Open Blues - Dance in Poland

1-4 September 2022

Poland’s first blues dance event: parties, workshops, and live music. 100% DIY.

About

Open Blues is a non-profit do-it-yourself festival. The main organisers deal with renting the venue, registrations, scheduling and some logistics, but music, workshops, cooking and merriment is crowdsourced!

Why don’t we follow the usual workshop format and invite some star teachers and segregate dancer beginner to advanced?

The simple answer is this: There are hundreds of such events in Europe anyway and they are all very good in satisfying the need for top-down instruction (and we’ll have some star teachers at Open Blues too!). Yet, there is little horizontal and inter-community exchange outside of the social dance floor. Let’s fix this!

Whatever your dance passion is bring it to Open Blues, if you think it might enrich the community. You can request a very limited time frame (e.g. 30 minutes) or a bigger workshop (e.g. 90 minutes), you can lead it on your own or with your friends, with instruments or without, you can create a space for experimentation or give a traditional class etc.

Venue

Piotrowice Nyskie Palace is in Silesia. The nearest airports are Wrocław (PL), Ostrava (CZ), Pardubice (CZ), Katowice (PL), Brno (CZ). The nearest transportation hub is in Nysa, a 20 minute drive from the Palace.

Open Blues takes place at a beautiful and historically rich palace, which fell into disrepair during the Soviet rule over Poland 1945-89. It was bought by a Polish-British couple, Anna and Jim, who are now renovating it with much love. They make it available for visitors and cultural events. This unfinished palace is their home; a home they want to share. The palace has a raw feel that invites experimentation, so feel free to explore. However, remember to respect Anna’s and Jim’s privacy!

Here is what Anna & Jim have to say about their home:

The house dates from around 1300, but with a rebuild every 100 years or so, it’s hard to say which bit was built when. Architectural historians and archaeologists love the questions this building asks, and we don’t yet have all the answers. There are frescoes, glorious Renaissance painted ceilings, and sgraffito (a plaster technique). The working chapel (it’s the village church, Mass twice a week) has an impressive baroque altar-piece, recently restored.

In 2012, our on-going restoration was short-listed for a prestigious Europa Nostra/European Union Award for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (the only Polish project so honoured). There is still work in progress, so we didn’t win. Nonetheless, we are proud of getting close, and we love to talk about our Big House Project with guests.

Food

We cook all of our food together. All food is vegan or vegetarian.

There is no supermarket in the village, the nearest one is a 15 minutes drive away.

Schedule

Thursday
14-17 Registration, hangout and tasks (please eat/bring lunch)
18-21 Wine reception and Dinner
21-late Party

Friday
10-12 self-service breakfast
13-15 Brunch
19-20 Dinner
21-late Party

Saturday
10-12 self-service breakfast
13-15 Brunch
19-20 Dinner
21-late Party

Sunday
10-12 Brunch
12-16 Everyone cleans!
16 … goodbyes, chillout and afterparty

Financials

We run this non-profit. Our costs are roughly this:

Bands 15%
Food 37%
Venue 40%
Misc 8%
We try to have a 5-10% buffer which we reinvest into the next editions.

FAQ

  • What are the workshops and who are the teachers?

    • This is a DIY festival and all activities are community-led, so we usually only find out very late and there are many changes, so we don't advertise the exact workshops before the festival. If you'd like to lead a workshop, get in touch with Isabella. Open Blues attracts top dancers from all over the world.

  • Can I arrive earlier or stay longer?

    • Yes, you can. Some of us will be there Monday onwards and some will only leave on Monday. An additional night costs €15-35 depending on your choice. Please resolve these directly with Jim or Anna.

  • Can I bring pets or children?

    • Yes, as long as they don't bother the farm animals. There are geese, chickens, turkeys, dogs and cats.

  • I have a pet or dust allergy. Can I come?

    • The place is a farm, so there are lots of animals. However, there are usually no animals in the ballroom or upstairs. There sometimes can be.

  • What's the prepayment about?

    • We need it as a guarantee to cover our fixed costs. It's, in general, non-refundable, but you can find someone to take your spot.

  • What are the accommodation options like?

    • The options:

      • Single and double beds: it's a bed in a shared room. Sheets and linen are included. The rooms are very different and we generally try to accommodate everyone. When signing up for a double bed, please make sure the other person wants to share a bed with you and that they sign up for the same kind of ticket. We expect you to name each other on the registration and not just make a wish list.

      • Mattress: You will have to find your own mattress and make yourself comfortable. There are dozens of mattresses in the palace and in the barns. Just carry it to where you'll be comfortable and then remember to take it back when you leave. There no sheets provided, so bring your sleeping bag or some linen.

      • Tent/floor: bring your own mat and sleeping options. You probably know what you're doing.

    • Keep in mind, there are barns and if it's not very cold, they are very comfortable and much more quiet than the palace. There are even showers there (only cold water), but when it's warm they are an amazing option.

    • Also, all room facilities (kitchens, bathrooms etc.) are shared, even if they're in your room. Keep in mind that the palace only has 10 bathrooms or so, but we're 60 people, so allow access to the facilities in your room.

  • What are the food options?

    • We all cook together as a communal activity. All food is vegetarian or vegan.

  • How can I get there?

    • The best option is by car, or sharing a ride with someone who does. Fill out the ridesharing and travel buddy form to find someone. Alternatively, you can travel by train to Nysa, and ask to be picked up by someone at the festival or get a taxi from Nysa (this would cost around 25 EUR).