Sopot International Song Festival

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Sopot International Song Festival
Also known as Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix
Sopot Top of the Top Festival
Genre Song contest
Country of origin Poland
No. of episodes 47 editions
Production company(s)
Original network
Original release
  • 25 August 1961 (1961-08-25) – 23 August 1980 (1980-08-23)
  • 23 August 1984 (1984-08-23) – 1 June 2009 (2009-06-01)
  • Revival:
    24 August 2012 (2012-08-24) – 23 August 2014 (2014-08-23)
Followed by Intervision Song Contest
Related shows Eurovision Song Contest (1956–)
External links
Official website

The Sopot International Song Festival (later called Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix, Sopot Top of the Top Festival from 2012–13 and Polsat Sopot Festival in 2014) is an annual 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 song contests in Europe.

The contest was organised and transmitted live by the Polish state television broadcaster, Telewizja Polska (TVP) between 1994 and 2004. The following year, the concert was broadcast by the private media station TVN for the first time and remained on TVN until 2009. From 2012 to 2014, the concert was broadcast and organised by Polsat. It was later cancelled by the broadcaster.[2]


Forest Opera in Sopot
Stage for the Sopot Top Of The Top Festival 2013

The first Sopot festival was initiated and organised in 1961 by Władysław Szpilman, assisted by Szymon Zakrzewski from Polish Artists Management (PAGART).[3] The first three editions were held in the Gdansk Shipyard hall (1961–1963), after which the festival moved to the Forest Opera. 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."[4]

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, Tina Turner, The Corrs, Lionel Richie, UB40, Ricky Martin and Simply Red to perform. In 2005, TVN brought the international competition back, taking over from TVP, and in 2006 invited Elton John and Katie Melua. The Sopot International Song Festival is usually considered bigger than the Benidorm International Song Festival because of its ability to attract star performers.

In 2010 and 2011, the festival did not take place due to renovation of the Forest Opera. Since 2012, it is called Sopot Top Of The Top Festival and is broadcast annually by Polsat. In 2014, the name was changed to Polsat Sopot Festival.

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, Belinda Carlisle, Vaya Con Dios, Chris Rea, Tanita Tikaram, La Toya Jackson, 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 and the Intervision Song Contest during 1977–80.

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.[5]

