Wednesday July 5 2017 – Thursday July 6, 2017
After 3 relaxing days in Miami I am flying from Ft Lauderdale to Oslo Norway for the Vinstra Country Music Festival this weekend. We have American Young and Aaron Watson performing on Friday and Saturday.
American Young has been in Europe since end of June and I will meet up with them in Oslo. Aaron and his group are flying out of DFW and get into Oslo late – so I will see them at the hotel. The last time I was in Vinstra was 4 years ago with Aaron so it will be nice to see them all again.
My flight out of FLL isn’t until noon, but my friend is flying back to Nashville at 8:00 AM so I went to the airport with her early that morning 🙁
My flights are FLL -JFK-AMS-Oslo. No problems on the flights, just short connections and I found out I don’t have cell service in the new terminal at JFK! I did get a signal to come through and was able to talk to the kids for a few seconds before taking off 😉
Landed Amsterdam and ran for the next plane! AMS is a huge airport and I had to go through passport control. Made it to the gate as they were boarding the bus to the plane. Since I only slept about 2 hours on the long flight, I crashed on this one. Landed Oslo on time and found a table at the coffee shop to sit and wait for American Young. They do not land until 12:50 pm….
I met up with our driver about 30 mins before AY landed and sent Kristy a message letting her know we were outside baggage claim. American Young is a duo made up of Kirsty Osmunson and Jon Stone with Chris Payne on drums and Dan Fernandez on bass. We have worked with Kristy several times when she was with Bomshell. The 5 of us left the airport around 2pm for the 3 hour drive to the hotel. I can’t tell you how beautiful the drive to Vinstra is. Most of the band slept on the drive. Arrived the hotel around 5:00 PM and checked in. This is the first time I have stayed at this hotel. It is a very old but beautiful hotel. I took a quick shower and freshened up then met them downstairs for dinner. This hotel has an amazing buffet.
Got a text from Aaron’s tour manager saying they had landed and met up with their driver. Since I was afraid to go to sleep, Kristy, Jon, Chris and I went out to the festival and looked around. I was able to meet up with Marita, who has been my contact at this festival. This is her first year working this one. I also got to see my friend Anita Opsahl and her husband Maurits. It was nice to see her again. Around 11:00 we all headed back to the hotel. Said goodnight to the guys and then pretty much sat in the lobby talking to the night manager, drinking coffee and waiting on Aaron to arrive. Which was about 2:00 AM! Got them in an settled and finally…after 39 hours… I was able to lay down in a bed and go to sleep.
Friday, July 7
I don’t think I moved all night and slept until 10:30 am. I got up and got dressed and headed down to breakfast, which again..amazing buffet. Saw a few of the guys and then Aaron and his manager Gino came in and sat with me for awhile. We don’t have to leave for the venue until 4pm so most were going back to bed or walking around the property. The hotel is right on the lake with a lot of walking trails and some sort of iron man workout facility outside! I hiked down to the lake..walking down was fine.. walking back up the steep hill was a different story.. not sure if it was me being out of shape or the thinner air up here. ha ha.
At 4 we all loaded up and drove about 20 mins to the venue. The festival is a huge campground with 2 stages. A smaller stage during the day and then the bigger main stage in the evenings. American Young is playing the smaller Cafe stage at 5:20 and the main stage tomorrow night. Aaron Watson has sound check on the main stage and then his performance starts at 8:15. AY did a 75 min set, the crowd was still light as I think some people were still in the campground area. It is still awesome watching Kristy play the fiddle! The crowd was very appreciative of it too.
Since we weren’t able to go back to the hotel for dinner we ate backstage at the venue.
(burgers or chili con carne) after soundcheck and the AY performance.
The doors for the main stage open at 8:00 pm and Aaron is set to start at 8:15. The crowd was light at the beginning of the set but more people came in during the show. I think it may be better to open with a Norwegian band to get the audience in, then put the US Artist on in between. As I met and talk to people here and at the hotel, they all tell me how much they love Aaron and some have driven more than 14 hours just to come to this festival to see him.
I stood backstage most of the show talking with Gino, Aaron’s manager. They want to do so much more here in Europe and I really hope we can work with them more often. Aaron and the band are super sweet guys and just professional and easy to work with.
