FETA – International street and open-air theatres festival in Gdansk
Every year in July, thousands of Gdansk citizens and visitors come to the Lower Gdansk – district where usually nobody comes. This is because of FETA- International street and open-air theatres festival, that takes over the district for one weekend.
FETA started as a one-time event in 1997 – when Gdansk celebrated its millennium. But it was so well received by the public, that soon it changed into a regular event. And although it had to leave Lower Gdansk for the time it was being refurbished, nobody doubts that this is the place where it fits best – with the old fortifications serving as natural amphitheatres.
FETA – dates and tickets
FETA usually takes place on the second weekend of July (the detailed programme is usually announced a couple of weeks earlier). The opening spectacle is usually on Thursday evening, and then the rest follow on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Although some spectacles are performed more than once, it is always a challenge to see all of them. You need to move quickly between the scenes to see the ones you want to see.
Most of the spectacles are free of charge, so all you need to do is just to come in time to find a good viewpoint. Just make sure to remember the rule – the closer to the scene you are, the lower your head should be. So if you are close to the scene, you should seat on the ground, then people with their own seats (there are no seats provided), and then people who want to stand during spectacles. Thus more people are able to see the performance.
For some spectacles you may need to book a ticket (at the FETA information centre) for a small fee. But that only applies to those with limited area for viewers, eg.performed in a tent.
FETA – what to expect?
What to expect from FETA? Well, the best thing is: you never know. Some of the artists will make you laugh, some of the artists will make you cry. Some of them will drag you to the scene to participate in the performance, and some will only encourage you to take a small part in it. Sometimes there is lots of fire, lights and sounds, and sometimes it’s a one-man show of an artist, who performs only with his body. Theatres come from all over Europe, so usually you don’t need to speak any Polish to have fun here. Some of the performances may require parental discretion, and some are specifically targeted at children – it’s usually marked in the programme.
What you might expect are rain (July is the rainiest month in Gdansk) and mosquitos. So prepare for both. But still – remember that your umbrella will block the view of those standing behind you.
FETA – Practical information
Feta is located in Lower Town – it’s a short walk from the Main City – you just need to cross Elblaska Street. The information centre is located in Walowy Square (don’t confuse it with Walowa Street) – you can get a programme here, that includes the map of the venue.
There is a food truck area within the festival, so you don’t need to get back to the centre for dinner. There are also areas with mobile toilets (Toi Toi). Beware, that drinking alcohol in the street is an offence, so you shouldn’t bring alcohol to FETA. There are not many supermarkets in the area, so it’s better to bring anything you might need with you.
There should be some additional buses to the centre after the last performance of the day – but it’s better to walk than to wait for the bus. The centre and SKM station is within a walking distance.