Winners of Blues Aperitiv: Robert Kordylewski Trio, Kiero Grande and The Bad Week

The Blues Aperitiv 2024 jury had a much more difficult task than in previous years. While usually roughly the number of bands that shine during the competition then appear on the imaginary podium, this year any of the seven finalists could have won without any exaggeration.

The level of Blues Aperitiv was very high not only in terms of the playing prowess, interplay and authorial input of all involved, but also in the unprecedented diversity of styles. In fact, none of the participating groups followed the dogmas of blues tooth and nail, some of them transcending them in terms of expression, others in terms of genre – towards rock, folk, jazz, bluegrass or Americana.

In spite of the difficult decision-making among the balanced participants, the jury finally decided on the victory of the Polish band Robert Kordylewski Trio, which appealed with its playing brilliance and delicate blues sound, and the Slovak Kiero Grande. They have already participated in the Blues Aperitif in the past years, but their current excellent over-style performance testified to a great progress and very active musicianship.

The Audience Award went to Serbian trio The Bad Week, a group with certainly the most energetic and audience-friendly performance of the evening. All three award-winning groups will perform at the 2024 International Blues Alive Festival in Šumperk (14-16 November). As a special bonus, the jury selected the Czech group Reverend Killjoy which inventively works with the fusion of blues and bluegrass music to participate in the summer stage of Blues Alive at the festival in Boskovice (July 4, 2024).

To our great joy, Blues Aperitiv also set an attendance record, with more than three hundred people in the venue.

The Blues Aperitiv contest takes place on April 13th

The Blues Aperitiv competition show will start on Saturday at 7 pm at the House of Culture in Šumperk. The international jury led by Blues Alive program director Ondřej Bezr has selected The Bad Week, Robert Kordylewski Trio, Noises From The Swamp, Reverend Killjoy, Navratil Brothers, Back to Roots and Kiero Grande for the final.

If anything was a pleasant surprise this year, it was two related things. That is, the high proportion of bands that either play exclusively acoustic instruments or have a significant accoustic sound-shaping component in their music. And secondly, a looser but all the more sympathetic and original approach to blues music, which in their conception is more of a roots music, along with folk, country or bluegrass, and the overall signature sound of any given band is more akin to the somewhat more generic umbrella term “Americana”. This applies both to the two foreign advancing bands, Serbia’s The Bad Week and Poland’s Robert Kordylewski Trio, and – to the great delight of the jury – also to the three domestic finalists, Noises From The Swamp, Reverend Killjoy and Navratil Brothers. It is also pleasing that, apart from the clear prevalence of new faces among the entries, we also note ensembles that have already competed in Blues Aperitiv in previous years, did not give up, worked on themselves and entered again this year. Among such ensembles, which can be considered almost the inventory of the Blues Aperitiv finals, are the local Back to Roots and Slovak Kiero Grande.

The organizers guarantee three bands, selected from seven finalists by an international jury or the audience, to advance to this year’s Blues Alive Festival. It will take place from 14 to 16 November 2024.

Come to the House of Culture in Šumperk on Saturday 13th April to see the best contemporary blues of Central Europe!


Call for submissions to the Blues Aperitiv competition for new talents

The Blues Aperitiv music competition for new blues and blues-based talent is open to all bands or musicians, regardless of country of origin. The main attraction for the winners is the opportunity to perform at the Blues Alive 2024 festival, which this year takes place from 14-16 November. The deadline for entries is March 1.

From all the entries, a panel of judges will select seven runners-up who will play on the final night on Saturday April 13th, 2024 at the House of Culture in Šumperk. The finalists will present themselves to an expert international jury made up of publicists, musicians, promoters and, last but not least, to an experienced audience. The chairman of the jury is Ondřej Bezr, the Blues Alive program director.

From this final evening, two winners will go on to Blues Alive 2024 in November. The performer who receives the most votes from the audience will also get a chance to see the festival. Other performers who impress the jury or other members of the professional public at the Blues Aperitiv showcase may also receive invitations to play at Blues Alive or other Czech or international festivals. Successful graduates of Blues Aperitiv, for example, regularly perform on the summer stage of Blues Alive during the July festival in Boskovice.

Conditions for selection:

  • Those interested in taking part in the Blues Aperitiv competition showcase and, if they win, in the Blues Alive International Festival, can send their applications to aperitiv@bluesalive.cz
  • The deadline for submissions is March 1st, 2024.
  • The application must include the artist name, band lineup, technical requirements, website, a current print-quality photograph, a brief band/performer profile, and two reliable phone and email contacts.
  • Please submit your recordings in digital format. A minimum of three mp3 samples, or a link to a digital player (Bandcamp or YouTube type, but not streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, etc.), should be sent with your application. Do not send CDs or other hard music media.
  • Performers who have attended Blues Aperitiv in the past but have not won in the last 5 years are eligible to apply.

