The TriCity set love nothing more than a good old cultural knees-up, and with that fantastically balmy summer sun comes a whole heap of fixtures ready to keep the passing crowds fed, watered and entertained. Or at least mildly bemused at the sights laid before them…
Jun – Sense of Humour Fest
As festival names go, well, it’s a new one on us, but the annual showing of comedic talent, artists, performers and cabaret acts still reigns supreme as one of the most popular events in Gdansk.
Jul – Heineken Open'er
July heralds the mass takeover of Gdynia’s Kosakowo Airport when the biggest open-air music fest in Polish history lands in town. We’re talking beach areas, gastro zones, camp sites, military hangars turned into giant chill-out corners and everyone from Fatboy Slim to Basement Jaxx, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon and Pearl Jam rocking the crowds.
Jul – International Fest of Street Feature
Another of the calendar highlights, July also sees the historic alleys of Gdansk turned into a living theatre as top notch jugglers, mime artists, comedians, acrobats, stilt walkers and performers from across the globe come together for one of the top 10 most popular street festivals on the planet.
Jul – Sail Gdansk
The city’s shout out to its rich maritime history. Get the boys down to the harbour for a nautical feast of sailing, parades, regattas and even a few of the old sea shanties thrown in for good measure.
Aug – St Dominic’s Fair
Back in 1260 on a balmy Wednesday evening (we’re guessing), Pope Alexander IV, having spied far too many mullets and caped crusaders staggering about town (possibly), decided a mass pardon was needed to restore law and order to his neck of the woods. And so on 4th August many moons ago, St Dominic’s Fair was born. Mass prayer was soon dropped, however, when every Tom, Dick, Harry and Jack Sparrow caught word of the new gig on the block and merrily sailed into port to ply their trade. Liquid gold was consumed by the gallon, wares were sold, crocodiles escaped, ran amok through the village and took on their own triathlon in the nearby Motlawa River and the local circus rolled into town. And so began one of the biggest cultural open-air events ever to be held in Europe. Fast forward 750 or so years and the town’s biggest shindig still pulls in over 70,000 fans a day, all keen to take in the fireworks, parades, concerts, feasts, dragon boat rallies and miles of stalls that line the city’s streets throughout the 23 day extravaganza.
Aug – Shakespearean Fest
The annual nod to Bill the Bard. Possibly not the first thing you’d expect to find on your Polish travels but a stalwart favourite with the locals nonetheless. Keep an eye out for some first rate performances in venues and streets across the city.
Sept – Sopot Song Fest
Ah. And so we come to September and Poland’s massive Eurovision-esque type song contest. There’s every chance you’ve never heard of it, but this musical gathering is actually one of Europe’s biggest annual song contests and has attracted everyone from Elton John to Johnny Cash to Kool & the Gang and Kajagoogoo. And that’s not all folks! Several home grown acts have actually lifted the trophy on more than one occasion! We also have to give a mighty salute to Sam Fox for her stirling efforts.
Sept – Gdynia Film Fest
One of the biggest Polish film events of all time sees top dollar international screenings across the city as the country’s leading actors, directors and crew battle it out to be awarded the prestigious Golden Lions Award by a Polish all-star judging panel of their peers. Although we suspect their eyes may be firmly set on the slightly more appealing prize of a whole wad of cash for the lucky recipient of Best Film…
Prime position on the coast of the Gdansk Bay also puts you within striking distance of some mighty fine stretches of sand, all beautifully clean and all packed to the hilt with stunningly friendly and fun-loving locals when summer hits the shore. A few to mention;