How a teddy bear haunted my trip to Open’er

Emma Gritt

Opener Festival michał murawski How a teddy bear haunted my trip to OpenerI have a huge love for Seth McFarlane – maybe as his most famous characters, Peter and Lois Griffin, look just like my own parents. So when the Family Guy creator unleashed his puerile humour on the big screen in 2012’s Ted, I made sure to see it.

In my favourite part, the feckless stuffed toy hits the karaoke machine, and performs a “90s style” song at a raucous houseparty – among the guests is none other than cinematic icon, ‘Flash’ actor Sam Jones, making it extra special.

I was reminded of this scene as I endured Pearl Jam’s headline set at Open’er Festival last weekend – and not even closing my eyes and pretending it was a two-foot high bear up there could spark even a smidgen of enjoyment.

To be fair, I’ve never liked them – perhaps they just aren’t “spunky” enough for me.

The nineties revival shows no sign of slowing down – I watched Venga Boys perform at gay institution Sink The Pink the other week (reluctantly I’ll admit I found them more enjoyable than rent-a-drones Pearl Jam) – but thankfully not everything being dredged up from two decades past should be thrown back but tied to a cinder block this time.

Faith No More closed the festival – Poland’s largest – on Sunday night and it was simply wonderful. Mike Patton and the band parted in 1998 only to announce their ‘Second Coming’ eleven years later. And this time it felt like the suave singer had met me at the alter in a  crisp white outfit.

Faith No More michał murawski 682x1024 How a teddy bear haunted my trip to Opener

Besides ogling the baritone hunk rocking out to hits including Epic, Easy and final track We Really Care – an odd inclusion for their live sets – there was much to see and do at Open’er, including being continually amazed at the lack of litter across the festival site. This isn’t so much to do with Polish people taking putting things in bins really seriously and the organisers’ vow to recycle 100% of its plastic waste, but because where you can drink alcohol – £1.20 pints of very ale-snob unfriendly Heineken – on site is restricted.

Unlike other festivals, you aren’t allowed to watch music and drink at the same time, and over-zealous security guards ensure that all boozing goes on in caged off areas that flank Kosakowo Airport’s enormous airfield, Open’er’s home since 2006. While this definitely hovers over the Totalitarian end of the ‘fun police’ spectrum, it does mean that the 15 minute trek between the main stage and second largest Tent Stage is more like strolling through a noisy meadow than picking your way through the aftermath of an explosion at a recycling centre.

It’s not only its varied and international line-up (Lykke Li, Banks, Foals, Wildbeasts) that attracts festival fans from far and wide – Open’er is the cheapest festival in Europe, with four-day tickets costing just £108. So I was unsurprised to meet a group of British lads who’d travelled over from Chesterfield. It was their second time in Gydnia, but unlike their trip in 2008, they had failed to bring any sleeping bags with them – and despite temperatures hitting 26° over the weekend, at night time it was bitterly cold. While they had jumped on a low cost airline to make the 2-hour flight, a group of Russians told me they had taken a 24-hour sleeper train from Saint Petersburg.

I think it goes without saying whose was the more enjoyable journey.

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