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With pandemic restrictions now lifted, Poland finds itself on the border of the war in Ukraine. Yet arenas are packed and venue operators are fairly bullish about the future. In Kraków, Tauron Arena CEO Małgorzata Marcińska says there is a significant number of bookings for its indoor space, as well as for outdoor events at the arena, which is now offering fresh-air concerts in its grounds.
This initiative started during the pandemic as a solution to fulfilling people’s desire for entertainment while indoor venues were closed. Although the war in Ukraine is very much on people’s minds, it does not seem to be affecting bookings at the 20,400-capacity venue.
“New events for 2022 and next year are being announced every week,” says Marcińska. “In the coming months, all the events that moved earlier due to the pandemic will finally take place. We don’t have a single weekend available until the end of the year. In addition, promoters are starting to announce events and reserve dates not only for 2023 but also for the following years.”
“We don’t have a single weekend available until the end of the year. In addition, promoters are starting to announce events and reserve dates not only for 2023 but also for the following years.”
A scarcity of available dates means the normally quieter summer months are now also being booked up at the arena. “Dates in July and August are desirable now. Plus, some promoters believe that the holiday season is safer and more stable and gives a greater guarantee that the event will take place because pandemic restrictions were introduced in the autumn/winter season over the last two years.”
Artists performing at the venue include Alicia Keys, Tool, André Rieu and Whitesnake. Katowice’s Spodek Arena is also reflecting on the war taking place over the border. “Some artists have begun to feel uncomfortable about this proximity,” says CEO Marcin Stolarz. “Therefore, it was mainly international artists who cancelled some of their performances in this part of Europe.”
Nonetheless, Stolarz says 90% of dates in the venue’s calendar are already booked for the next 18 months. “The challenge, therefore, is the time we have to organise everything to the highest standard.” Spodek Arena can accommodate 11,000 people. The neighbouring International Congress Centre (ICC) can accommodate 15,000.
90% of dates in the venue’s calendar are already booked for the next 18 months
“Our greatest advantage are the two adjoining venues, which are linked by a tunnel and can thus constitute a single venue. It’s used for the Tauron Nowa Muzyka festival,” says Stolarz. Forthcoming plans at the venue include renovation of all the changing rooms, plus increased plant-based and organic food offer for audiences.
“We’re also continuing our eco-policy – we have introduced a system to manage and optimise the use of electricity, heat, and water; installed a smart heating and ventilation management system at the ICC; and we have also implemented special processes for monitoring the use of lighting. We apply comprehensive waste sorting, both during the events and during their assembly and disassembly.”
It is also running programmes of events for local residents to ensure continuing good relations. Artists performing at the venue include Alter Bridge, Uriah Heep, The Queen Machine, Tokio Hotel, and Tori Amos. One of the largest arenas in the country is Arena Gliwice in the south.
Like the others, it’s extremely busy with rescheduled events alongside new bookings, says director of sales and marketing, Konrad Kozioł. And while this is good for business, some people are reluctant to buy new tickets because they have held onto passes for rescheduled events for over two years.
“Making the venue greener has always been one of our priorities: we were the first arena in Poland to introduce reusable plastic cups”
Nonetheless, the next 12-18 months are “looking bette than ever,” he says. Kozioł says the venue has plans to increase the capacity of the main hall and the arena’s rigging load. “We’re also focusing on making the venue more sustainable by introducing measures to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our waste management.
“Making the venue greener has always been one of our priorities: we were the first arena in Poland to introduce reusable plastic cups back in 2019, and in May this year, we joined Too Good To Go to cut our food waste. Other steps we’ve already taken include reducing the use of paper and encouraging cashless payments.
“There’s still a lot to be done, and we’re committed to making these changes in the near future, and we’re hoping this will inspire other venues on the Polish market to do the same.”
Forthcoming acts include Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Nightwish, and Within Temptation + Evanescence. “Arena Gliwice is made up of two separate venues: Main Arena and Small Arena. Owing to the venue’s flexibility, we can hold between 3,000 and 17,000 people in the Main Arena, and between 500 and 3,000 people in the Small Arena.”