1. Rawa Blues Festival

April 27th-May 3rd 1981


Dżem, Ryszard Pazur Wojciechowski (+ Dżem), Easy Rider, Paweł Ostafil, Jacek Skubikowski, Jan Junou Janowski, Elżbieta Mielczarek, Irek Dudek & Kwadrat, Pick-Up, Mietek Blues Band


The blues festival in Katowice was the idea of Irek Dudek –  the well – known Silesian musician and the fan of traditional blues. But the circumstances were extremely difficult: the blues was hardly presented on air, the foreign albums weren't possible to buy in music shops. 

In the 60's, the gigs of Howlin' Wolf (together with Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim and Hubert Sumlin), Eddy Boyd, Memphis Slim, Champion Jack Dupree and – the decade later – Muddy Waters became the spectactular events for Polish blues fans. 

In the late 70's two festivals – including blues artists – were founded in Poznań and Białystok. But only a few musicians played blues in Poland those years. They were active mostly in the university culturals centres. Writing about the beginnigs of the Rawa Blues Festival, we can't ommit the context: Poland was under the communist regime rule and the censorship influenced the cultural events as well.

„I made the first festival with the students' societies, because those days I couldn't be the owner of my private idea” – said Irek Dudek few years later. That's why the official organizers of the Rawa Blues became students' unions of The Silesian University in Katowice and The Silesian Jazz Club in Gliwice.

Definitely, the cultural background of the Silesian region was very important for the Rawa Blues success. Silesia was the melting pot of interesting artists – inspired by the British blues rock invasion – who played together in various line-ups. Thus, the climate for the forum of the blues: both musical and educational event was prepared.

The most of the first Rawa Blues gigs took place in the small campus clubs in Katowice, such as: „Akant”, „Kwadraty”, „Medyk”, „Puls” and  „Wahadło”. In „Akant”, Irek Dudek Blues Basement was founded. For a few years, regular jam sessions and gigs were held there.

The Festival opened and closed two bigger shows in The Youth Palace and The Baildon Steelwork Sport Arena. On the stage appeared: Paweł Ostafil, Jacek Skubikowski, Jan Janowski, Elżbieta Mielczarek, Dżem with Roman „Pazur” Wojciechowski as the special guest, Easy Rider and Irek Dudek with Kwadrat band. 

The blues concerts held in the small clubs gave - both the musicians and the audience - the intimacy and the feeling of being the alternative, free commonwealth, connected with off the mainstream located music culture. 

As was estimated: The Silesia got the brand new event, which confirmed its law to be the centre of the Polish blues.