From the past:
The Country Music Meeting at the Fontane Haus 2012 Berlin - the capital of Country
by Günther Chalupa, dpa /
translation by Marion Freier
Berlin. For a long weekend
Berlin is turning into the capital of Country Music. When
a colourful crowd of cowboys, can-can-dancers, US cavalry
officers or well-fed ifantry officers of the union and the
confederate troops make their way through the streets it's
not a sign of a fashion show behind schedule. Then the time
for the stars of Country Music (and those who want to be)
has come, which will be celebrated nearly around the clock
at 2 parallel events from February 3rd til February 5th.
"Why does it have
to be Nashville" is the fundamental idea, just as Germanys
longest existing Country band Truck Stop once sang. Either
Bluegrass, Cajun, Hillbillie or Country Rock - the american,
european and german scene offers everything the Country
heart wants - far away from the Country Music capital Nashville.
Dozens of vendors from all over Europe make this a perfect
picture. You can get nearly everything from a T-shirt to
a stetson hat.
The "Country Music
Meeting" at the Fontane-Haus in Reinickendorf might
be the smaller event with 42 bands and solo acts from 11
nations on 2 stages, but according to the musicians and
fans you'll get the better music here. Just the sunday shows
of the country bard Larry Schuba ("Auf der Autobahn")
and the band Truck Stop ("Ich möcht' so gern Dave
Dudley hör'n") proof the opinion that you'll get
"quality instead of quantity" by event manager
Frank Lange at the Fontane-Haus directly next to the American
Western Saloon. "It was a long and hard way, but it
was worthwhile" - so the comment of the obviously pleased
Mr. Lange about the deal with Truck Stop. "This will
be a high class Meeting." But he's already thinking
one year ahead and tells a first little secret about his
2013 plans: "Deals with first row Nashville artists
are already on the case."
Hot sounds are guaranteed.
For the first time after the split of Western Union you
can see Larry Schuba with a new band - "very fine pickin'
and singing" is the promise to his fans about the Combo
Acoustic Thunder. And when the irish artist "Tiny"
McNeela starts singing his would-be love song "She
broke my heart" the fans can hardly wait to hear the
second line "And I broke her jaw".
At the "Kick Off"
at the American Western Saloon you can already see the Texan
Cody Jinks ("Lost highway") on thursday night,
followed by a dutch marked Friday After Show Party and a
"Kraut Saturday" with german bands, some from
the Berlin scene. And if you don't know the bands or their
songs - never mind, nearly everybody offers "some"
At the "Country Music
Messe" at the Postbahnhof 120 bands and solo acts from
12 nations share the mics. The line-up offers the Grammy-Award-winner
Billy Yates as well as the newcomer Mitch Keller from Teltow.
"It is a meeting point of the scene at the beginning
of the year" says event manager Kai Ulatowski. But
with the high amount of musicians it's hard to judge the
quality: "Some are difficult to classify, some I don't
even know at all." But this event is concepted as a
fair, where musicians can present themselves to get some
Why 2 events at the same
time? The former friends and business partners Lange and
Ulatowski, who used to present the Country Music Messe together,
split in anger a few years ago. Now they are both trying
to make "their own thing". The country fans just
have to hazard the consequences: long travel routes through
Only a few bands are performing
at both events. "Who chooses to play at Frank Lange's
event, does not have to play at mine, I can choose my own
program" says Ulatowski. Some artists have to suffer.
"Sad, but true" is the opinion of the band Nashfield
from Bielefeld. According to their webpage they were forced
to make their choice: either Messe or Meeting. Finally they
decided to perform at the Country Music Meeting at the Fontane-Haus.
The Berlin bands The Krusingers or Bluegrass Breakdown ("Fascination
Expired") use their home field advantage and perform
at both events. "We use the forum at both venues"
says Bluegrass Breakdown bass player Reinhard Arndt. The
band does not want to get involved in the dispute of the
2 event managers. But he mentions: "For us as musicians
this is quite stupid, because the Country scene is rather
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