Today I begin a very LONG trip overseas producing festivals that allow me to pay my bills.  J   I begin in Interlaken, Switzerland with the Bellamy Brothers, Carlene Carter, Heather Myles, Augie Meyers and the Texmaniacs.   From there , I stay with the Bellamy Brothers and we start in Austria, then 3 cities in Ireland, LATVIA, and finally Germany.  I fly home for 3 days –I know, crazy, but when I booked my flights I couldn’t figure out the remainder of the itinerary at the time.  I go back to Europe and jump around from country to country until I fly home on August 11th.  Not exactly what I envisioned when I think of the phrase, “spending my summers in Europe”.  Beginning of the tour got off to a rocky start when I had to leave my car downtown last night with a flat tire.   But, my flights were all on time today and the weather was pretty good.  However, some of Carlene’s group had fight delays out of California and her manager may not make it out of Nashville at all today.  Guess we’ll just deal with when we land. Sat with a really nice lady on the short flight to Atlanta.  She hates to fly as much as I do but thankfully we were on a large plane, not one of the little puddle jumpers.   She was going to Italy to ride bikes throughout the Alps.  Also found out that she had worked with the attorney who represents Carlene.  Same attorney that a friend of mine set met up on a blind date with many, many years ago.  Short connection in Atlanta for my direct flight to Zurich.  I thought the seat next to me was going to be empty but turned out that a lady across the aisle had switched with a man who was to sit by me.   He had a Swiss/German accent but not sure where he was from.  Just know that he had the typical “European” mentality when it comes to personal space.   The flight attendants kept us regularly supplied with bottles of water which they would sit on the console between us – lined up horizontally.   Every time I would reach down for a drink of mine, he had moved them so that they were lined up vertically and I had no idea which one was mine.  I finally had to start putting mine in the seat back in front of me.  Learned NOT to put it beside me in my seat after the flight last year where I fell asleep and the entire bottle of water emptied into the seat.  I watched a really funny, light movie starring Diane Keaton that reminded me of “me”.  It was about an over-protective mother with no personal life.  J

Plane landed right on time and my bags arrived as well.  Always a good thing, although I do love to shop.   Augie and the Texmaniacs landed on time and I got them out to the bus which was waiting for us.  Carlene’s group landed a couple of minutes early.  We left for the 1 ½-2 hour drive to Interlaken.   The driver took us on the “scenic” route because there was less traffic. I saw parts of Switzerland I’ve never seen in the 10+ years I’ve been coming to this festival.  Only bad part was it was a small, winding road up and down MOUNTAINS.   I was nauseous after the first 10 minutes.  Jrene who works with the event met us at the hotel and helped us get checked in.  Only a couple of the rooms were ready so I volunteered to watch the luggage while everyone else went to eat lunch.  Rooms were ready by the time the came back.  I went for a 5 mile jog along the beautiful river.  The river is GREEN because the water is glacier run-off.  I always forget how incredibly beautiful this area is until I return each year.  The weather is unusually cool for this time of the year – about 60 degrees for a high today.  Perfect running weather.  Came back to shower only to find that flights were canceling all over the U.S.  The Bellamys had to leave two of their people behind because of canceled flights just so they could get all their musicians on the flight.  Those two finally got a flight out of Chicago tomorrow (have to drive there tonight) and will arrive on Saturday.  It has been a very stressful afternoon. We had a really nice reception tonight.   The promoters for the festival are first-class professionals.   Augie, Texmaniacs and Carlene all attended and I was able to relax a little knowing that most of the flights were in the air – FINALLY!  The absolutely best part of my day was when a European group called the “Country Sisters” arrived at the party.  They were introduced and Augie was sitting by me.  Augie doesn’t hear all that great in a crowded room and he leaned over and said, “The Turkey Sisters”?   I fell out of my chair laughing.  Brian/Alec, I was surprised by how many people came up to me to tell me how YOUNG I look this year.  Must be that new Youth Serum you launched.  That stuff is working!  J So, now it is 1 am and I am going to go to bed.  Big day tomorrow – Bellamys arrive and Carlene and Augie and Texmaniacs perform.  Jude

