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Fest Festival welcomes 35,000 for Poland’s biggest event

Fest Festival welcomed 35,000 festivalgoers over four days for this year’s edition, making it the biggest event in Poland in 2021.

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the festival returned at full capacity with its second edition, boasting a slate of domestic and international artists.

Kygo, James Bay, Alan Walker, Aurora, Paul Kalkbrenner, Princess Nokia, Tommy Cash, Kensington, Sohn and over 200 others performed across the festival’s 11 stages.

According to promoters, Follow the Step, attendees also came from all over the world to attend the multi-genre festival in Park Śląski, Chorzów, between 11–14 August.

“It was the most difficult two years in our career so far”

This year, according to government regulations, only people vaccinated against Covid-19 were permitted to attend the festival, despite Follow the Step’s efforts to open the gates for others.

“It was the most difficult two years in our career so far but thanks to the hard work of our team and cooperation with agents, managers and media we were able to make this incredible event,” says Maciej Korczak, co-owner of the Fest Festival.

“We would like to thank all the festival attendees for their presence and trust. We are happy and deeply touched by the fact that despite the prevailing situation, we managed to organise the largest festival in Poland. We can’t wait for next year when we will be able to meet again in Park Śląski and experience the third edition of the Fest Festival together. See you on August 10–13, 2022.”

Major international festival, Pol’and’Rock, also returned with an in-person event this summer, heralding a new normal for Poland’s live music industry.

 


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10k people attend Poland’s biggest show since 2020

Last weekend, German DJ Boris Brejcha played the biggest concert Poland has seen since the outbreak of Covid at the beginning of 2020.

Ten thousand fans gathered in Poland’s largest and best-preserved fortress, in Modlin, located northwest of Warsaw, last Friday (25 June) to enjoy Brejcha’s set.

According to the promoters, Follow the Step, the enormous structure (pictured) was created by specialists especially for the event and was months in the making.

“This was the first production of this type in this part of Europe and thanks to the huge amount of technology, lights and the latest generation sound system, provided an amazing experience,” according to a press release.

Entry was restricted to doubly vaccinated residents, as per government guidelines, all of whom were required to show proof of vaccination.

“Finally after one and a half years we could put our plans into action and get back to organising events on the big scale,” Follow the Step’s Tamara Przystasz tells IQ.

“Not only was it quite a challenge organising it in such a way that will comply with all the new rules and restrictions, but it was also the first event that we could organise for vaccinated people only. However, it was amazing to see 10,000 people celebrating the comeback of music events.”

Maciej Korczak, owner of FTS, added: “The Boris Brejcha show was a huge step forward not only for our company but also for the whole event and music industry in our country. We like to pave the way here as we believe that nothing is impossible.”

“It quite a challenge organising it in such a way that will comply with all the new rules and restrictions”

“The show was just a warm-up for us before Fest Festival this summer which will take place on the 11-14 of August in Chorzów. But after what we managed to do with Boris show we are now sure that we are able to organise Fest Festival this summer for 40,000 people safely.”

Earlier this month, Follow the Step was given permission to hold multi-genre event Fest Festival without any capacity limits, provided that attendees have had their Covid-19 vaccinations.

During a press conference, the Polish minister of health confirmed the information that people vaccinated against Covid-19 do not count towards the established limits applicable during mass events.

The event is scheduled to happen 11–14 August in Chorzów and organisers have so far confirmed acts such as Kygo, James Bay, Rag’n’Bone Man and Alan Walker on the bill.

Alongside Poland, mega concerts with 10,000 people or more have recently returned to China, the US and Israel, while France, Belgiumthe Netherlands, DenmarkAustria and the UK have set a date this summer for the resumption of large, non-socially distanced shows.

 


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Poland’s Open’er festival cancelled again

Open’er, Poland’s largest annual music festival, has been cancelled for the second year running due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the organisers wrote: “This is a difficult moment for us. Another one in the midst of the pandemic. Over the last few months we have fought and done so much to make this year’s edition of the Open’er Festival possible. Although we are convinced that the return of the festival world is very close, we are losing this race against time.

“The process of recovering from the pandemic is progressing, vaccinations are ongoing, but unfortunately for obvious reasons, both local and international, the lack of a plan for the coming months and the restrictions in force – the beginning of July in Poland is not yet the time when we will be able to organize Open’er Festival in the scale and form you expect.”

Kendrick Lamar, Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky would have headlined this year’s event at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport in Gdynia between 30 June and 3 July.

“Although we are convinced that the return of the festival world is very close, we are losing this race against time”

Twenty One Pilots, however, have already been announced for next year’s 20th-anniversary edition.

Michael Kiwanuka, Destroyer, Badbadnotgood and Seasick Steve have also been confirmed for Open’er 2022, set to take place between 29 June and 2 July.

In the meantime, Open’er is planning a new event that will take place in Gdynia and span several weeks. The organisers say they will reveal more details in the coming weeks.

