Category: Culture

Rawa Blues – largest indoor Blues Festival in the world

Katowice is the host to the largest indoor Blues Festival in the world – Rawa Blues. 2016 is its 36th year. It’s name comes from the Rawa river that runs through the centre of Katowice. It takes place around the end of September and the beginning of October in Spodek, the large flying saucer like arena near the centre of Katowice and since it was built next door also in NOSPR – the home of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.


The Beginnings

The idea of the Rawa Blues Festival was introduced in 1981. The first festival was organized in the Katowice Theater and gathered about twenty blues bands from all over Poland and 500 fans. Organizing the festival on that times was a big challenge, considering the political background. It was the time when Polish people were struggling with the socialistic system. In 1980, there were the beginnings of Solidarnosc (Solidarity) movements. In 1981, a martial law was introduced in Poland by gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski as head of the authoritarian government. It was the time, when even basic items were hardly available.

Irek Dudek
Irek Dudek

And in that hard times, a group of people, mainly students and blues musicians, decided to organize a blues sessions in Katowice, starting first Rawa Blues edition. On the beginnings, during the 80s the festival systematically received more and more recognition. Polish blues journalist and musicians consider that times of the festival as a key element in fostering the development of Polish blues scene. Rawa Blues Festival is the only festival, where all legendary Polish blues artists have played, and where a lot of them started their artistic career. The list include: Tadeusz Nalepa, Dżem, Easy Rider, Jan Kyks Skrzek, Irek Dudek, Martyna Jakubowicz, Jan Janowski, Silesian Blues Band, Nocna Zmiana Bluesa to name only a few.

The festival director is Irek Dudek  a Polish singer, composer, multiinstrumentalist and songwriter. He is well known in Poland and western Europe for his blues achievements

Corey Harris
Corey Harris

The first night of the 2016 Festival held at NOSPR featured Corey Harris solo during the first half Keb’ Mo’ & NOSPR orchestra with an appearance from Rawa Blues organiser Irek Dudek – himself a well-known Blues artist who increased the popularity of Blues in Poland.

Keb Mo
Keb Mo

More information on the Rawa Blues website

Katowice – UNESCO City of Music

Katowice has been declared a City of Music by UNESCO. Now the city is among 19 global destinations appreciated for its music heritage forming part of the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Apart from Katowice, nine other cities have also been given the title today – including Kingston in Jamaica, Salvador in Brazil and Liverpool in the UK.


Katowice has become the first Central and Eastern European city to win the title, joining such destinations as Bogota (Colombia), Bologna (Italy), Seville (Spain), Glasgow (United Kingdom), Ghent (Belgium), Brazzaville (The Congo), Hamamatsu (Japan), and Mannheim and Hanover in Germany. The Silesian city boasts such prestigious ensembles as the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra with its recently-opened concert hall, the Silesian Philharmonic, the Silesian Quartet, and the Camerata Silesia Choir. Katowice is also the venue of thirty music festivals. 

Katowice 2

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 69 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. More information.

music concert
© City of Gardens; music concert at the top of the former Warszawa mine shaft (part of Silesian Museum)

The City of Music status has been awarded to Katowice due to intensity and diversity of music in Katowice – classical music, contribution to development of jazz and blues, and commitment to have great alternative and electronic festivals: OFF Festival and Tauron Nowa Muzyka. The city also owes the title to great Katowice composers: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Wojciech Kilar as well as to investment undertakings, for example the new seat of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Karol Szy­manowski Acad­emy of Music
Karol Szy­manowski Acad­emy of Music
rawa blues
Rawa Blues Festival - is the largest indoor blues fes­ti­val in the world. It attracts thou­sands of fans from all over the world every year. Rawa received the Keep­ing The Blues Alive Award in 2012 and has estab­lished Katow­ice as the cap­i­tal of Pol­ish and Euro­pean blues.

More about Katowice - City of Music.