So, I lied.  I didn’t get in bed until almost 3 am.   But, at least everything was worked out with the flights.  At least I thought so when I finally passed out.  David Beecham was going to make it into Nashville for the flight on Friday to Iraq with Josh Gracin.  The Bellamys flight out of Nashville left a little late, but they were airborne to Zurich via Frankfurt.  The Bellamys’ wives were driving to Chicago in their tour bus to fly over today.   Taylor from my office and Carlene’s manager were airborne from Newark headed toward Zurich.  Whew. Slept 4 hours and got up to go jogging.  Decided to do sprints today. Weather was fabulous.  Came back to find voice mails from the Bellamy’s road manager and Penny in my office.  Bellamys flight was late getting into Frankfurt and they missed their connection into Zurich.  They were booked on another flight that would put them in 2 hours later.   I called Taylor to tell him he and Cathy would have to just wait for them since we only had the one bus.   Taylor could not find Cathy.  Then Cathy called on the hotel line and she couldn’t find Taylor.  ARGHHH!!!   I finally gave them each other’s cell number and they connected.  Taylor found the bus and bus driver and gave him the scoop.   About 2 hours later, Taylor called and said that he could see the Bellamys through the glass at baggage claim.  Only, they weren’t coming out and their road manager was at Lost and Found!   I finally reached David on his cell phone and he said that NONE of their luggage and NONE of their equipment came in on the flight.  The only thing that came in were the 2 bags for their wives which had already been checked before they gave up their seats.   Their road manager spent another hour or so filling out forms and trying to find the missing pieces.  The bus driver had other pick-ups, so they finally had to leave the airport with a phone number to call for the missing pieces.  In between all of this, I was running back and forth from the hotel to the venue getting Carlene’s musicians over for sound check and Augie and the Texmaniacs over for sound check.   My cell phone bill is going to be about a thousand dollars because there are roaming charges of about a dollar per minute!    The Bellamys and their group finally arrived at the hotel and I had all their keys ready for them.   Their road manager and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find the missing pieces and figuring out what we could borrow from other artists on the festival if theirs didn’t show up!  Augie and Texmaniacs performed first and from what I was told, it was great.  All I seem to be doing is trouble-shooting flights and luggage.  Carlene had an awesome performance, too.  She is really a super star in Europe.  So it is 1 am and I am still at the venue.  Carlene is signing autographs and Texmaniacs are performing again.  We finally spoke with someone at the Zurich airport (almost IMPOSSIBLE to get a real person on the phone) and were told that 9 or maybe 10 pieces had arrived.  They could not tell us if it was luggage or equipment.  It is being put in a taxi and delivered to the hotel some time tonight.  Then we will send the Bellamys sound tech over with the bus picking up Heather Myles group (God, I HOPE they don’t have flight delays.  She is flying in from Norway via Copenhagen and has to perform tomorrow night!) to see what else he can find.  Just received a call from the Bellamy’s wives that their flight has mechanical problems and they don’t know WHEN they will get out of Chicago.  We have to leave tomorrow night after the Bellamy’s performance to bus overnight to Austria and perform there Sunday night.   Worse case, I guess we can swing by the Zurich airport after the show and pick them up if they make it in as some point.  So, I am 7 hours ahead of CST.  Let me predict the future for you.  June 29th will have 72 hours in it!!!!  I know you are saying that things like this is why no one wants to perform overseas.  But, honestly, I get the brunt of it and the entertainers only see a little of the “discomfort” .  Me and their crew!  And it’s pretty “typical”, unfortunately.  The festival has a record number of trucks this year.   The way it works, the truckers make a “reservation” and then they all come in on Friday and park and “camp” in their trucks.  They are not allowed to leave until Monday AM.  There are 1,500 trucks this year!  Can you imagine the traffic jam on Monday?  There are also people camping and then people who stay in the local hotels.   The festtent hold 4,500 and it is packed.   There are at least 3 stage outside the festtent that I saw.  They use “local”, “European”, and “non-celebrity USA entertainers” on those stages.  There are food booths, “western” booths (clothes, bolos, jewelry), and lots of displays by sponsors (Yamaha, BMW, beer, etc.)  It is really a cool event and the promoters that I work with are awesome…some of my dearest friends ever.  A couple of years ago they moved the dressing rooms from the backstage area to about a half mile away.   Since it rained both years and transportation wasn’t always readily available, it was a real hassle to get the entertainers to and from the dressing rooms.  Then, they also moved the “backstage saloon” (with food and beverages for entertainers and sponsors) to the top of a huge hill that you had to climb very steep steps to access.  There was a beautiful view at the top but the entertainers had to walk through the audience and then climb all the stairs.  So they didn’t spend a lot of time there.  This year, everything moved backstage again and it was perfect.   Thought we were going to make it without any rain but noticed that it is sprinkling now.  Back at the hotel.  NOTHING came from the Zurich airport.  Figures!  Bellamy’s wives are still stuck in Chicago.  It’s after 3 am.  I’m going to bed! Jude

