While much of Poland is still catching up to the fact that Katowice is fast emerging as Poland’s preeminent music destination, locals and international music festival attendees have known it for years. On December 11, 2015, Katowice’s musical prowess and cultural status was certified by none other than UNESCO itself as it was officially made a UNESCO City of Music as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative. In honour of this prestigious distinction IYP explores Katowice’s multi-genre musical pedigree.
Joining the Club
The UNESCO Creative Cities initiative was launched in 2004 and its goal is “to foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.” Cities are recognised in 7 different categories: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, Music. Katowice joins Bogota (Columbia), Seville (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Glasgow (Scotland), Gandawa (Belgium), Brazzaville (Congo), Hamamatsu (Japan), as well as Mannheim and Hannover (Germany) to be the newest UNESCO City of Music in the World and the only in Central and Eastern Europe.
All things considered it is quite astounding how in little over 50 years Katowice has gone from being considered a cultural backwater to one of the most dynamic and interesting musical cities in the world. “The UNESCO Creative Cities Network represents an immense potential to assert the role of culture as enabler of sustainable development,” declared the Director-General. This statement especially rings true for Katowice which has been going through a massive transformation from an industrial hub to a post-industrial haven for innovative festivals, concerts, and projects across numerous genres.