WEDNESDAY, JULY 6TH:
Ouch…..early morning on very little sleep. Slept most of the 2 hour ride to the airport. Then check in was a nightmare. It’s a huge airport with two terminals. It took me almost 15 minutes just to locate the check-in counter for Scandinavia Airlines. There was a little sign about 3 inches by 3 inches within a larger sign and that’s the only identification I found. The airport has these metal poles aligned along the front of the ticket counter aisle so that you can’t take the luggage carts to the check in counter. Makes no sense at all to me. Why have the luggage carts if you can’t take your luggage to the counter? We removed one of the poles to roll our huge cart with 36 pieces of band gear and luggage through it but an airport official came up and started yelling at us. I had to go to the ticket agent and get her to come remove the pole so we could bring our gear to the counter. There were hundreds of Japanese waiting at the NW counter to check in and as we were waiting to get into the area, a little Japanese man came flying up and rammed his cart between 2 of the poles. He was convinced he could get his cart through but of course, no matter how many times he tried, he did not succeed. He finally pulled it out and proceeded to run over our drummer in his mad rush to get in a line that was not moving anywhere! As polite and kind as the Japanese always are, they do NOT like to stand in line and some of them will knock you down to get in front of you.
Had a little difficultly explaining to the SAS agent that our flights were part of an international trip and we were not charged excess according to the European weight limits. We were allowed 2 pieces of checked baggage per person with each piece weighing under 70 pounds. Took her about a half hour to make the necessary calls and confirm that we were correct. As we were standing in the very long line for passport control, this little Japanese woman came up to one of our musicians and said, “You from Texas? I ROVE Countly MUSIC!” I asked her if she knew about Country Gold in Kumamoto and she said, “Ah…..Charlie Nagatani”. Then she started saying something to everyone in Japanese about Charlie Nagatani and me and Country Gold.
Didn’t have much time before we had to board our flight. As we were boarding we learned that President Bush is in Copenhagen. I KNEW all the flights would be delayed and was happy about that. Somehow, my flight got booked with only a 45 minute layover in Copenhagen. In an airport the size of Copenhagen, there is no way I could have changed terminals and made my connection. However, once we landed, I learned that all the flights are delayed by at least 45 minutes while the President departs. Called my friend who is Bush’s SSA to see if he is here, but got his voice mail. I am supposed to land in Oslo at around 2:30 and then WAIT for Dwight Yoakam and his group to arrive at 7:35 pm. Hope there is somewhere I can store my luggage until they arrive. Then we have a 3-4 hour drive from Oslo to Vinstra where the festival will take place.
There was a luggage storage room at the airport so I stored the big suitcases and then went in search of somewhere to buy a salad. Found a big group of Norwegian soldiers in desert camo and stopped to talk to them, I knew they had to be heading back over to the desert in those uniforms. They wouldn’t tell me WHERE they were going but said they would look for me when shows came to their areas.
I was able to sit at a table inside the waiting area and log on to wireless internet, so that definitely helped. Worked for about 3 hours and then started getting ready for Dwight’s arrival. The three drivers and vehicles were there on time and Dwight’s flight was only a few minutes late. However, they were missing some bags – one of them Dwight’s – and it took a long time for them to fill out the forms. We split up with the crew going to Vinstra with me and Dwight and his band going into Oslo to spend the night. We were going to stop en route to Vinstra to eat dinner but NOTHING was open. Plus there was road construction that keep us sitting on the highway for 20 minute intervals as they alternated the flow of traffic. What should have been a 3 hour drive turned into a 4 ½ hour drive and NOTHING was open where we could stop and eat. We finally arrived at the hotel long after midnight. The hotel is definitely NOT a 4 star hotel as I was told and I’m really happy Dwight is staying in Oslo instead of here. It’s a nice hotel in the middle of NOWHERE. The restaurant is only open during certain hours and I tried to log on to AOL using dial up but couldn’t. I could hear the tone connecting but then it wouldn’t finish the log on process. There is no air conditioning and it is HOT in the rooms. Also, no hair dryers in the rooms. I’d say it would qualify for about a one and a half star hotel. The scenery is beautiful but that’s the only PLUS. I’ve booked this festival many times but always had a conflict and could not come with the artist. Really glad I checked it out this year because now I know the changes that must be made in the future!