Hard to believe it’s the last day of June!!!  Got up to get the Bellamys production manager off to the airport to check on lost items.   NOTHING was delivered to the hotel last night and when the road manager called this morning, the airport told him only ONE piece had come in.  Didn’t make sense because we knew that at least 9 pieces were coming I on a flight night.  David heard from his wife that their plane finally left Chicago headed for Munich last night.  Went for a quick jog again to relieve some stress and clear my head.  My allergies are killing me over here.  I can’t quit sneezing.  Think it’s all the things that are “in bloom” .  Jogging does not help the situation but it sure keeps me “sane”. Got a call around noon from the Bellamy’s guy at the Zurich airport and FINALLY some good news.    Everything except one musician’s personal bag, an “effects” bag, and a merch bag are here.  And, we now have a way to track the missing last two items.  REALLY good news!!!   And, the wives have landed in Germany and will be in Zurich at around 3:30 pm.  They will take the train to Interlaken and make it in time for the show tonight AND get on the tour bus to Austria with us. Whew.  Much less stressful day. Heather Myles and her group all made it in.  It will be a quick turnaround for her to make it to the hotel, check-in, go do a sound check, a press conference and then the show, but we’ll pull it off. Howard, David and I had lunch with Tom and his wife from Germany – a long-time friend and promoter.   We thought we were having lunch with a wonderful couple from Grindelwald, Switzerland but they thought we were coming up to Grindelwald!  No way we could have left here with all the drama taking place.  J Heather said that the promoter for her show in Norway last night put her group on a PUBLIC BUS to send them on about a 4 hour drive to the airport right after the show.  None of them got any sleep and had to run for the plane today.  But, they all made it.   Sure were some tired and hungry musicians with her though.  We had the press conference and it went relatively smoothly although one of my main artists didn’t show up.  Both Bellamy wives made it to the hotel by 7 pm – after having one of their trains delayed from the Zurich airport!  We’re all watching the news about the bombings in the U.K. very closely.   We travel overnight to Austria tonight and perform Sunday.  Then we fly out of Vienna to Belfast via London.  That’s the part that scares up.  Hopefully things will have settled down by Monday.  We have three shows in Ireland – all several hours from Belfast.  I’m sure the threat level is going to be heightened and we’ll need to plan for more time to check in with all our luggage/gear.  So, this hotel has been renovated and is a lot nicer now.  For those of you have been receiving my Road Kill Reports for several years, you know all about the “attacking shower heads” over here.   This one isn’t too bad but it is mounted in a way that makes it impossible to reach the soap without getting your hair wet AND have all the soap sprayed out of your hand before you can get it on your body.    There are NO washcloths in Europe and this hotel has squeeze soap dispensers mounted on the very back corner of the tub/shower.    I have to use both hands just to squeeze a “drop” of soap out of the dispenser only to have it washed down the drain before it comes in contact with my body.  And, the plug for the drain is defective so that it keeps closing and the tub fills up with water when taking a shower.   Needless to say, showers have been a “real” challenge these past couple of days.  But, still not as traumatic as the Norwegian models.  Both of our bus drivers showed up with our tour bus mid-afternoon today.  One less worry.   The concert was unbelievable. I have never seen so many people attend.  What is so different about this year’s event is that in the past, it was predominately drunk truckers and bikers who wanted to party.  This year it was “families”…lots of pre-teen and teenagers in the audience and it was a listening audience.  Usually when I walk through the crowd, I am lucky to return with all my clothes intact.  This year, they were very courteous.  I walked Taylor back to meet one of the promoters and he said, “Do you know what you don’t see here”. My response was Afro-Americans.  He said “That too. But there are NO SECURITY personnel.”  Which was true!  The autograph line was incredibly polite and in the past, it has been a shoving, screaming mob.  Loving it. We got checked out and loaded onto the double decker bus by 2 am.  All the bunks are up top.  Mine had a light panel that was loose and so the entire trip, it vibrated and sounded like a jack hammer in my ear.  I had ear plugs but they didn’t help much.  Our normal bus driver was too busy to take this tour so he contracted with someone else.  This guy is really nice and it is a great bus, but there was no water on the bus and no toilet tissue.  A bit of a problem.  Jude



