FRIDAY, JULY 3RD – CLASSIC ROCK FESTIVAL AT SELJORD:
Forgot to mention the good news – Wally found his iPhone in one of his bags!
Rocky was saying how great the hotel bed was at this hotel. I told him I’m never in bed long enough to know if it is good or not.
Had hoped to go running this morning but stayed up too late and didn’t have time. I love jogging in this town, too. Showered, had breakfast, and then it was time to go to the venue for sound check. We had a nice van for the 30 minute drive up to Seljord. I love the festivals in Seljord – Classic Rock this weekend and then the Seljord Country Festival the last weekend of July with Craig Morgan this year.
Jan – Lindsey’s boyfriend — is the Production Manager here, too. So many friends over the years and great to see everyone again. Sound check went really quick and we drove back to the hotel. I had about 3 hours to “work” before having another amazing meal for dinner. I’m beginning to get a little bit tired of salmon though even though it is the best I’ve ever eaten.
Our sleeper bus (nightliner) arrived at around 8 pm and went out to meet the driver. He introduced himself by some long Norwegian name so we settled on “Pete”. Then he said he wanted to give me the rules. Huh? He said no one could wear shoes on his bus. I told him that was unacceptable since he was taking us to the venue and the Bellamys would have on cowboy boots. Then he said, okay but only downstairs. Yeah, right. As if he can monitor that when he is driving. It was a huge double decker bus and very, very “old”. Upstairs there was a back lounge with one double bed and one bunk. Then there were 10 bunks along the walls and a front lounge area. I chose the bunk closest to the stairs and toilet not realizing the space between the upper and lower bunk was only about 1 foot. Big mistake. Downstairs was the toilet, sort of a “kitchen” area, and a seating area with only 2 tables and 8 chairs. There were a couple of more chairs up near the driver.
I made sure “Pete” understood English and knew we needed to depart to the venue at 8:45 pm sharp. Then we would return to the hotel immediately after the concert, grab a quick shower and hopefully be on the way to the Oslo Airport by 2 am. We all got on the bus (with our shoes on!) and he departed Bo. About 20 minutes into the drive, Frank (who was sitting in the front) said he didn’t want to alarm anyone but he thought we were going in the wrong direction. I called Kjell and told him and he got on the phone with the driver. About 2 minutes later, the driver turned around. By the time we passed the hotel going in the correct direction, we were 45 minutes late. Kjell used lots of new Norwegian cuss words when he called back and said if the driver had continued on his route, we would not have arrived at the festival until around 11:30 pm – after our show time was over! I noticed that when we got on the bus, the driver spent about 5 minutes programming the GPS. Now he had been sitting in the parking lot for more than 30 minutes but didn’t even think about taking care of that task beforehand. It’s always frightening when the bus driver does not have a clue where he is going and relies totally upon a GPS.
One other lovely fact we learned on the drive over is the fact that the bus is not air conditioned. Since we had planned to sleep on the drive to the Oslo Airport, that would be impossible. We did find some vents upstairs and were able to open those and at least get a breeze going. Only, the heater in the floor that ran the entire length of the bus was blasting hot air. And, the driver had no idea how to turn it off. He had to call the bus company to find out how to turn it off.
We arrived at the festival site very late and Howard and David got off the bus and did the “meet and greet” that should have taken place a more than a half hour earlier. The band/crew were late in changing over the stage as well and our set started about 15 minutes late. But, the crowd was HUGE and enthusiastic. They all knew who the Bellamys are and their music. It was yet another fantastic performance by the Bellamys and their excellent musicians.
Several of the Bellamy’s musicians/crew are also bus drivers for them. They all said that this guy was a terrible driver and was driving much too fast. I asked Kjell to please go speak with him before we departed the venue. He did and when we left for the hotel, he was driving slower. The guys ate some chicken and rice at the venue before our departure and we loaded the bus with bottled water.
We made it back to the hotel without a serious incident and arrived at 1:30 am. We decided that our departure time would be 2:15 am. Since it is a 4 hour drive to the Oslo Airport, I told the driver we should arrive at 6:15 am and that he would need to stop and park somewhere until 7 am when we needed to check in. He “seemed” to understand me. When we came back out to load the bags, I realized there were no bus bays….just a compartment in the back where the driver had to walk up steps and stand and we had to pick up our bags and lift them over our heads to put into the storage compartment.
The toilet on the bus smelled terrible – way too many chemicals in it and you could smell it even with the door closed and smell it upstairs. That’s about the time that the bus driver told us he only drove occasionally because he is a PLUMBER. Now that was really comforting knowing a plumber was going to be driving us through the “wilds” of Norway in a huge double-decker bus on winding roads with steep drops on each side. I got in my bunk but every time he braked quickly or took a turn too fast, I woke up. He also stopped twice which means all the air coming in through the roof vents ceased to exist and the heat woke us up.
I’m sure I left out some of our adventure but that’s enough to give you an idea of our “bus trip”. J
Good news is the festival was amazing and seeing all my friends at Seljord again is always a special treat.