THURSDAY, JULY 7TH:
Got up and went to what the hotel billed as their “exercise room”. What a joke. There was nothing in the room that worked. There was one little bar with about 20 different types of weights on it but the ends were screwed on so tight, that I couldn’t get the weights off. I gave up and went back to my room and once again worked out with my rubber bands. SURE wish I could jog.
Went down to get something to eat but of course, the restaurant was closed! They did get me some yogurt and a banana and a cup of coffee. Nice people, just not a hotel for business travelers.
Sound check fro Dwight’s group took as long as I anticipated. Nice stage and venue. Got a call from Asleep at the Wheel who had just landed at the Oslo airport. Their standup bass is missing and there were some other issues that were delaying their departure from the airport which I cannot mention in this Road Kill Report!. Hopefully, everything will get sorted out without me being there since it’s too far to drive down and take care of.
I was able to get on the festival’s wireless system and answer all my emails while the band sound checked. Then when I went back prior to the show, I couldn’t log on. The signal was excellent but something was wrong with my computer. I called Panasonic and talked to them for about 45 minutes (at $1.00 per minute on my cell phone!) and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. After the show, the promoter told me that his technicians had cut the signal way back so it wouldn’t interfere with our concert.
Dwight arrived at the festival and we took him lots of items to autograph. He took the stage to a packed arena – around 3,500 people – all Dwight Yoakam Fans. They knew the words to all his music and sang along with him. He was supposed to perform for 90 minutes but did encore after encore and performed for almost 2 hours. The promoter was delighted and already talking about next year’s event. The airline found the lost luggage for Dwight and his crew guy so it was a wonderful evening.
We didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 2 am and have a 7:30 am wakeup call.
FRIDAY, JULY 8TH:
Someone forgot to tell our driver that we were leaving at 7:30 am instead of 8:30 am. We were afraid we would be late since the drive up took us almost 5 hours instead of 3 ½ hours. I called and woke the driver up and he was at the hotel within 15 minutes. Gave the boys time to eat some breakfast before we left.
Check in at the airport was a nightmare because we couldn’t use the self-service machines. But, we got checked in with time to spare and the flight departed on time. Landed in Holland and my daughter was meeting me at the airport to help me with this festival. But, our driver said that her flight was delayed. She did land before us and we all connected for the 2 hour bus ride to the hotel in Emmen – which turned out to be over 3 hours. Amazing how these Europeans miscalculate travel times and distances, huh?
The hotel is near the largest Zoo in all of Europe and you should see mine and Lindsey’s rooms. I have the “Elvis Jungle Room”. The bed is made of “logs” and it has that mosquito netting all the way around it. The netting is hung from the ceiling and I can’t get it open all the way. Not looking forward to sleeping in an “enclosure”! The chairs are done in animal print and there is a bathtub with claw feet. But, Lindsey’s room is even funnier. Her’s is done in purples and other wild colors. She has “hippie beads” in the doorway to her bathroom instead of a door. She has these disco like lamps all over the room. We took lots of photos just of the room.
The hotel just had air conditioning installed but it isn’t working yet….typical! We had a wonderful dinner in the hotel restaurant. I had a salad that had dried apricots, dates, almonds and goat cheese in it that was the best salad I think I’ve ever had.
AND THERE IS WIRELESS CONNECITON IN MY ROOM. I don’t care if I have a bed if I can just get to my internet service. I had an email from the office saying BR549’s flight has been canceled and now they won’t arrive until Sunday morning – concert day. Scares me but nothing I can do about it.
Going to bed now!