“It feels so good to be partying with you,” Flohio tells the crowd gathered under the canvas of Open’er’s Alter Stage today (July 1). It’s later Friday afternoon and the festival is just getting going, but the south London rapper bounds onto the stage with enough energy to shake everyone out of their lethargy and back into party mode. “Hold on tight for this ride,” she warns before launching into a set that feels like it could be a fiery highlight of the day.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to find out if that’s true. After two-and-a-half songs, including an infectious version of ‘My World’, the MC and her DJ get told they have to halt their performance. An almighty storm is brewing over Gdynia and the festival has decided to pull the plug for everyone’s safety. The music might have stopped, but Flohio doesn’t give up that easy, instead rapping a cappella and, when her microphone is eventually turned off, lighting up on stage and taking selfies and videos instead.
But then the heavens open, thunder booms around the festival site and lightning lashes through the sky for near enough four hours. Punters are evacuated and hopes of seeing some of the stellar artists booked to play today, including Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion and Biffy Clyro, are dashed. The storm can’t ruin the day entirely, though – as soon as it passes, things get going again and festival-goers return to the site in droves to squeeze as much party time out of the night as they can.
Back in the Alter Stage, Sky Ferreira has the role of welcoming fans back into the tent and, despite technical issues plaguing the performance, does a solid job. ‘Boys’ and ’24 Hours’ are gleaming anthems that easily get everyone back in the mood for the festival, while the goth atmospherics of ‘Downhill Lullaby’ perfectly suit the overcast skies that linger on the horizon outside. Her set is a reminder of just how perfect her debut album ‘Night Time, My Time’ was – from the crunching, industrial pop of ‘Heavy Metal Heart’ to the powerful ‘Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)’. It’s a shame that problems diminish what could be an exceptional set, but it’s clear that Ferreira is on shining form regardless.
Across the site in the Beat Stage, Russian DJ Anfisa Letyago helps restart the rave, dropping techno bangers to a crowd ready to lap them up, while the Czujesz Klimat? Stage plays host to Polish acts. Meek, Oh Why? brings alternative hip-hop to the small tent, backed by a band playing spacey, jazzy instrumentals, and singer Zalia showcases her star power with a set of hypnotic and addictive pop gems. They, and the rest of the performances that get to go ahead today, are proof that you can’t keep a good festival like Open’er down for long.