, hot water at the camping site showers, and staff members picking up plastic cups from the ground during the last concert to make for a fresh start the following day.
- Because they have started inviting theatres and artists too!
Well, it does irritate me a bit that one third of the girls wear exactly the same set of shorts, glasses and wellies, and half of those who stay in a tent pack a hair straightener… But it does not harm me in any way.
Below you will find a few loosely related remarks from this year’s edition of the Open’er festival.
I did my math: this was my 8th Open’er. We have tested many accomodation options over the years: domitories in Gdańsk (too far and slightly disgusting), a one-room flat in Gdańsk (20 people on 30 metres, funny, but too far), a flat in Gdynia (EXPENSIVE), the campint site (crowded, hot, and somebody stepped on my head), a basement in Mosty (best than all the above, but still a tad too far) with an emergency tent at the festival. Finally this year we used our heads and rented a caravan which proved to be just what we needed.
There is a separate campers’ and caravans’ campint site at the festival. You pay PLN 400 for a caravan (up to 8 people are allowed to stay there). The price includes”
- 40m2; we managed to fit there: the caravan (7os.), the car, a 3x3m sun shade (150 zł)
- a separate set of portable toilets and showers that were cleand every day, and the worst queue took 10 minutes, not 2 hours
- hot water at the free showers (well, maybe not around 11)
- security guys doing rounds all the time (important since you can open most caravan doors with a butter knife), but not paying any attention to the drinks we brought from the market)
- a festival bus stop behind a fence and a pedestrian crossing coordinator with a very loud megaphone (we had earplugs, we are pro)
Not included in the price, but available: electricity (PLN 140).
I am actually reluctant to share this, in case next time a friend takes the last camper spot from me.
Another insider tip that I am not so eager to share has to do with the portable toilets zones.
There have always been plenty of them at Open’er, and last year their distribution changed so much that I think some serious movement analysis was at play here. Still, every now and then you do habe to wait, and the watered down festival beer is not our ally in this cause. So, here comes my hint, and it is illustrated!
Usually what festival goers do is to line up in front of particular toilets. Sometimes a good organizer tries to start a more sustainable common queue, but there is always somebody jumping from the side. So there is one queue per Toi Toi, usually set back a distance of one such toilet.So have a look at this spacial setup, and pay special attention to the internal corners:
Toi Toi waiting time optimization insider trick You are welcome.
Yes! The person waiting in the corner can normally choose from 4 (four) different toilets! You can drink my health at the next festival to thank me.
Quite a short time before the festival (so short that a friend had bought a return ticket to England before learning about this) it was announced that Rihanna will play a gig the day after the festival, at Open’er main stage. I would never buy a ticket to see her live, but then it turned out that people with a four-day festival pass were allowed to see the concert free of charge, and the camping site operation was prolonged too. We were enthusiastic for a moment, but later (and especially after 5 minutes of the actual concert) we started thinking. So here are some points:
- Why did Rihanna play at the same stage, but not as part of the Open’er lineup? Could it be because the organizer (ALTERart) was fully aware how lame it would be to have her at Open’er, but neither were they willing to give up a profit like this?
- The festival does spoil you with the punctuality of the concerts. There are many bands, the breaks are short, so there is no time for normal Rock’n'Roll delay (though I do remember delayed planes and concerts played late into the night). Rihanna, obviously, made everyone wait a full hour.
- She used playback. Half playback, I guess, or 3/4 to be exact… I do not get it. If an alternative, niche band can bring about 3 backup singers, if Blur takes with them additional brass band, if the White Stripes can rock out with just 2 band members – why does one of the richest pop start have to play songs from a record?
I managed 15 minutes of that and ran away to the trailer. This kind of sucks as the last memory from this year’s festival, doesn’t it?
It is not the only one, though:
Beer watered down with rain