60 years ago, on April 5, 1956, the first concert was staged in the Stodoła Central Club for Students of the Warsaw University of Technology. The first performance there was given by jazz musicians, a septet of Janusz Zabieliński, a clarinettist. Over the next years, the club has undergone an enormous transformation.
Almost like a barn
Initially, the club was seated in a rented wooden barrack located in Emilii Plater Street, where a student canteen operated at the day time. Initially, it was a bankhouse for builders from USRR who worked on the construction of the Palace of Science and Culture. Hence the Polish name of the club Stodoła [barn].
Only club cards holders accompanied just by one person from outside each could enter the club. Apart from jazz concerts, dance parties and cabaret performances were staged there. The first performance of a popular at that time W tym szaleństwie jest metoda [Though this be madness, yet there’s method in’t] comedy show was organised there on 22 May 1957.
From the very beginning, the Stodoła Club attracted stars, to mention Sława Przybylska, Jan Tadeusz Stanisławski and Henio Meloman who were old stagers there. Among jazz musicians who performed at Stodoła were Old Timers, Hagaw, Vistula Rivers Band and Gold Washboard. It was at the Stodoła Club that the first Old Jazz Meeting festival was organised, during which the Złota Tarka [Golden Washbard] award was given. It was also at the Stodoła Club that famous Polish performers, such as Iga Cembrzyńska, Andrzej Rosiewicz, Magda Umer, Ewa Bem, Krzysztof Knittel and Andrzej Rosiewicz, to mention a few, started their careers.
When the barrack in Emilii Plater Street was to be demolished, the club changed its venue to Trębacka Street. Next, it moved to Wspólna Street, where it was hosted by the Regional Railway Directorate’s club. Yet, just right after moving in, this venue was burnt, so the club performances were held in the Oka Cinema in Marszałkowska Street (today the seat of the Capitol Theatre). It was only in 1972 that the Club lived to see its permanent seat in Batorego Street.
Rock Nineties marked a new beginning
After the perturbations related with removals of the club and because of the censorship imposed before 1990, the Stodoła Club focused on music, mainly rock. Each year, the club’s stage sees the performances by famous Polish rock bands, to mention Kult, T.Love, Hey, Muniek Staszczyk, Wilki, Lady Pank, and many others. The Stodoła Club also attracts international superstars, among them Bob Dylan, Morrisey, Bastille, Florence and The Machine and Him. The list is long and impressive.]
Today, the Stodoła Club enjoys a reputation of an iconic student club and is frequented by many visitors. Apart from attending concerts at Stodoła, students of the Warsaw University of Technology who each year organise Juwenalia, a students’ festival, use the club as the festival venue, as Stodoła houses not only star performances, but also students activities.
The sixtieth anniversary of the Stodoła club will be celebrated this October. Details are not yet known, but we are looking forward to it. The thirtieth anniversary was celebrated for eight days, so this year’s celebrations will take at least as long.