Polish Open’er Festival blends global rock, local culture

LONDON (Reuters) - Prodigy, Drake, Kasabian and the Libertines were among this year’s headliners at Poland’s Open’er Festival, but what helps make it one of Europe’s top-rated music events is the warm welcome for local and foreign bands alike.When the Icelandic indie folk band Of Monsters and Men took to a festival stage for the first time in Poland this past weekend, Icelandic flags were waved from the crowd.

“Makes me feel like home,” said lead singer and guitarist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, who went on to dedicate a song from the group’s new album “Beneath the Skin” to the Open’er crowd.

British rock band Kasabian appreciated the energy of people singing, clapping and jumping along with the tunes.

“You guys are up there with when we played... Glastonbury,” the band’s lead vocalist Tom Meighan shouted at the crowd, referring to Kasabian’s headline slot at the British festival a year ago.

Launched in 2002 in the center of Gdynia, Open’er Festival is building a following much like other European majors such as Glastonbury, Roskilde in Denmark and Sziget in Hungary.

Awarded “Best Major Festival” two years in a row, Open’er now takes place at Babie Doly–Kosakowo airfield and this year had record attendance of an estimated 100,000 people.

The same enthusiasm could be felt during the crowded concerts for Polish artists like songwriter Julia Marcell, whose act included stage diving.

Apart from the main musical attractions, the festival offers theater performances, movies, a modern art exhibition and meetings with writers.

Editing by Michael Roddy and Mark Heinrich