Jerzy Owsiak (born 6 October 1953 in Gdańsk)
Honorary Citizen of the Capital City of Warsaw from June 2014.
A radio and television journalist, an author of music programmes, the founder of the Woodstock Festival, the initiator, founder and President of the “Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity” Foundation.
At the age of eight, he moved with his parents to Warsaw, where his mother had lived before the war. Here, he graduated from an economic secondary school. Following his matura exam and unsuccessful attempts to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and psychology, he served the military service and then worked as a male nurse, which enabled him to acquire knowledge, among others, in the field of psychotherapy (he is a licensed psychotherapist).
Befriended musicians invited him to join the Scout Radio Station, where he made his debut in 1986 and soon became known as an enthusiast with extraordinary ideas. At the time, he made a living as a producer of stained glass; however, radio became his main area of activity. He ran several programmes on the Polish Radio Programme 3 (widely known as “Trójka”). The radio station broadcast his first call for help in saving children with congenital heart defects.
He carried out his first happening at the Rock Music Festival in Jarocin in 1988 and organised his first concert a year later. In December 1991, he started hosting his own television programmes broadcast until 1994. His next radio programmes were broadcast by the Polish Radio Programme 2, the RMF FM radio station, again the Polish Radio Programme 3 (“Sie Kręci” – his authorial programme) and the Eska Rock radio station. In 1995, he organised the first Woodstock Festival, currently the largest in Poland and one of Europe's largest music festivals, which annually brings together over half a million audience members. He is the owner and founder of the youth television channel – Owsiak. TV, broadcast until October 2010. From January 2011, he has directed the web television portal – Kręcioła.TV.
Establishing and running the “Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity” Foundation, involved in protecting health and saving lives of the sick, especially children, is his biggest project. The nationwide, and recently also European and Polonia entertainment and media charity event held annually under the name “Final of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity” is the best-known form of its activity. Over 22 years of activity, the Orchestra has collected nearly $ 170 million, spent on modern medical equipment provided for numerous Polish hospitals. The Orchestra and its founder have become a symbol of the most popular and most recognisable charity event across the country.
A co-author of several books, i.e. “Listy do Owsiaka”, “Orkiestra Klubu Pomocnych Serc, czyli monolog-wodospad Jurka Owsiaka”, “Przystanek Woodstock – historia Najpiękniejszego Festiwalu Świata” and the author of „Róbta co chceta, czyli z sercem jak na dłoni – 20 lat grania”.
Jerzy Owsiak was awarded the Knight's Cross and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
fot. Łukasz Widziszowski, WOŚP