Tuesday, June, 26, 2007

As you Know I am going to be traveling to Switzerland and England to help support JSI with their International Festivals that take place in these 2 countries. JSI is a company based in Nashville, TN that provides entertainment to festivals all over the world. The last of June seems to kick off the festival season and JSI, which is owned by my ex-wife Judy, has quite a few festivals that run consecutively and she asked if I would be available to help with some. Before I could begin this trip I had to go to Nashville and begin my “schooling” on what I can and can’t do. I  failed to tell you that my daughter, Lindsey, also works for JSI and she and Judy and Penny were really getting a kick out of telling me what to do. I guess pay backs are Hell. LOL. The day started and ended with me not understanding everything, but I am getting there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Got started early. Still being instructed on what I need to do, not only from the travel aspect but also connecting the computer, using the phone internationally and who I am to give gifts to. There is a lot to learn but there is a reason for this. Ever sense I have known Judy, she is very thorough on what she does. Does not matter what it is, from housework to festivals, all bases are covered. Her thoroughness is why JSI is considered one of the top entertainment providers for Festivals through out the world. OK. I think I have most of it down. Countdown is coming fast. I have to throw this in. Judy left for her part of the trip this afternoon. The night prior, she had gone to a business meeting in Nashville and when she went to leave, she had a flat tire. Since it was pouring down rain, she decided to get a ride home and have AAA come out today and fix the flat. However, Lindsey gets a call today at 11:00 AM and she asks if we can go down and change her tire and take it to the nearest Firestone. It was about 90 degrees and the car was parked on a hill. As I was changing the tire, Lindsey received a phone call from Judy asking how it was going. I told her to tell her mom that I had a piece of paper in my pocket that said I didn’t have to do this anymore. LOL! I guess this is the start of things to come!

Thursday, June 28, 2007
My flight to Switzerland is today. I leave Nashville and fly to Newark and then on to Zurich. The flight to Newark was delayed for about 2 hours due to weather in Newark. The flight itself was a little rough and the gentleman next to me was on his first flight and it was tough on him. About half way the ole bag was pulled out of the seat pocket, however it did not last long, he must not have eaten much before we left. The flight from Newark to Zurich was a 7 ½ hour flight. I only got to sleep about 2 hours due to some excited kids on the flight and a dad who had not the slightest idea how to handle kids.

