Heineken Open'er 2009: Rated!
Gydnia, Poland - 2-3 July 2009
21 July 2009
Overall - 8/10
The latest edition of Poland's biggest musical celebration was another one that didn't disappoint. Punters were musically satisfied with a varied line-up, although the best performances were few and far between on the Thursday. This did make that particular day easier though as one could catch them all, something which was generally pretty hard to do over the weekend. It was a case of the line-up being almost too good with many bands clashing. Putting Q-Tip and Faith No More on at the same time was the event's main mistake but having too many good artists at a festival is definitely not a serious problem.
On a technical side failures were almost unnoticeable whilst getting information on site was easy. Queuing for beer, food and the festival coupons was unavoidable with no less than 60,000 punters on site. The overall atmosphere was incredible. Its convivial festive overtones are the reason people of all ages return each year, making Open'er Poland's main event of the summer.
Getting there and back - 9/10
The festival is located on the outskirts of Gydnia, one of Poland's top seaside cities, giving punters a true feeling of space and relaxation. Free buses to the city centre were available to all festival-goers, making it incredibly convenient to eat out and spend the day off-site. This year, Gydnia went one step further and organised an international sailing championship as well.
The site - 8/10
The general layout of the festival including stages and food corners was well thought out. There was no problem getting from one end of the site to the other and every little nook and cranny was detailed in the festival booklet. The non-music bits were where they have been every previous year with the NGO, XBOX 360 Tent, open air cinema and street theatres taking the limelight. The novelty at this year's event was the Fashioner Area which displayed the trends among punters and show off some of Poland's famous designers. Finally the camping field was enlarged this summer with the creation of special caravan and trailer zones whilst the number of stages, covering all genres of music, rose to seven.
Music - 8/10
Generally speaking, all performances were good. Not one could have been called a failure. The Gossip's Beth Ditto got the audience singing and dancing and was the only one to honour the late Michael Jackson with a rendition of ‘Billie Jean’. Meanwhile Peter, Bjorn and John used their wicked musical abilities to put the audience into some form of trance whilst Pendulum put on a satisfying open-air show, defying those who thought they should stick to dark and gloomy clubs.
Polish favourites Laki Lan put on a surprisingly fresh set, placing the domestic bands right up there with the international heavyweights like Kings Of Leon who created a riot as fans cried, screamed and sang along to their hits. With the Kaiser Chiefs not around to predict it, the southern four-piece were astonished at the riotous reception they got. To pay the fans back, they gave an amazing hour and a half long show and claimed that they could have played until the dawn. Moby, The Prodigy and M83 were worth seeing as well.
Faith No More
After a 15-year hiatus it was great to see that the band hadn't changed a bit. With a catalogue of hits they were always going to have a perfect contact with the audience and for most, it was an unforgettable experience to be able to sing along to tracks like 'Ashes To Ashes', 'Epic' and the mighty 'Midlife Crisis', bringing back fond memories in the process.
The former leader of A Tribe Called Quest promoted his solo album in Gydnia. The way he rhymed and the energy he produced while on stage was nothing short of incredible. He got by far the biggest crowd at The World stage which was a fair way away from the main action.
The band were magical on stage and the crowd duly enchanted. Although their music seems to suit clubs better, the musicians put on a beautiful show with their live instruments. Even though they were performing very late and at the same time as Placebo they managed to draw an impressive audience.
The biggest disappointment of the weekend was Arctic Monkeys although it wasn't entirely their fault. They apparently had problems getting to the festival as their bus broke down (twice) and it was even hit by lightning. This wasn't enough to spark them, or their gear into life though as the mixers failed and their overall performance lacked energy.
Lily Allen performed songs from her newest album, which isn't as well known as her last in Poland. Most of the attention was captured by her unusual hair-do/wig than her music.
By Maciej Rekiec