Six Reasons You Should Attend the Paderewski Festival

Long-time patron, former board member and President, Joel Peterson, is excited to share his insider scoop on the upcoming Paderewski Festival, November 2-5. Check out his top six reasons to attend this fabulous event: 

The 2017 Paderewski Festival marks the 12th Anniversary of this four-day music festival in Paso Robles. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of all of the recent festivals and I am never disappointed. The Paderewski Festival is near and dear to my heart because the original festival was founded by my grandmother, Virginia Peterson, in 1990 and had a ten-year run. Below are my top six reasons why I love the festival and why you should attend this year.


1. The Man: Ignacy Paderewski was a talented pianist, composer, politician, humanitarian and orator. Every year we celebrate the legacy of this man, but why? Learn about his contributions to music, world politics, and his part in the Treaty of Versailles at the Festival. You will also learn what brought this acclaimed “Modern Immortal” to our town of Paso Robles. Here’s a hint: it’s a natural healing, foul smelling liquid that bubbles up in our town. 

2. The Music: Each year, our artistic director and Board finds artists from around the world, as far as Poland and beyond,to bring unique and harmonic music to Paso Robles. This year’s Opening Concert features local favorite, Café Musique, while Friday’s concert features a Grammy-winning Jazz Trio at the Park Ballroom. For a full schedule of events over the four days, click here.

3. The Kids: The highlight for me each year is watching the winners of the Youth Piano Competition play at the Saturday Youth Recital. From ages 9 to 18, these kids have serious chops. This free event is sure to amaze you with the talent and bravery that these kids exude. 


4. The Camaraderie: No other local festival provides the talent, entertainment and joy that attracts visitors from Poland every year, than the Paderewski Festival. We host students, dignitaries and Polish-Americans from all over and make them feel at home. They love the fact that we celebrate one of their heroes every fall, and the red and white Polish flags flying on Spring Street make them proud. 


5. The Wine: A variety of local wineries have helped lift this festival and make it thrive. From Epoch Estate—who now owns the former Paderewski ranch and vineyard—to Cass Winery—the host of the Opening Night concert—these key players allow us to operate and continue this festival. Don’t miss Tablas Creek Vineyard and Derby Wine Estates, who sponsor the concerts and provide wine to boot! 


6. The Gala Concert: Each year, a featured performer fills the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom – a building that stood when Paderewski used to stay at the hotel 100 years ago – with breathtaking music. This year, Magdalena Baczewska, a New York-based Polish pianist will play a program of Chopin, Paderewski and Szymanowski. When you close your eyes during these magical performances, you can imagine Paderewski himself playing the piano here in Paso Robles. It takes me back to a time when he came to Paso Robles for reasons many of us came here – the people, the land, the wine, the natural healing hot springs and the opportunity our area provides.

These are only a few of the many reasons that I love this festival and why I encourage everyone to attend. We’d love to see you at the festival this year. Tickets and more information can be found at or by calling 805-235-5409. 

Joel Peterson has been a part of all 12 of the past Paderewski Festivals, as a guest, board member or President. He serves the board to celebrate the legacy of a man who he reveres – Ignacy Jan Paderewski. His day job at Firestone Walker Brewing Company allows him to run a stellar team of marketers and brand ambassadors.