Coke Live Music Festival 2007

What the Krack from Krakow

Coke Live Music Festival 2007: Akon wades through the crowds.

Akon wades through the crowds.

Gosia Jasinska on 06 September 2007

Krakow is known by many Brits as a good place for a great (and cheap) party. So the festival is the ideal distraction between the boozy explorations of the city that take place the days before and after the event.

As we enter the festival site on day one there isn’t a queue in sight.  Suddenly the idea of this hot and humid climate with minimum waiting time conjures up thoughts of heaven, but it’s merely the calm before one hell of a storm.

No one had expected a thunderstorm of such power to devour the festival site.  Luckily my tent escapes unscathed, but not everybody is so lucky:  Portaloos are floored, stages are partially destroyed and tent damage is hefty.

Yet, with every cloud having a silver lining, the lighting mapping the silver sky is spectacular and the real highlights are yet to appear. Then Lily Allen takes to the stage to regurgitate her first album to huge cheers, but she’s merely acting as a warm up act for the two main events of the night.

It may only be the second biggest festival in Poland but it’s the first time that Akon has rolled into town. His frenzied set is due to his DJ – Benny D – who open’s the rappers show on his own.

Benny leaps on top of the decks to show off his dancing and his kilt, well skirt, before leaping back down to drop some well known cuts. The audience are being to riot and then Akon comes out to tell his story.

The atmosphere explodes when the RnB prince appears from the side of the stage.  He plays some of his biggest hits including ‘Locked Up’ before he stands on fence near the crowd and leaps onto his bodyguard’s shoulders and wades into adoring audience.

The Krakow krowd go krazy when Faithless step out onto the stage.  Maxi Jaxx and co. up the tempo during their 90 minute performance and the crowd are hot and steamy by the time the electronic idols bash out ‘Insomnia’.

However the dance supremoes hand over the reigns to O.S.T.R to close the first day.  The Polish rapper and freestyler pleases the local crowd with his sharp lyrics and brilliant melodies.

As day two dawns it’s apparent that it’s going to be hot, really hot. We head into the city centre for the day before making our way back to the airfield that holds the festival.

The festival is packed with a melee of international fans.  Among those in attendance includes revellers from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Britain and Germany, but the crowd is mainly from the Baltic coast.  This is where the festival was advertised mainly and bands like S.U.N made the trip from North-Eastern Europe to perform.

Of the Polish bands that are playing, one is worth a mention.  Laki Lan dress up as insects when they are on stage and this time is not different.  Their energizing funk and incomprehensible lyrics are delivered by human-sized butterflies and grasshoppers but the surrealism doesn’t stop everyone dancing.

However it’s down to Chicago rapper Common to kill the enthusiasm with a dull performance.  He gives the crowd a sample of his break-dancing before teaching us the history of hip-hip.  The lecture begins with the DJ, which at that precise moment; his own DJ demonstrates his abilities.  But is a history lesson at a festival really needed?

It’s left to Rihanna to close the concert and see comes out late - with her leg in plaster. The RnB princess spends most of her set sitting down, but it doesn’t hamper the fan’s enjoyment. ‘Umbrella’ isn’t that bad, especially re-worked by her band but her set only lasts 40 minutes.  Not that it bothers the crowd too much – they’re in awe of the shower of beautiful firework finale.

Overall Coke Live Music Festival is a friendly event full of beautiful people and it provides an excellent opportunity to spend time in Krakow. It is cheap, easy to get to, and it doesn’t suffer from overcrowding. The only real queues are those for the morning showers.

There are some teething problems the organizers have to think over, but as they gain experience by running the premier Polish festival – Open’er - they’ll certainly manage to give this one a kick.

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