Last weekend I spent at an amazing event, which had invited me as their patron: The Munich BlueGrass Friends e.V., a registered association formed by 10 enthusiastic people, mostly bluegrass musicians, in June 2008. The first edition of their Munich BlueGrass Festival on 16/17 October was an extremely pleasant experience of great hospitality, an amazing pool of local bands aged 9 - ??, with only three bands out of eleven coming from outside Munich, one of which from Salzburg Austria, Grey Fox, could be heard on Friday night, lined in a programme with Cool Grass, a teen/twens band, Strictly Bluegrass and a double set by Rüdiger Helbig & Huckleberry Five, who also featured clogging by Silvia Plankl - which made a pretty dynamic contrast to the rest of the programme.
The association is focusing on making Bluegrass music better known in the Munich area and in addition they raise money to support young bluegrass musicians by paying part of their music lessons. This programme is carefully set up and highly successful, as could be heard on Saturday with the Girlie Band, consisting of girls aged 9-11 and supported by their dedicated teacher Rupert Paulik: check out the little sequence I took (well, it sounds much better of course than my video recorder allowed!).
Cool Grass showed the best of their talent, when they performed again on Saturday afternoon they challenged themselves even with an Alison Krauss song but delivered extremely well.
Rolling Hills and Munich Mountain Ramblers were created through so called "Band Workshops" offered by Rupert Paulik already some years ago, and did really well on stage: Their repertoire streched from traditional into pop music and back, delivered in a highly professional manner. All aspects from stage presence to musical skill were well trained and all went down easily.
The programme continued with Strictly Bluegrass and closed with a double set by Night Run from the Karlsruhe area. They did a phantastic show featuring new and traditional material, their gospels were awesome and their music pure enjoyment - a worthy closing act. As they were the only band with a single mic-setup the sound engineer was challenged at first. This problem however was solved in the break and the closing sequence was a brilliant and most enjoyable finish to the festival.
In the end, enough tickets were sold to pay for the event, some additional money was raised for the Bluegrass Youth Foundation, audience and musicians went home happy and the organisers are already thinking of the next edition to be held 26/27 June 2010! Congratulations to this successful team!