WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, JUNE 21-22 – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND – ANNUAL TRUCKER AND COUNTRY FESTIVAL:
Leaving Nashville today for a long weekend in Switzerland at one of the best festivals ever — The Trucker and Country Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland. Have 4 artists from the USA performing — The Mavericks, Kiefer Sutherland, Jo Dee Messina and American Young. Will be great concerts!!!
I am flying Delta via JFK — alone. Jo Dee’s group departs after me via Atlanta, Kiefer and Mavericks are already on tour in Europe and American Young will depart tomorrow.
No issues checking in today except when I went through the TSA pre-check lane, the “agent” said my ankle bracelets were going to set off the alarm! WTH?? I always wear “toeless compression socks” for long flights and I guess she thought the part she could see were ankle bracelets — and I suppose I look like a criminal. 🙂
It is a tiny jet from here to JFK. Makes sense. Cram everyone on a small plane all the way to JFK but give us a jumbo jet for the 25 minute flight to Atlanta!
I can track my bag via delta and it shows it as being on the plane. This trip last year, my bag never made it to me. Got lots of new clothes compliments of Delta!
Landed at JFK and my departure gate is in the same terminal as my arrival gate. Went to the Delta Lounge and had over 3 hours to “work” which was great! We boarded on time and started to taxi and then stopped! The pilot came on and said that there was “weather” at one end of the runway where we were supposed to depart and he was going to have to go all the way around the airport to another runway. Said it would take at least an hour but we would still land Zurich on time. I looked out both sides of the plane and saw nothing but clear skies. I opened my weather app and absolutely no rain in the area! I guess it just sounds better to say the flight was delayed by an hour due to weather rather than admitting that everything was just backed up.
We finally took off and I had already watched over half of a really great movie. Had dinner and watched a few minutes of another movie and then I slept for about 2 ½ hours. Compared to my other trips, this was a short 7 hour flight.
We landed about 20 minutes late and then Immigration was backed up with the longest line I have ever seen in the Zurich Airport. Figures that Jo Dee’s group landed almost an hour early and had been waiting on me. I got out as quickly as possible and called Jrene to find out where the bus was. The bus driver was stuck in traffic and had been for over an hour because of an accident on the highway. It was going to take him at least another 30-45 minutes to get there. We “hung out” on the sidewalk and waited for him and then drove for 2 hours to Interlaken, arriving at noon.
The hotel was just cleaning our rooms but was able to get Jo Dee and her two little boys and her personal assistant in their rooms pretty quickly. I had a great salad with Iris and got caught up on some “girl talk”. So good to see all my Interlaken friends.
Albi was checking in as I walked back from purchasing a train ticket for tomorrow’s trip to the airport to meet Kiefer’s group. Then Mitch and Francy — my friends and promoters from Italy – arrived and I sat and talked to them for a few minutes. I had to leave and get on a conference call, then shower and get dressed for the Sponsor Party.
Jo Dee and her boys and assistant went to the Sponsor Party. I can’t believe the little boys are still “upright” but I think they may be handling the time change better than the adults! Really cute, well-mannered little gentlemen – ages 5 and 8.
The Sponsor Party was really nice and great food. Got to re-connect with Maya and Peter and some other friends there. We were back at the hotel by around 10 pm and I’ve been working ever since. Need to grab a few hours sleep and then head to the train station. LONG day tomorrow – Kiefer and Jo Dee both perform. American Young will arrive as well. Will be so good to see Kristy again. She’s the one who “babysat” me for 6 hours in the Denmark Emergency Room when I had my bike accident several years ago.
FRIDAY, JUNE 22nd – FIRST PERFORMANCES IN INTERLAKEN – KIEFER SUTHERLAND AND JO DEE MESSINA:
What a miserable 4 hours I spent trying to sleep. The air conditioning broke while I was at the sponsor party and my room was a Sauna when I returned. I opened the windows but there was no breeze but hundreds of flying insects filled my room within minutes. If stores had been open, I would have purchased a fan! Hopefully they will get it fixed today before Americans need to be hospitalized for heat stroke!
I was at the train station by 8:45 am and took the 2-hour beautiful, quiet train ride to Zurich. I had no idea that would be the last “peaceful” moment of the day. But, what a wonderful day! Kiefer’s group arrived pretty much on time and we got the bus loaded and headed out to Interlaken. Most of his guys had never been to Switzerland before and were blown away by the scenery. We stopped at the venue and unloaded all the equipment and guys and took Kiefer and his assistant to the hotel. I rushed back out to the venue to take care of “things’ and then rushed back to the hotel to meet American Young. I somehow missed my ride back to the venue with Kiefer for sound check so had to wait for another ride. Thankfully, the air conditioning in the hotel is working again!!!
