Autumn with the Blues

Autumn in Bialystok belongs to the blues! ‘Autumn with the Blues’ is the oldest blues festival in Poland, which 30th edition will be held this year. The music event takes place in November for several days. It gathers crowds of blues fans not only from Bialystok, but from the whole country. Among many kinds of blues genres presented at the festival are blues acoustic, electric, blues-rock, gospel, boogie, jump or swinging rhythm’n’blues. ‘Autumn with the Blues’ is not just music, there are photographic exhibitions, musical performances, film screenings and meetings arranged. The organizer of the first ‘Autumn’ in 1978, the Municipal House of Culture in Bialystok (former name of Bialystok Cultural Centre, which has so far organized event), but the festival would not exist if not for the ingenuity and the determination of ‘Kasa Chorych’ band and its leader – Ryszard ‘Skiba’ Skibinski. Autumn with the Blues became the second, after the Poznan ‘Folk-Blues Meeting’ festival presenting Polish blues musicians. Next to ‘Kasa Chorych’ and Irjan band (Irek Dudek and Jan Janowski), such performers as Martyna Jakubowicz and country musicians: Michal Luszczynski and Mr. Olek Country Band were starring the festival. In the following years, blues echoed in the most exclusive scenes of Bialystok: the philharmonic, theater and clubs. Next autumns, in addition to Tadeusz Nalepa and ‘Kasa Chorych’ new names of debutantes appeared in the posters: Pawel Ostafila, Elzbieta Mielczarek, Stanislaw Sojka and ‘The Blues Nightshift’. They soon became the best Polish musicians. After the 11th edition of ‘Autumn with the Blues’, in 1988, the festival was suspended. In 1996 Bialystok Cultural Centre reactivated the event, and since that time it takes place regularly. From 1998 to 2002 it was accompanied by a contest whose winners were among others: Kidnapper, Max Bonard Band Formation Fru or JJ Band. For all these years, Autumn with the Blues in Bialystok hosted stars of Polish and international blues, including: Ryszard Riedel, Jan Skrzek, Jorgos Skolias, SBB, Martyna Jakubowska, Krzak, Mira Kubasinska, Carlos Johnson, Ana Popovic, B.B. & The Blues Shacks, Paul Lamb & The King Snakes, The California Honeydrops, The Jackson Singers, Big Daddy Wilson, Moreland & Arbuckle, Howlin’ Bill, BabaJack, Earl Thomas, Veronica & the Red Wine Serenaders. An interesting promotion of ‘Autumn with the Blues’ is worth mentioning. It has been conducted since 2012 during the festival (and a few weeks before it). Exactly at noon, Bialystok inhabitants can hear from the town hall tower a concertina version of the bugle call performed by the well-known bluesman Tomek Kaminski. An unusual tribute to the originator of the festival, Ryszard Skibinski was made after his death in 1983, his friends and fans organized Blues All Souls’ Day. This event is organized continuously until today, also in November.
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