SATURDAY, JULY 22ND:
The crew and I went to the tiny Kristiansand airport and began the process of checking in. Even though they had trucked more than 8,000 pounds of equipment out the night before, they still had several large, heavy guitar cases to check. They got hit with an additional $4,000 in excess charges. Then the airlines didn’t think they could get everything on the little airplane (a Fokker 70)! Once we all got checked in and boarded, we got on the airplane only to be told it was overweight and they were having to make some adjustments. Since Dwight has a show tomorrow, it was very important that all the items made it. We took off an hour late because of this.
I split from Dwight and his guys with promises to see them in France in a week. The promoter from the festival in Holland picked me up for the 2 hour drive from Amsterdam to Emmen where I will meet Chely Wright’s group. The promoter is a great guy and it was fun to chat with him on the drive over. We learned that Chely’s group had arrived early from Germany and were already checked into the hotel and Chely had gone to the hotel gym to work out. Promoter took me by the new venue site and it started to pour down rain just as we arrived. He said it hasn’t rained here in TWO months, so they really needed the rain. Just hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow on our concert. It’s a beautiful new site for the venue – right on a lake with lots of cabins around for accommodations. Stage is covered and should be fine for the artist – just not the audience – if it rains again tomorrow.
Saw a couple of more people at the venue that I had worked with last year. Then we all came back to the hotel to get me checked in and have dinner. My dear friend Rineke and her husband from Holland was already at the hotel. She has had some serious health issues this year but looked wonderful. She is a very special lady and a huge supporter of country music.
Chely finished up in the gym and everyone had dinner in the hotel restaurant. I came up to my room to answer the emails that I have not had time to answer for TWO days and hopefully go to bed early. THAT didn’t happen….again. After midnight and I am just finishing up. Have to get up early for sound check tomorrow. Such is my life. Know I left out a lot of interesting tidbits but will include them in a later report.
SUNDAY, JULY 23RD:
I went over to the venue with the musicians for load-in but the Production Company was not ready for us. The backline had not arrived, so nothing was set up on the stage. I was going to bring the boys back to the hotel and take them back over when things were set up but the sound company showed up just as we were making the decision. I went back to the hotel to tell Chely that they were not going to be ready for her for a while. She had accidentally put a “do not disturb” on her telephone when she was pushing buttons trying to reach the reception, so I was unable to just call and give her information.
Went back over with her and did the sound check. The festival used a different production company this year…one that was less expensive than last year… and it definitely shows. The sound was very “tinny” and LOUD. I’m sure it will be fine but hopefully they can find the drum shield that was requested in their rider as that will help a lot.
Came back to the hotel and went running for 5 miles. Beautiful “SMALL” town but everything was closed because it is Sunday. People are so friendly. Everyone talked to me as I was running by…in Dutch, of course, so I had no idea what they were saying. Even young children would start a conversation!
Mark Chesnutt and his guys arrived this afternoon from Switzerland. This was not my booking, so I don’t have to babysit them. Really nice guys, too!
The hotel is really nice (same as last year) but only certain rooms have air conditioning and mine isn’t one of those rooms. It is miserably hot. Hope the rooms tomorrow have air conditioning!
Chely went on stage as scheduled which is surprising because festivals usually run a few minutes late. She did a fantastic show and her production manager got the sound to where it was really good. She is an “entertainer” and talks to the audience and involves them. The promoters were extremely pleased with her performance. Afterwards, she signed autographs for everyone. The only disappointing part of the entire event is the fact that only about 350-500 tickets were sold.
Just as we were about to leave and it was time for Mark Chesnutt to go it, it started storming again. Since the show was in the tent, he was still able to do his show. But, we didn’t stay to see him because the restaurant in the hotel was closing and we had not eaten anything. Came back and had a really nice meal and am going to get into bed relatively early. Met our bus driver in the lobby and he is staying here tonight and will be ready to take us to another city in Holland tomorrow to perform at Shinnen Military Base.