Tuesday, 1 November 2011

12th Annual International Old Time Country Festival, Winkel (CH)

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak, who reports from Bülach:

The 12th Annual Old Time Country Festival was held last Saturday (29 October 2011) in the beautiful, decorated, sold-out Breiti Hall in Winkel, near Bülach, Switzerland. It was organised by American Folk Club Rocking Chair, together with the local old-time-country band Big Stone. That night three bands were playing for us.

The house band Big Stone, as usual, dressed nicely in outfits from American pioneer days. They tied up to the string bands tradition, with clawhammer banjo and the autoharp. The band is: Pete 'Two Feathers' Erb (bass), Godi Gammeter (guitar), Rene Zentner (clawhammer and bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, and autoharp) and Beat Heri (mandolin). All of them sing. Some people asked why they are not playing standing as usual. So they told us: everybody is over 60 now, so finally they have a right to sit down.

During their set they invited on stage their friend the singer Manuela [see photo above], whom they met at the jam sessions every second Friday in Bachenbülach, which they have organised for several years. She sang a song of Alison Krauss. Their next guest was the fiddle player Rachel Eddy from West Virginia, whom some of you know from her former band Uncle Earl. After more than an hour and several encores the audience let them go.

The second act, bluegrass band Red Wine from Italy, won the hearts of the audience by storm. They also perform some Italian songs, which the audience loved the best. The band veterans – mandolin player Martino Coppo and banjo player Silvio Ferretti – introduced to us a new bass player, Lucas Belloti. Maybe some of you don’t know yet their young guitar player, Silvio’s son Marco Ferretti. The audience loved them and did not want to let them leave the stage. They had to play also several encores.

Then a duo, fiddle & banjo – Rachel Eddy & Kristian Herner came on stage and played some beautiful pieces. Rachel revealed that she fell in love with Kristian and moved to Sweden a while ago, and the Rockridge Brothers became her family.

The Rockridge Brothers and their new sister

After several tunes the last band, the Rockridge Brothers, came on stage and a firework of old-time country and hillbilly music followed. The band is: Ralf Fredbad (fiddle), Peter Frovik (guitar), Kristian Herner (banjo), and Pontus Juth (bass). They also invited their 'new Rockridge sister' Rachel on stage and performed some great double fiddle tunes with her. They asked if somebody speaks French (of course, almost all Swiss people do) and then performed a French-sung Cajun tune. Everybody was laughing (I did not understand the words), but in the middle of the song somebody brought them a couple of bottles of beer. Applause with no end…

It was long past midnight when all the musicians gathered on stage for the grand finale and played several songs for us; the last one was 'Will the circle be unbroken'.

The grand finale: Red Wine at centre stage

The sound by Robi Brunner from the Sunny Mountain Grass was excellent. Both the audience and musicians were happy. Everybody is already looking forward for the next, 13th Festival. Thanks to all promoters and volunteers.

These and twenty-three other photos taken by Lilly at the Festival can be viewed on Facebook.