This remembrance of Eberhard Finke is a contribution from Mark Stoffel, mandolinist with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, with assistance from Peter Wroblewski and Monika Finke.
The European bluegrass scene is mourning the death of Eberhard Finke, 79, revered publisher of the German Magazine, Bluegrass Bühne. He will be dearly missed as a genuine icon in the international bluegrass scene.
Eberhard was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1943. Soon after the war his family moved to Konstanz, Southwest Germany, where Eberhard spent his formative years. He studied Latin and Greek at the Universities of Heidelberg and Tübingen, where he also met the love of his life, Monika. The two married in 1970, started a family and worked as school teachers in Ulm, Germany, until their retirement in 2008.
Eberhard had many passions, but undoubtedly the biggest one was his love for bluegrass music. In 1981 he launched Bluegrass Bühne (Bluegrass Stage). It featured news, album reviews, and touring dates of European bluegrass artists, but also informed readers about the latest and greatest in the American bluegrass scene. At that time, bluegrass music was a rare find in Europe. However, small cells of bluegrass startups did exist, such as in Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Lehr. Eberhard’s magazine provided that crucial communication platform and the connecting tissue for these bluegrass enthusiasts. Arguably, there would have not been a thriving bluegrass community throughout Europe for the remainder of the millennium without the Bluegrass Bühne.
In addition, Eberhard and his wife Monika graciously opened their home to touring bands from the United States throughout the last four decades, greatly reducing the musician’s lodging expenses. Their guest book reads like the who’s who in bluegrass music, and they forged deep relationships with countless bluegrass musicians around the world.
Eberhard hardly ever missed a bluegrass concert near his home in Southern Germany. He traveled all over Europe and the United States to be right there, where he loved to be – in the audience with a note pad in hand – for another story in the next edition of the Bluegrass Bühne.
Anyone who had the honor to meet Eberhard Finke will remember him as a kind, loving, soft-spoken, curious, and humble human being with a treasure trove of knowledge.
He passed away on the morning of July 28, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. His is survived by his wife, Monika, his children Daniel and Annette, and his grandchildren Heiko, Hannah, and Karl.
May you rest In Peace, dear Eberhard!