The cancellation of Open’er follows that of multi-venue festival World Wide Warsaw and electronic festival Undercity, both of which are promoted by Follow the Step.

At the time of writing, Fest Festival, Pol ‘and’ Rock and Wisloujscie are still set to go ahead.

 


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Polish festivals go ‘full steam ahead’ for 2021

Polish festivals Fest Festival and Pol’and’Rock are determined to do whatever it takes to pull off their respective 2021 events – each of which is slated to feature a raft of international artists.

Follow The Step-promoted Fest Festival has revealed the first wave of artists for its August event, which is almost exclusively non-domestic acts such as Norwegian DJ Kygo, Australian act Fisher and French duo Ofenbach.

The event, which made its debut in 2019, is set to take place in Silesian Park, Chorzów, between 11–14 August, after the organisers added an extra day.

“During this year’s edition, we will develop solutions that will allow the festival to be organised in safe conditions. We plan, among other things, to significantly enlarge the festival area and reduce the number of tickets available for sale. We observe the situation and we will adapt our plans to the current sanitary restrictions on an ongoing basis,” says a representative from Fest Festival.

“We will adapt our plans to the current sanitary restrictions on an ongoing basis”

Tickets for Fest Festival start at PLN 229 for a one-day pass. All 2020 ticket holders will be automatically upgraded to a four-day pass for the 2021 event.

Elsewhere, Pol’and’Rock – also known as the ‘Woodstock of Poland’ – recently announced a number of international artists for the July 2021 event including US heavy metal band Static-X, British metalcore outfit While She Sleeps and Ukrainian act Jinjer.

The annual festival is slated for 29–31 July this year in Kostrzyn nad Odrą, western Poland, and is free to attend.

According to organisers, Pol’and’Rock typically attracts an audience of almost half a million people each year and is the biggest non-commercial festival in Europe.

“Just like last year, we are powering on, full steam ahead,” says Jurek Owsiak, promoter of Pol’and’Rock Festival. “We’re wiser, more experienced now, so we are doing our best to prepare for these three days when we can meet at the festival.

“We are faced with an enormous logistical challenge, but even the grandest undertaking can be successful despite the current global situation. We are working off different scenarios, which we tweak to suit the pandemics’ global developments and progress.

“We are working off different scenarios, which we tweak to suit the pandemics’ global developments”

“Vaccination and the fact that we all agree to follow restrictions, which are there to protect us and limit the spread of the virus, taught us to be disciplined and responsible for ourselves and others. A huge group of people will do whatever it takes to be a part of our festival, agreeing to follow all rules and regulations, which are meant to make it a safe space for everyone.”

In January, Poland confirmed it will issue its citizens with a vaccine certificate, or ‘passport’, when they have been immunised against Covid-19, which could eventually be used to facilitate Covid-safe events.

According to the Reuters Covid-19 tracker, Poland has administered at least 4,605,929 doses of Covid vaccines so far (assuming every person needs two doses), which is about 6.1% of the country’s population.

However, Covid-19 infections are increasing in Poland, with 18,380 new infections reported on average each day, which is 72% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on November 11.

While venues have been permitted to open at 50% capacity, live performances will now be suspended from 20 March until 9 April, according to Pearle.

 


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Outdoor concerts return to Poland

Live music is returning to Poland this summer, following a government announcement that outdoor events of up to 150 people are now permitted.

Poland, where events of over 100 people have been banned since early March, entered its fourth phase of lockdown easing on 30 May, giving the green light for public gatherings of up to 150 people – with a specific reference to outdoor concerts – as long as participants keep two metres apart, or cover their faces.



From Saturday (6 June), cultural institutions in Poland such as theatres and venues will be allowed to reopen with reduced capacities. Night clubs are to remain closed.

Capitalising on the new regulations, promoter Follow the Step has announced an outdoor concert series, which is taking place in the Praga area of the Polish capital of Warsaw in July, in conjunction with venue Praga Centrum.

Live music is returning to Poland this summer, following a government announcement that outdoor events of up to 150 people are now permitted

The Lato na Pradze (Summer in Praga) series is kicking off on 1 July with a show by electronic-pop trio Kamp!, followed by concerts by Polish artists Nosowska, Krzysztof Zalewski, Natalia Nykiel, Natalia Przybysz, Jabłoni Flower and Sonbird.

Green relaxation zones, food trucks and bars will also be set up in the garden of the Praga Centrum complex.

Tickets go on sale on 4 June at 12 p.m. (CET) here. The number of tickets available may increase as restrictions are lifted.

Poland’s Open’er Festival, among those forced to cancel its 2020 edition due to the Covid-19 crisis, recently confirmed that Twenty One Pilots, the Chemical Brothers, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes and FKA Twigs will appear at its 2021 festival, from 30 June to 2 July.

Photo: Tim Adams/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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