Friday, 7 January 2011

Outlook for the new year from Switzerland

Kent Miller of the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA) reports:

Switzerland is a consistent stable country in many ways, and the bluegrass community seems to reflect that. As far as we can tell, all of the festivals will be carried out this year. The outdoor festivals are in various parts of the country, which gives a regional feel to the events and guarantees success. The one festival that most knowledgeable bluegrass people make a point of attending is the Spring Festival in Willisau, this year on 28 May. The lineup will include:

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA)
Special Consensus (USA)
Ila Auto (N)
Downtown Ramblers (S)
Sunny Side (CZ)
The Country Pickers (CH)
... and other bands to be named later.

In other words, we will be looking forward to seeing many old friends and making a few new ones. There are interesting events with Swiss bands in January. Monroe Crossing is to be here in February.

Our review of bluegrass activities over the past year revealed that most bands and smaller groups play more private (so-called closed) events than public ones. This is, of course, nothing new, but does explain why the list of concerts played does not really reflect the quality of many Swiss bands. The fact that the bands are getting better and the opportunities to play in public are shrinking, is not a good thing. That is why we are happy to still have the few venues that feature acoustic music, and all of the one-day festivals.

One of the newest places is the Prima Vista Music Bar in Baden, Switzerland. It is run by a family of great musicians and they feature live music from Thursday to Saturday every week. Their concept is to let the bands bring their own audience or hope local people will show up to enjoy their music while having supper. Nobody is going to get rich here, but they have opened their stage to several bluegrass and Americana groups over the past couple of years. It is also a good place to keep in mind if you are in Switzerland and starved for live music of any kind.

Don't forget to send your promotional MP3s for our radio show in Swiss German. We are happy to feature European bands when we get their music.

We hope you continue to enjoy the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association. Hope everyone has a great start to the year,

Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA)
Bluegrass Radio Show (19:00 Sundays, 15:00 Mondays); e-mail

Kent Miller
Lochhübel 174
5112 Thalheim AG