Now that you’ve absorbed some of Kraków’s atmosphere, let’s base our next trip around a calendar of festivals held in the city. Once again, Kraków can boast the highest number of jazz events, festivals and competitions in Poland. Here is a selection of some of the most important ones.
Spring brings the Young and Old, or Jazz in Kraków International Festival, presenting some of the most important work being done in the genre in Poland, Europe and around the world since 1995.
It is followed by the Summer Jazz Festival Kraków. Running for around a month, it is a review of Polish jazz ensembles with regular guest stars from abroad, including Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Return to Forever. One of the most colourful elements of the festival is the New Orleans Sunday, with a parade taking to the streets of the Old Town and gardens of cafés lining the Main Market Square resounding with trad jazz by groups such as the Old Metropolitan Band, Boba Jazz Band and Poland’s longest-running ensemble of this kind: the Jazz Band Ball Orchestra. The Summer Jazz Festival Kraków coincides with the Jazz Night featuring dozens of concerts at venues all over the city.
At the height of summer, on alternate years Kraków hosts events commemorating the city’s late jazz maestros: the Jarek Śmietana International Jazz Guitar Competition and the Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition. The globally-acclaimed events draw veterans of jazz from all over the globe to sit on both juries and up-and-coming musicians who often go on to headline renowned festivals.