Here are the results of the international competition Blues Aperitiv 2023

The international jury of Blues Aperitiv consisting of Ondřej Bezr (dramaturg of Blues Alive), Davide Grandi (president of the European Blues Union), Daniel Salontay (musician, Longital), Milan Tesar (editor of Radio Proglas) and Dany Stejskal (publisher of the music monthly Headliner) noted the high level of all the contestants and chose two of the three winners.

This time the jury award went to the Czech bands Cold Licks and Readymade Backsliders, both of which are mainly based on original blues-rock repertoire. The Audience Award went to the representatives of Poland, the Cracow band Dark Leaves, relying on dynamic, mostly acoustic expression. The musicianship level of all the participating bands was indiscriminately excellent this year and all of them could have advanced. We will meet the three winning bands on 16-18 November at the Blues Alive 2023 International Festival. Blues Aperitiv also set an all-time attendance record and we are delighted that the competition is enjoying full health.


Seven talented bands from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will play in the finals of the Blues Aperitiv competition on 15 April 2023 in Šumperk

Seven bands have been selected by an expert jury for the final of the Blues Aperitiv competition, which will take place on 15th April 2023 at the House of Culture in Šumperk. The bands Amiya (Poland), Back To Roots (Czech Republic), Cold Licks (Czech Republic), Dark Leaves (Poland), Her Memories (Slovakia), Kiero Grande (Slovakia) and Readymade Backsliders (Czech Republic) will perform live.

From this final night, two winners will go on to Blues Alive 2023, which takes place this year from 16-18 November. The performer who receives the most votes from the audience will also get the chance to go to the festival.

As every year, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles predominated among the entries. “This year, however, the English, Belgians, Romanians and Hungarians were also among those interested in making it to the final. This means that the awareness of Blues Aperitiv is growing,” says Ondřej Bezr, the chairman of the jury. In terms of style, various modifications of blues rock prevail among the bands, while orthodox efforts to replicate classic American models are on the wane, and hand in hand with this, their own original creations are pleasingly gaining the upper hand over the adoption of blues standards.

For the first time ever, the jury of the Blues Aperitiv finals will consist of five members. The festival’s program director Ondřej Bezr will be the chairman, together with him the bands will be evaluated by the music publicist and radio editor Milan Tesar, the publisher of the music magazine Headliner Dany Stejskal, the musician, member of the Slovak band Longital Daniel Salontay and a very special guest of the festival who will sit on the jury will be the Italian blues expert and president of the European Blues Union Davide Grandi.

The Blues Aperitiv music competition for new blues and blues-based talents is organized by the international Blues Alive festival in Šumperk in cooperation with the Czech Blues Union.

Here are the results of the international competition Blues Aperitiv 2022. Congratulations.

The following acts are advancing to the lineup of Blues Alive Festival (Šumperk 17.- 19.11.2022):
Black Pin (PL)
Steven´s (CZ)
Audience Award:
Dazed and Confused (CZ)

Steven´s (CZ) are advancing to the lineup of Blues Alive Poland (Chorzów 20.11.2022).
The following artists have been promoted to the summer stage of Blues Alive at the Boskovice Festival and Front Porch Blues:
Steven´s (CZ)

Calls for submissions for Blues Aperitiv 2022

Blues Aperitiv is a contest for blues musicians organized by international Blues Alive Festival taking place in Šumperk, Czech Republic. The contest is open to all music acts regardless their country of origin. The deadline for submissions is March 15th, 2022.

Winners of the competition will have a unique chance to perform at Blues Alive Festival in mid November. Out of all submitted applications an international jury will select 7 best acts which will qualify to perform live at the final Blues Aperitiv concert in front of jury and audience at House of Culture in Šumperk on April 23rd, 2022. Chairman of the international jury is Ondrej Bezr, program director of Blues Alive Festival.

Two winners of the April contest will receive slots at 26th edition of Blues Alive Festival taking place between November 17th and 19th, 2022.

Conditions for entries to the Blues Aperitiv contest:

– Artists interested in participating at the contest must apply by email to Michaela Horakova at horakova@dksumperk.cz
– deadline for submissions is March 15th, 2022
– The application must include artist name, band lineup, technical rider, facebook and www links, high resolution photo, a brief biography, and a reliable phone and email contact.
– Application must include current artist recording in digital format. Please send at least 3 songs in mp3 format or a link to a digital player such as Bandcamp or YouTube by email to the above address (please do NOT send links to streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, etc.).
– Competition is open to solo artists and bands regardless their country of origin. Previous participants of Blues Aperitiv are also welcome.