Monday, 13 September 2010
The Tommy Webb Band from eastern Kentucky flew to Helsinki, Finland, last month to take part in the 1st Annual Bluegrass Stomp Festival, held in the resort of Lautsia (above) at Hämeenlinna, on 21-22 August. Chris Goble, the band's banjo-player, tells their experiences in Finland:
We were met at the airport by Jussi Syren and Jounni. Jussi is Mr Bluegrass in Finland: if anything is happening in bluegrass in Finland, Jussi probably has a hand in it. Jounni is the manager of the Lautsia resort, the location of 1st Annual Bluegrass Stomp Festival, and also our residence while we were there.
Jounni was such a good host, he took us to the resort and got us situated in our rooms and showed where lunch would be served. Tina was also a great help at the resort, her English was good and we were able to communicate with her. Jounni, Tina and the whole staff was absolutely wonderful. We had a great time.
The Bluegrass Stomp Festival was on Saturday and Sunday so we took the rest of the day Friday to relax and explore the beautiful resort. Saturday when the festival started we were in for some hard-core Finnish and Swedish bluegrass. They sure enjoy it over there and have some really good bands. We are so pleased to make lots of new friends while we were there.
Klaus and Jyrki, of the Clayhill Brothers, took a 'liken' to us and even took us for a trip through the countryside and to visit a castle, it was awesome. Some really good people. We finished the show up on Sunday evening and had Monday to relax and Jounni took us to visit Tampere, another city in Finland, very nice.
Even though things are some different over there, bluegrass and good human nature sure brought us together with some great people; we would love to go back sometime.
Details of the Bluegrass Stomp Festival are on the Finnish Bluegrass Music Association website. By Googling 'Bluegrass Stomp Festival', videos of several performances at the festival can be found on YouTube - including one of the Tommy Webb Band playing 'Rocky Island', with Tommy on clawhammer banjo.