We heard this afternoon from Rainer Zeller, who for the past five years has promoted a bluegrass/old time concert series in Germany during the month of December. The biggest difference between these shows, billed as Bluegrass Jamboree!, and the many tours US artists schedule in Europe is the scale of promotion, and the sorts of halls where the concerts are held.
Typically Bluegrass Jamboree features three acts from North America, with performances targeted at the arts and culture community. The shows are often held in prestigious concert venues, and heavily promoted by local media. Zellers’ plan is to continuously raise the profile of this sort of music with German audiences, and counter the cowboy image that many Germans have associated with bluegrass and American country music.
This year’s artists were Foggy Hogtown Boys, The Caper Family and Red Tail Ring. They traveled all across Germany in a big tour bus, doing 19 events in 19 days, with one show in Prague. The final show was this past Sunday in Roth.
Rainer shared a few words about the just-concluded series.
“The 5th edition of the touring project was a breakthrough as we reached new heights in attendance (approx. 5000 tickets overall) and introduced many visitors to the richness of American roots music with a bluegrass/country/folk flavored program. Media supported the tour with intense radio and print promotion and legendary label Bear Family Records added program flyers to their orders.
Many of the theaters and art centers were close to be sold out, the highlight beeing the Berlin show in the prestigious music venue Passionskirche which was packed. All shows ended with enthusiastic audiences, asking for more, many times with standing ovations and long lines at the merchandise table.”
On January 6, Germany’s largest radio service, WDR, will broadcast two hours of music and interviews from the December 5th concert in Dortmund. Their signal is available in most of Germany, and is also streamed live online.
The radio show will air from 8:00-10:00 p.m. (CET).
Zeller says that he is already at work preparing for the 2014 series, with plans to include shows in other central European nations that border Germany.
Well done, Rainer!