Thursday, 21 October 2010

Bluegrass news from the Franco-German borderlands

Thanks to Walter Fuchs, director of the annual International Bühl Bluegrass Festival in Bühl, south-west Germany, who reports that everything is prepared for the 9th Bühl Festival on 13-14 May 2011; plans are taking shape for the 10th Festival (4-5 May 2012); and the 11th will take place on 3-4 May 2013. Walter adds:

It turns out that the Bühl area with my home town Offenburg, 35 km south of Bühl, and our Alsatian neighbors in France just across the River Rhine, have an excellent and fertile ground for bluegrass. Just last week, 13 October, the Wilders played Offenburg and (as expected) the Music Hall 'Salmen' was sold out and over two-thirds of the audience came from Alsace. And what a great night, with standing ovations and lots of encores. Now on 18 December, the second Bluegrass Jamboree (with three bands) will play Offenburg with Michael Cleveland and his band as the headliner. This surely will be another sold-out event.

Walter also strongly recommends two home-grown bands from Alsace who are performing locally in the near future. The Mart O' Pickers (left: 'two Americans, three Alsatians, and one Burgundian') will be playing at the 17th-century Carthusian monastery of Molsheim, 25 km west of Strasbourg. The show starts at 20:30 on Friday 5 November, as part of the Vendredis de la Chartreuse concert series. Admission is €8; for info and reservations 'phone +33 6 47 72 41 4 or use this link.

Two weeks later (Saturday 20 November) a bluegrass concert will be given at 20:00 in the Salle des Fêtes at Thal- Marmoutier by Serge Rieger (guitar, vocals), Virgil Rieger (bass, vocals), Théo Sauer (banjo, Dobro), and Joel Espesset (mandolin, bass), under the auspices of the Association Gestionnaire de la Salle des Fêtes. Admission is €10 (€5 for ages 8-14); tickets are available at the mairie in Thal (Mon. and Thurs. 18:00-20:00), and at other places on the concert date.