Year Date Country Performer Song(s)
1961–1973: Price for the Masterpiece[5]
1961 25–27 August   Switzerland Jo Rolland "Nous Deux"
1962 6–8 July  Greece Jeanne Yovanna "Ti Krima"
1963 15–18 August  USSR Tamara Miansarova "Pust vsiegda budiet solnce" (ex-aequo)
 France Simone Langlois "Toi et ton sourire" (ex-aequo)
1964 6–12 August  Greece Nadia Constantinoupoulou "Je te remercie mon coeur"
1965 5–8 August  Canada Monique Leyrac "Mon pays"
1966 25–28 August  United States Lana Cantrell "I'm all smiles"
1967 17–20 August  Poland Dana Lerska "Po prostu jestem"
1968 22–25 August  Poland Urszula Sipińska "Po ten kwiat czerwony"
1969 21–24 August   Switzerland Henri Dès "Maria Consuella"
1970 27–30 August  Canada Robert Charlebois "Ordinaire"
1971 26–29 August  United Kingdom Samantha Jones "He Moves Me"
1972 23–26 August  USSR Lev Leschchenko "Ja ne byl z nim znakom" (ex-aequo)
 Poland Andrzej Dąbrowski "Do zakochania jeden krok" (ex-aequo)
1973 21–25 August  United Kingdom Tony Craig "Can You Feel It" and "I Think Of You Baby"
1974–1976: Grand Prix de disque[5]
1974 21–24 August  Finland Marion Rung "Uskon lauluun"
1975 20–23 August  United Kingdom Glen Weston "I Still Love You"
1976 24–29 August  USSR Irina Ponarovskaya "Toropos"
1977–1980: Intervision Song Contest[5]
1977 24–27 August  Czechoslovakia Helena Vondráčková "Malovaný džbánku"
1978 23–26 August  USSR Alla Pugacheva "Vsyo mogut koroli"
1979 22–25 August  Poland Czesław Niemen "Nim przyjdzie wiosna"
1980 20–23 August  Finland Marion Rung "Hyvästi yö"[6]
No festival held from 1981 to 1983
1984–1987: Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix[5]
1984 15–18 August  Poland Krystyna Giżowska "Blue Box"
1985 21–24 August  Sweden Herreys "Summer Party"
1986 20–23 August  United States Mara Getz "Hero Of My Heart"
1987 19–22 August  West Germany Double Take "Rockola"
1988–1990: Golden Disc[5]
1988 20–23 August  United States Kenny James "The Magic In You"
1989 16–19 August  Norway Dance with a Stranger "By"
1990 15–18 August  Poland Lora Szafran "Zły chłopak" and "Trust Me At Once"
1991–1993: Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix[5]
1991 22–25 August  Latvia New Moon "Ice"
1992 27–30 August  Austria Mark Andrews
1993 26–28 August  Lithuania Arina "Rain Is Coming Down"
1994–2004: Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix (with TVP)[5]
1994 26–27 August  Poland Varius Manx "Zanim zrozumiesz"
1995 25–26 August  Poland Kasia Kowalska "Jak rzecz" and "A to co mam"
1996 No competition held
1997 22–23 August  Netherlands Total Touch "Somebody Else's Lover"
1998 21–22 August  Italy Alex Baroni "Male che fa male"
1999 20–22 August  Poland Małgorzata Ostrowska "Lawa"
2000 18–19 August  Czech Republic Helena Vondráčková "Veselé Vánoce a šťastný nový rok"
2001 24–25 August  Belgium Natacha Atlas "Ayeshteni"
2002 23–24 August  Poland Irena Santor "Jeszcze kochasz mnie”
2003 22–23 August  Poland Skaldowie "Hymn o miłości"
2004 No competition held
2005–2011: Sopot Music Festival Grand Prix (with TVN)
2005 2–4 September  Poland Andrzej Piaseczny "Z głębi duszy" (all-Polish contest)
2006 1–3 September  United Kingdom Mattafix "Big City Life"
2007 31 August – 2 September  Poland Feel "A gdy już jest ciemno"
2008 23–24 August  Sweden Oh Laura "Release Me"[5]
2009 1 June  Australia Gabriella Cilmi "Sweet About Me"[7]
No festival held from 2010 to 2011
2012–2013: Sopot Top Of The Top Festival (with Polsat)
2012 24–25 August  Sweden Eric Saade "Hotter Than Fire"
2013 23–24 August  France Imany "You Will Never Know"
2014: Polsat Sopot Festival
2014 22–23 August  Poland Ewa Farna "Cicho"

Winners by country[edit]

Wins Country Years
13  Poland 1967, 1968, 1972*, 1979, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 2014
4  United Kingdom 1971, 1973, 1975, 2006
 Soviet Union 1963*, 1972*, 1976, 1978
3  Sweden 1985, 2008, 2012
 United States 1966, 1986, 1988
2  France 1963*, 2013
 Finland 1974, 1980
 Canada 1965, 1970
  Switzerland 1961, 1969
 Greece 1962, 1964
1  Australia 2009
 Belgium 2001
 Czech Republic 2000
 Italy 1998
 Netherlands 1997
 Lithuania 1993
 Austria 1992
 Latvia 1991
 Norway 1989
 West Germany 1987
 Czechoslovakia 1977
*More than one winner at that year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sopot Summer Capital", Polish Cultures
  2. ^ "Polsat Sopot Festival 2015 odwołany? Polsat rezygnuje z letniego festiwalu [VIDEO] – informacje, premiery teledysków –". Retrieved 2016-05-30. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Międzynarodowy Festiwal Piosenki Polskiej- Sopot Festival «Песня года» site
  6. ^ Interviisut Punatähdet
  7. ^ Sopot Festival 2009 - porażka polskiej piosenki? Wirtualna Polska: Muzyka

External links[edit]