Sopot International Song Festival

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Sopot International Song Festival
Location(s) Gdańsk 1961-1963
Sopot 1964-2009, since 2012
Years active 1961–1980, 1984–2009, 2012–present

The Sopot International Song Festival (later called Intervision Song Contest, from 1977–1980) is an international song contest held in Sopot, Poland.[1] It was the biggest Polish music festival altogether with the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole, and one of the biggest annual song contest in Europe. The contest was transmitted live by the Polish state television, TVP between 1994 and 2004. Later, the concert was broadcast by the private media station TVN. In 2012 concert will broadcast by Polsat.


The first Sopot festival was initiated and organised in 1961 by Władysław Szpilman, assisted by Szymon Zakrzewski from Polish Artists Management (PAGART).[2] The first three editions were held in the Gdansk Shipyard hall (1961–1963), after which the festival moved to the Forest Opera (Opera Lesna). The main prize has been Amber Nightingale through most of its history.

Between 1977 and 1980 it was replaced by the Intervision Song Contest, which was still held in Sopot. Unlike the Eurovision Song Contest, the Sopot International Music Festival often changed its formulas to pick a winner and offered many different contests for its participants. For example, at the 4th Intervision Song Festival (held in Sopot August 20–23, 1980) two competitions were effective: one for artists representing television companies, the other for those representing record companies. In the first the jury considered the artistic merits of the songs entered; while in the second, it judged the performers' interpretation."[3] The festival has always been open to non-European acts, and countries like Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa and many others have been represented in this event.

The contest lost popularity in Poland and abroad in the 1980s, declining further during the 1990s, and the rather unconvincing organisations by TVP made the authorities of Sopot give the organization of the 2005 Sopot International Song Festival to a private TV channel, TVN.

Since 1999, there was no contest. TVP chose to invite well-known artists instead, featuring the likes of Whitney Houston or The Corrs. In 2005, TVN was expected to bring the competition back. In 2006 TVN invited Elton John. The Sopot International Song Festival is usually considered bigger than the Benidorm International Song Festival because of its ability to attract star performers.

The festival also provided opportunity to listen to international stars. In the past, it featured Charles Aznavour, Boney M, Johnny Cash, and more recently: Chuck Berry, Vanessa Mae, Annie Lennox, Vaya Con Dios, Chris Rea, Tanita Tikaram, La Toya Jackson, Whitney Houston, Kajagoogoo, and Goran Bregovic.

Winners by year[edit]

This list includes only winners of the most prestigious contests within the Sopot Music Festival. Sometimes one contest has overshadowed another with time. Grand Prix de disque was the most prestigious award between 1974 and 1976. The Intervision Contest was relegated it to secondary importance, yet it continued until 1979. The festival has also given prizes for Best Interpretation in the 1960s, the Amber Nightingdale in the 1980s and 1990s and Winner Of The Polish Day on and off from the 1960s to the 1980s.[4]

1961-1973 - Price for the Masterpiece

1974-1976 - Grand Prix de disque

1977-1980 - Intervision Song Contest

1984-1987 Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix

1988-1990 - Golden Disc

1991-1993 Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix

1994-2004 - Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix (with TVP)

2005-2011 Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix (with TVN)

2012- Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix (with Polsat)

Winners by country[edit]

Wins Country Years
10  Poland 1967, 1968, 1972*, 1979, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1995, 2005, 2007
4  Soviet Union 1963*, 1972*, 1976, 1978
 United Kingdom 1971, 1973, 1975, 2006
3  Sweden 1985, 2008, 2012
 United States 1966, 1986, 1988
2  Greece 1962, 1964
 France 1963*, 2013
 Canada 1965, 1970
  Switzerland 1961, 1969
 Finland 1974, 1980
1  Austria 1992
 Italy 1998
 Czechoslovakia 1977
 West Germany 1987
 Latvia 1991
 Lithuania 1993
 Netherlands 1997
 Norway 1989
 Australia 2009
*More than one winner at that year.

Selected winners of other prizes and non-winners[edit]


  1. ^ "Sopot Summer Capital", Polish Cultures
  2. ^
  3. ^ Waschko, Roman (1980-09-06). "Finn Singer Triumphant At Sopot Contest". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media). p. 65. Retrieved 2011-04-05. "Two competitions were held at the 4th Intervision Song Festival in Sopot August 20–23, 1980: one for artists representing television companies, the other for those representing record companies. In the first the jury considered the artistic merits of the songs entered; while the performers' interpretation was judged in the second. The outcome was a victory for Finnish singer Marion in the first contest, "Where Is the Love?" taking the Grand Prix. Six year ago, the same artist won Grand Prix at the Sopot International Song Festival. First prize was shared by Czech performer, Marika Gombitová with "Declaration", and Russian Nikolai Gnatiuk for the song "Dance on a Drum"."  (English)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Międzynarodowy Festiwal Piosenki Polskiej- Sopot Festival «Песня года» site
  5. ^ Interviisut Punatähdet
  6. ^ Sopot Festival 2009 - porażka polskiej piosenki? Wirtualna Polska: Muzyka
  7. ^ Sopot Festival on Polish Wikipedia

External links[edit]