Driving alongside the Rhine, low heat wave water, barges slowly moving their goods looking for the deeper channels, one wonders how they pass each other in shallower waters. The answer is, carefully. The heat has waned but it’s still summer and with the AC not working in Olivia’s mum’s car (which she has kindly loaned us for the weekend) we drive with the windows open and a warm breeze on our faces. Along the Rhine, we pass beautiful ancient villages and hills with intimidating castles of yore and grand houses built by dukes and counts of past centuries. The festival we are heading to is at Loreley, the place of legend, a siren sings enticing sailors onto the rocks, no one really knows why she does such a terrible thing, two theories are revenge for a sweetheart she could not have and the other is unwitting due to her golden hair and beautiful voice. Such are legends.
We arrived at the festival site a day early as Olivia is working. She is the production assistant, she introduces and looks after all the bands. I try and stay out of the way but get to go to the festival and see all the bands performing. The venue is an open-air amphitheatre on top of the famous Loreley Rock that overlooks the winding Rhine and the village of Sankt Goarshausen. In 2011 a barge sank here with a cargo of 2,400 tons of sulphuric acid, how is it even possible that you could transport such a cargo in a barge?
The main attraction tomorrow is Renaissance featuring singer Annie Haslam, preceded by The Pineapple Thief and Pure Reason Revolution. The day opens with Soulsplitter, Blank Manuskript and Smalltape. It should be an interesting day of new, old and unknown interesting bands with progressive leanings. Let’s hope the weather holds out, we don’t need a thunderstorm in the middle of a set. I remember once we were playing at Ottawa Blues Fest and a storm came in and drenched the stage, we had to stop, wait for it to blow over, dry everything and carry on.
The camper vans have started to arrive, music fans are here for the weekend. Behind the scene, the crews are setting up the PA and the mixing desk, the monitors and the lights. Then there are the stalls that sell records, merch tents, food tents, everything is in the process of being built. So many people involved to make this happen, security, medical, countless technicians, drivers, catering backstage, the cooks, the servers. It’s quite an operation.
Olivia and I left the site to check into our hotel, not the usual place, we had to change due to a tragedy that I won’t go into here. The new place is very nice and Michael who is in charge of running everything smoothly and coordinates it all with the promoter invited us for dinner. We sat on a large outdoor balcony, looking out over the fields, a gorgeous vista of the German countryside, bright yellow and green.