Yesterday was the official opening of the new National Stadium here in Warsaw. We might well have braved the -12C and attended the event but we were on our way back from Rome so we missed it. By all accounts it went well although perhaps not as well attended as they would have liked. Many of the photos show plenty of empty space or do their best to make the crowds look bigger then they were. You can see some videos and photos on the TVN website (Polish text).
What caught my eye last week was the article on The News.Pl where they say the Warsaw fire brigade refused to give a health and safety certificate for the stadium last Monday but city hall overturned their decision and granted permission to open anyway. Considering the number of people to be housed in the stadium for a) the opening ceremony, b) Legia vs Wisła cup final match on 11 Feb and c) Poland vs Portugal on 29 Feb, it seems strange to be taking risks with safety so what’s going on here? Just some political shenanigans, the fire brigade dodging their responsibilities or is there really something to worry about? Mind you, another site says “safety officials only gave a green light on Friday” so perhaps whatever was an issue on Monday was fixed by Friday? It would be nice to get some clarity on this as there have been rumours for a while about health and safety issues in the new stadium and for a project as significant and public as this I think a clear public statement should be made.
Although we missed the event, we did drive past in the taxi from the airport and I must say again how much I like the design of the stadium. I think it’s gorgeous both in the design of the building itself and also the location within the city. I can’t think of any other stadium I’ve seen that is quite as impressive so I look forward to my first chance to use it as a spectator.
As Warsaw residents we were getting excited about the possibility that more bands will do gigs here instead of, or as well as, choosing Spodek in Katowice but thinking further it is only likely to be the superstars who do that because of the size of the place. Be a bit embarrasing for many artists to do a gig there and the place looks empty. So, when can we have a good sized (10-15,000 seats) concert hall in Warsaw please? One band who are confident enough to fill the new stadium are Coldplay who will perform on September 19th. Must get tickets but which ones?
The VIP tickets for grossly inflated price include extras like – alcohol, finger food, more alcohol and an “after party” with a DJ. Wow. Not.