Open’er Denied Hat-Trick Bid

The 10th anniversary edition of Heineken Open’er pulled a daily crowd averaging 60,000 to the former Babie Doly Soviet airbase near Gydnia, Poland.

The acts helping with its birthday celebrations included Coldplay, Prince, Pulp, The Strokes, Deadmau5 and Paolo Nutini. The festival started in Warsaw in 2002 with a 10,000 crowd.

But the fest is being denied the chance to be voted Europe’s best festival for the third year in succession because of a change in the rules.

European festivals association Yourope decided in March to recommend that each year’s award winner should be ineligible for the following year’s competition.

The change will be in effect for the next edition.

Heineken Open’er chief Mikolaj Ziolkowski, whose festival is a member of Yourope, is in favour of the change.

“It’s fair and it’s a very good thing for the awards,” he said, a day after his festival celebrated its 10th anniversary June 30 to July 3. It won the European Festival Of The Year Award for 2009 and 2010.

The UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey and Spain all have higher populations than Poland’s 39 million, but they also have more major festivals per country.

Ziolkowski conceded his event attracts foreign music fans because it’s quite cheap to visit Poland, particularly as far as alcohol is concerned, and the festival has become good at mobilizing its vote.

He wouldn’t comment on whether his festival’s two successive victories had prompted discussion about a rule change.