Record New Year’s Eve numbers disputed

A mix of national and foreign performers were featured at each event. All of the events ran from around 20:00 to 01:30 with expenditure ranging from 3.5 mln zloty in Warsaw, 2.3 mln zloty in Krakow and 2 mln zloty in Wroclaw. Police reports were consistent across the cities with no serious offences or injuries reported.

Warsaw reported that 20,000 people attended its New Year’s celebrations, whilst Krakow’s claim of 190,000 people was described “impossible” by Katarzyna Ratajczyk from the Warsaw Promotion Bureau, because Rynek Glowny (the main Market Square) could not hold more than 45,000.

Krakow’s mayoral spokesperson, Marcin Helbin, replied by saying that if Ratajczyk didn’t believe the numbers, she could spend the next New Year’s Eve in Krakow. However, when Wroclaw’s mayoral spokesperson, Marcin Garncarz, announced the attendance of 200,000 people at their New Year’s celebrations, Krakow began screaming foul.

For all the bombastic rhetoric and cajoling, only Warsaw based its figures on official police statistics of people per square meter in the venue area. For this the police have been criticised by Warsaw’s Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.

Krakow’s unofficial police statistics also indicate a smaller audience than that claimed by event officials. Krakow’s Festival Bureau gave a number of 190,000 for “Rynek Glowny and neighboring streets” at “the climax of the party.”

It is unlikely that the disputed figures will change for Krakow. “We won’t give any official numbers, our colleagues from Warsaw did and they got into trouble. We don’t want to get our fingers burned,” said Dariusz Nowak police spokesperson for Malopolska.

Krakow and Wroclaw event organisers have stirred up old rivalries among officials and citizens from both cities with internet forums overloaded by incendiary comments about the authenticity of competing claims. Obviously they are unaware of the saying “less is more” though definitely partial to the methods of “give or take”.

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