Open’er Champions

It seems the crowd came to celebrate Heineken Open’er winning the Virtual Festivals website’s major festival of the year award as 60,000 people per day poured on to Gydnia’s Babie Doly Airport July 1-4.

Mikolaj Ziolkowski of Warsaw-based Alter Arts, which has run the event since it started out by pulling a 10,000 sellout crowd
to Warsaw’s Tor Stegny Stadium in 2002, says he hopes this year’s edition established the event as a major global festival.

“When we started out we wanted to be one of those great European festivals like Rock Werchter in Belgium, Roskilde in Denmark, T In The Park in Scotland, or the many others that are staged in the UK,” Ziolkowski said. “It’s not just a matter of size. I think the important thing these great festivals have is a good main stage area, which allows everyone on the site to get a good view of the headline acts.

“We’ve reached the point where we can’t put more people in front of the main stage, which tells us the festival is now as big as it should be.”

Ziolkowski believes winning the award may have been down to the number of visitors Heine-ken Open’er gets from the UK.

“Virtual was originally a web-site for UK music fans. 20 percent of our crowd is from outside Poland and most of the visitors are British, although there are also a few coming from the Baltic States,” he explained. “I think we had a lot of our British visitors voting for us.”

The acts helping to establish Heineken Open’re in the big league of European festivals included Pearl Jam, Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Tricky, Skunk Anansie, Kasabian, Hot Chip, Pavement, and Cypress Hill.