Last weekend I was in Poland shooting the 11th anniversary of Heineken Open'er Festival.
Having never attended or even heard much about the festival prior to leaving, I didn't know what to expect apart from a lot of good music from it's very impressive line-up. I was joined by thousands of punters who had travelled from all over the world to embrace the music, set on having a great time no matter what.
The atmosphere was like no other festival I have attended, in a very good way. I got the impression that everybody in Poland almost treats it as a national holiday flocking from all directions to enjoy the four day event.
Amongst the long list of headliners were Björk, Wiz Khalifa, New Order, Public Enemy, Justice, The Mars Volta, The Kills, The XX, Franz Ferdinand and special guests The Cardigans.
I had the pleasure of staying in Gdańsk for a week, which although an hour away from the festival site, was no problem with plenty of shuttle trains and buses in operation that you could easily jump on and off around the clock. The running of the event was very professional. The festival didn't kick off until 5pm each day which meant for sight seeing and chilling out during the days soaking up the hot weather.
Once inside the festival, there was an array of arena's and attractions to keep you busy including a fashion stage displaying up and coming designers with a different brand showcasing their upcoming lines on the catwalk every half hour. Set in an old airfield in Gdynia, big crowds weren't an issue with different stages spread across the large site making getting around very easy.
There was no mistaking who sponsored the festival; almost everywhere you looked you saw branding for Heineken and as if this wasn't enough, the only other drink available inside the festival was another brand of lager. This didn't seem to bother many of the locals though who all seemed pretty content sitting on the grass with a cold pint. Sadly this wasn't always the scene, as we experienced just about every form of weather apart from snow; needless to say this didn't affect the enthusiasm of the large crowds.
Personal highlights included Wiz Khalifa, Major Lazer, Public Enemy (including Flavor Flav's five minute anti-racism speech at the end which was greeted by a roar of support), The XX, Mumford & Sons, Janelle Monáe and Bloc Party. There were too many enjoyable sets to mention!
A big thanks to Jordon, Megan, Dan, Malgorzata and all the people I met out there. It was an unforgettable experience and would definitely recommend checking it out.