Friday, July 29, 2007
I arrived in Zurich about 9:00 AM Zurich time. Which is 2:00 AM Central Time. I am suppose to meet up with Carlene’s manager and the Bellamy Brothers. We are all suppose to ride from the airport to the hotel together, the hotel is about 2 hours away. After I arrived I found Cathy, however The Bellamy’s have missed their connection and were about 1 ½ hours late arriving Zurich. When they do arrive, they have no luggage or equipment. We wait around for an additional 2 hours trying to work out the details of the luggage, etc. We decide do leave and hope for the best. Everyone is fried and The Bellamy’s, luckily, do not have to perform until Sat night. The drive to the hotel is great. About 30 minutes away from the hotel, the Alps come into view. The sight is unbelievable. We pass over lakes that are the clearest you have ever seen. Upon arriving at the hotel, Judy meets us with all our packages. I am trying to watch her every move so I will know what to do in England. Carlene Carter, Augie Meyers and TexManiacs are the acts that JSI has on the Festival for tonight. The festival is called Trucker Festival and in the States we would call it a Fair. The trucks are all brought in for display. The grounds are full of campers as well as cycle riders. They are expecting over 20 thousand for tonight’s events. The Bellamy’s are told some of their Equipment has been found and will be delivered Saturday morning. Some of the guys had to buy essentials on one of the guys bought some underwear and he had a great time describing it to everyone. All the band as well as Howard and David were very cool about it all. Augie and the Texmaniacs go on and brought the house down. These people are going crazy for their music. They love their country music here. Carlene goes on and does a great show. They love Carlene here. This is her second year in a row at this festival. Get back to the hotel about 2:00 AM; by the time I get to bed around 3:00 AM, I realize I have not been to bed since 4:45 AM Thursday morning!

Saturday, July 30, 2007
Cannot get to sleep, so I get up at 6:00 AM and go to breakfast. The day starts by taking the Bellamy’s over for load in. They send their soundman, Greg, back to the Zurich airport to get what has come in. The rest of the band does load in and soundcheck with borrowed equipment. All of their equipment comes in, except the Steel guitar. They know that Heather Myles is arriving today for the festival and they can just use hers. Just to show you how things can happen, when Greg returned with their equipment, the Bellamy’s steel had arrived and he rode back to the airport with Heather and her band. However Heathers steel guitar was lost and she ended up using the Bellamy’s steel! I have to tell you that Interlaken is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. The people are most friendly. They mainly speak German here, but they know English very well. It is all small streets, very narrow. There are as many bicycle riders as cars and the young kids ride with their parents in the middle of the road. You have to really watch for them. The Pedestrians have the right of way. If it was like this in the States, half the population would be gone in the first day! Heather Myles performs first tonight. I was really impressed with her and her band is super. The crowd loves her. She is from California and has a huge following in Europe. She is also very nice on the eyes. The Bellamy’s go on next and everyone went wild. It was strange to see about 5 thousand people in the tent all singing the Bellamy’s songs along with them. They only have 1 of their concession bags so all the merchandise was gone very quickly. In all over 30 thousand people were at the festival and the promoters were extremely pleased. Get back to the hotel about 2:00 AM again and have to get up at 4:30 AM to get the Texmaniacs and Augie off to the airport.

Sunday, July 1, 2007
Have Sunday off, Judy has left with the Bellamy’s headed to Austria, Ireland, Latvia and Germany. Heather and her band leave for another date somewhere in Europe. Chris and Cory from Carlene’s group, along with myself go to “the top of Europe” This is trip to the tallest point in Europe. It is a 2 hour train ride up the Alp with stops in little quaint towns. The train ride is a normal way of travel in Europe. Upon arriving at the tope we were in about 2 feet of snow. We walked through ice caves. You also had the option to ski or snowboard. We had lunch and looked at the beautiful scenery. Just unbelievable. It is very hard to describe, but an unbelievable memory. We got back to the hotel and had dinner with Heather and Carlene and band. It was a great evening. Went to bed about 1:00 AM and have to be back up by 4:00 AM to see Heather off to the airport.

Monday, June 2, 2007
Another day off. Walked through the town and bought some souvenirs and chocolates. Tonight is dinner with the 2 promoters. I have never had real fondue until tonight. I don’t think I have ever eaten this much cheese and bread! Also learned how to cook your own beef as you eat the cheese. It was a lot of starch, but oh so good. The promoters Iris and Lorenz are very nice. This was the 14th Festival and the most successful. Glad I had a little part of it. We leave for England tomorrow.