Issue 1 11/97

FolkWorld Live Review

1. Wolfenbütteler Folk Festival Grenzenlos & Vielsaitig

13th to 15th June 1997

1st folk festival in Wolfenbüttel, Northern Germany

13th to 15th June

By Michael Moll

Alias Ron Kavana; Photo by The Mollis
"The best festivals often make the biggest losses." A Scottish sound man said what many visitors thought at the 1st Wolfenbütteler Folkfestival 'Grenzenlos & Vielsaitig'. Without doubt this was a top event in the German festival calendar, and all visitors who came had loads of fun - but their number was too small to finance such a major festival. But now to the music.

All the big names of the festival played at the main stage, open air in the yard of beautiful Wolfenbüttel castle; and the organisers were lucky enough as it stayed mainly dry though dark clouds were around. On Friday night you have had the rare chance to meet French folk legend Gabriel Yacoub with his new, modern stylish folk-chanson band. Afterwards, Shetlands folk rocker Rock Salt & Nails had a smashing performance; they even got the audience to carry away all benches to have space to dance the night away. Saturday kicked off with a few concerts during the day, including one of Germany's best experimental folk bands, Hoelderlin Express.

Rock Salt & Nails; Photo by The Mollis
The evening concert was Irish, and was indeed something special. First on, Niamh Parsons with her band The Loose Connections had her first ever concert in Germany; and their tremendous appearance, especially the most beautiful a capella songs of Niamh, appealed to everyone in the audience. Then Alias Ron Kavana conquered the stage. Although Ron had not been in Germany for years, many fans came especially to see him - maybe because Northern Germans know him from one of his many celebrated appearances at Danish Tønder festival. Alias Ron Kavana made a brilliant set; the atmosphere in the castle yard became that one of a big - and good! - pub, the crowd was dancing around, drinking and enjoying. The encore was extraordinary: Ron called Niamh Parsons and her band on stage as well as Geraldine MacGowan, former Oísin singer, now being landlady of an Irish pub in Hanover. The three have one thing in common: All have recorded the same song, and this song was written by Ron Kavana: 'Reconciliation'. So here you have had three great singers singing together a great song - magic. Unforgettable was the session in the session tent afterwards, with Ron's and Niamh's band playing there together with some German folk musicians, along with some great songs by Niamh and Hoelderlin Express' Jørgen Lang. The last musicians are said to have gone after five o'clock in the morning, disturbed by some snoring noises...

Sunday there was just a morning concert with English Rythm'n'Folk band Bigjig. It has been an enjoyable weekend, and hopefully, though losses, a 2nd folk festival in Wolfenbüttel will be possible next year.

Infos for a possible future festival available at:
Forum Kultur e.V., Großer Zimmerhof 21, 38300 Wolfenbüttel
Tel. +49 5331 27787, Fax +49 5331 27786

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 11/97

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