Kiefer finished his sound check early and I rushed over to the “Marshall’s Lounge” to attend the Press Conference. This year, they wanted me to sit on the panel and answer a couple of questions. I’d rather take a needle in the eye than speak in public. But they only asked me 3 questions and it was over relatively quickly. 😊 Jo Dee and American Young were the only two artists who could attend the press conference this year.
Rushed back to hotel and grabbed a quick dinner with American Young at the Indian restaurant. Great food but had to eat much too fast to rush back out to the venue for Kiefer’s show. It was brutally hot in the tent. This is the only festival I have that actually prays for late afternoon rain because it cools everything off and drives the people into the tent.
Attendance was definitely down this year. One reason is the “heat”. People will go spend the weekend at the lake rather than sitting in a sweltering festival tent. The other was really a bummer – there was a major accident on the highway to Interlaken and traffic was being diverted to another route which added an hour to their drive time. A friend of mine made it just in time for Kiefer’s show but said a lot of cars just turned around and went back home because they didn’t think they could get here in time to see him perform.
Kiefer hit the stage and the audience loved him. He’s so personable on and off stage. His songs are so well-crafted and his band is “tight”! The crowd started filling in as he sang and he had a great audience. Afterwards, he did an interview for Swiss TV and a small “VIP Meet & Greet” with festival organizers and supporters.
Jo Dee was on stage next with her rockin’ show. She still has such a powerful, amazing voice. Audience was totally into her show and her musicians were excellent as well. It was almost 2 am before we got back to the hotel and I am SERIOUSLY FRIED!!!
SATURDAY, JUNE 24TH – AMERICAN YOUNG AND THE MAVERICKS PERFORMANCES IN INTERLAKEN – AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DAUGHTER – LINDSEY CHANCE.
I slept for a couple of hours and then went down to see Jo Dee off to Italy. They have a long drive through the Alps but the tour bus looked nice and I’m sure most will sleep the entire trip.
I went back to bed for an hour and then went down to see Kiefer’s group off on their tour bus to Glastonbury. Now that’s a long drive. He was so kind and gracious to everyone, thanking everyone for having him and his guys perform here. From the fans he made last night, I hope I’ll be working with him again at other festivals.
Shower was next on the agenda and a very quick breakfast. Then it was time for sound check. American Young finished sound check early and I was able to ride back to the hotel with them and pick up the room keys for the Mavericks. The hotel told me that one of my group did not check out this morning and I needed to get them out of the room because it was a room reserved for one of the Mavericks. I checked my list and it was not someone from our groups. They were going to try to reach the person and have the room available when The Mavericks arrived.
The Mavericks arrived at the expected time and unloaded all the equipment at the venue. The crew stayed and everyone else went to the hotel to try and grab a little rest before tonight’s performance. Before they arrived at the hotel, Jrene called and said I needed to change the room number for one of the guys. I let the tour manager know but a few minutes later, he called and said the room that had been switched was not acceptable and they wanted the original room – which was, of course, the one where the lady did not check out. Since the guest did not have a reservation to stay at the hotel tonight, I asked the hotel if they could just move her out of the room so that we could have it for The Mavericks. Evidently, Swiss law prohibits them from doing that! Fortunately, Jrene knew the lady staying in the room and was able to contact her and get her to move out of the room. Then there was the issue of finding someone to clean the room which they accomplished much quicker than I expected.
Did not have time to eat lunch or dinner today but figured I could grab something backstage at some point. There was an opening band on first tonight and then American Young hit the stage. There was a big crowd but again, not as many as last year because it is still brutally hot. It got really cloudy at one point today and cooled things down considerably but it just didn’t last long enough. I was very impressed with American Young’s performance and it was obvious that the audience was too. They went out front and signed autographs and sold all their CDs and most of the other items they brought with them. If artists don’t go out front and sign, then the fans won’t purchase the merchandise.
The Mavericks arrived and as soon as they hit the stage, I “ran” from the FestTent to the Offices which are at opposite ends of the event. I needed to pick up money, then go into the VIP area and see Marcel and Heidi from Gstaad and also pick up the birthday cake for Eddie Perez with the Mavericks. He is celebrating his birthday on Monday. Just as I got into the office, Iris called and asked where I was. I told her I was in her office! She had Marcel backstage waiting to see me! I got the money and the birthday cake as quickly as I could. I had to hold the cake on top of my head and weave my way through the huge crowd of people to make my way back to the festtent. I was finally able to exit the grounds and walk down a back road to the venue.