A little after 10:00 pm the guys had loaded all the equipment and we went back to the hotel. AW and his group have to check out of the hotel and drive back to Oslo airport where they will catch a 6:00 AM flight to Spain. They play a festival there and then fly home on Sunday. Brutal!
I went downstairs at 12:30 am and the guys were starting to load their bags. Said our goodbyes and off they went to the airport and I to bed!
Saturday, July 8
Fell asleep to the sound of the cattle bells ringing as there are sheep and cows outside my window. Surprisingly it was very soothing… or I was just so tired. When I wok up it was raining 🙁
Went downstairs for breakfast and sat with Dan, Jon and Chris. We do not have to leave for sound check until almost 6pm today. I came back up to the room and showered. Would have loved to walk around the area but with the rain it isn’t possible. It finally stopped raining around 3pm and I was able to take a quick walk around the area. Had to be back and ready to go at 5:45.
We arrived at the venue around 6 for sound check, which was quick and painless. Again.. everyone was very happy with all the backline and the production guys were awesome. Had a quick bite.. tonight was either tacos or a bbq wrap. I went with tacos 🙂
The smaller stage stopped at 8:50 and people started filing in for main stage right after. American Young took the stage at 9:00. Again.. light crowd but it grew as the music played. Even though it was only a 45 min set, they rocked it. Everyone was super impressed by them and they received a lot of compliments. We stayed for about 30 mins after their show and were able to catch the first few songs of the Norwegian band Staut.
Came back to the hotel around 11 and my phone rang. The kids were calling to check on me 🙂 So nice to be able to talk to them. They are at the beach with their dad and Haley this week. Having a blast. Being over here and staying busy keeps me preoccupied and not eaten up with missing them. I will finally get to see them on Friday 🙂
Went downstairs and chatted with the guys for a minute before heading back up to pack and write this road report. We leave the hotel at 11 tomorrow to drive back to Oslo where we will stay the night before flying home on Monday.
I have really enjoyed meeting and working with both bands. It was good to see Aaron and his guys again and get to know American Young. Both bands were super easy and very professional. I wish they had a bigger crowd at the festivals, but hopefully we will do more with both of them in the future
Sunday, July 9 – Monday, July 10, 2017
Off day today! We are leaving the hotel at 11 for the drive back to Oslo. 2 guys from the festival pulled up at the hotel at 11 to drive us. A mini bus for us and a cargo van for our luggage and gear. I had it in my head that we were staying at the Park Inn by the airport but Jan called me on our drive and said Kjell made the reservations at the Radisson Blu by the airport. Totally missed that in the emails 🙂
I sat in the back with Kristy and we had some time to talk and catch up. I think we both took a little siesta during the last hour of the drive. We pulled up to the hotel around 3 and we were able to check into our rooms. American Young does not fly out until 3pm tomorrow but I have a 6:30 AM flight sooo… I said my goodbye’s to them in the lobby since they were going to take the train into town and I am camping out here.
Was able to have dinner with Jan and spend some time with him but oh… 4:30 am came quickly! Did the 5 min walk over to the airport and checked in without problems. I am flying Oslo-Paris-Detroit-Nashville and if all goes well I will land in Nashville at 4pm!
Flight to Paris left on time and I had a little over an hour to make my connection in Paris. Thankfully my departure gate wasn’t to far from my arrival gate and passport control wasn’t an issue. Boarded the long flight. Watched a documentary on the band Chicago while eating lunch. Very cool documentary. Landed in Detroit on time and went through passport control quickly thanks to Global Entry 🙂 however.. it took over 30 mins for the luggage to come out. Finally went through customs and back through security to my next gate. I don’t know if I will ever understand having to go back through security when I just came off a plane…
Detroit flight was delayed a few mins but nothing major. Mom picked me up at the airport – very strange not having the kids here when I got home. I do not pick them up from their Dad until Friday. I know they are having a great time but miss them so much!!
Very easy trip. It was great seeing Aaron and the guys again. He has such a great show and I wish a bigger crowd. The people that did come out, loved him!
I have always been a fan of Kristy’s and what she and Jon are doing with American Young is so unique and the crowd was very receptive to it. Definitely watch out for them 🙂
Thanks to all the people at the festival and the hotel for taking such great care of us!! Hope to see you all again soon.
Aaron Watson and American Young ~ Vinstra, Norway
Wednesday July 5 2017 – Thursday July 6, 2017