Talked to Marcel and his beautiful wife for a few minutes about his event for 2018. Heidi wasn’t with him but came by a few minutes later to say hello. It was so nice to see both of them. I actually had a little time to talk to Mitch and Francy (my promoter and friends from Italy) for a few minutes tonight!
The birthday cake was a big surprise to Eddie when they presented it on stage. The Mavericks were supposed to perform for 90 minutes but the crowd loves them and they played for two hours. They always have a fantastic, high energy performance and it was the perfect way to end the night.
I was back in the hotel by 1:30 am and in bed by 2:00 am. Finally going to have time to go for a jog tomorrow morning if it isn’t raining!
SUNDAY, JUNE 25TH – DAY OFF IN INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND:
Was so nice to actually get a decent night’s sleep AND have time to jog 3 miles in beautiful weather. It rained earlier this morning but had stopped by the time I was ready to run. It’s still HOT but nothing like Friday and Saturday.
I grabbed some yoghurt from COOP next to the hotel after my jog, ate that and then left my room so it could be cleaned. I went “shopping” in the few stores that are open on Sunday here. Was going to buy Lindsey something cute for her birthday, but none of the clothing stores are open on Sunday. I did get some cute gifts or Zac and Zoe and will buy Sprungli chocolate at the airport tomorrow. Came back to the room and showered and dressed for dinner with Iris. Had a couple of hours to work before meeting her.
Iris and I walked to the restaurant near the hotel where we had lunch the other day. Several members of the Mavericks were at the bar next to us and they also came to the restaurant (at Iris’s recommendation) and had dinner. Iris and I sat and talked for hours and Raul joined us at one point. Paul also wandered over and Mike stopped by, too. Mike paid over $600 today to jump out of a helicopter! OMG….I would pay 10 times that much NOT to have to jump out of a helicopter!!!! He showed us footage and I got queasy just watching it.
It was such a relaxing, wonderful day….did not have hundreds of text messages and emails to deal with. Exactly what I needed. It’s midnight and I have to get up at 4 am for a 5:30 am lobby call. I had BIG plans to be in bed by 10 pm tonight. Nope!
MONDAY, JUNE 26TH – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND TO NASHVILLE, TN:
Would have been nice to sleep for 4 hours but I guess I should not have had that cappuccino at dinner. Doubt that I slept a total of 30 minutes. I arrived in the lobby at 5:15 pm and almost everyone was already downstairs. The bus had just pulled up and we started loading the bags and equipment.
Other than the accordion music blaring on the tour bus radio, it was a very quiet drive 2 ½ hour drive to the airport. We hit a little traffic going through the Alps right outside of Interlaken but then hit a lot of rush hour traffic at around 7:30 am near Zurich. Glad we planned on a longer drive since our flights depart at 10:10 and 10:15 am.
Check in was relatively easy and I said good-bye to the Mavericks and made my way to the gate. Didn’t even have time to go in the Delta Lounge and charge my iPhone, which really needed it. The flight was full in business class and I’m guessing it was in coach as well. The video system was really messed up. I wasn’t able to use the “touch screen” and the hand-held control barely worked. Then about 10 minutes into the movie, the entire system shut down. It took them almost an hour to get the system back up and running. I finished watching the movie while eating a very bad meal and then slept for 4 hours! Still had time to watch another movie when I woke up. I didn’t want to use one of my free AMEX vouchers for WiFi for such a short period of time and knew I could catch up on my work once we landed at JFK. I have a 4 hour layover again.
It was easy going through Immigration and Customs but then after dropping my bag, I had to go upstairs where everyone is checking in for flights and go through the security check. The lines were crazy long, even for TSA Pre-Check. Once I made it through, it was a long hike to the Delta Lounge. I sat in the same window seat where I sat for 4 hours last Wednesday when I was coming through JFK. By the time I finally arrived there though, I only had 3 hours to work. Still helped me catch up.
The flight to Nashville is on one of the small jets and it does have WiFi but for some reason, I cannot connect. Evidently no one on the flight was able to connect which means I’ll be up working all night when I get home.
We landed on time and it’s almost 1 am now. Will be home all day tomorrow and then flying to El Paso on Wednesday for a performance with Cassadee Pope at Holloman Air Force Base on Thursday.