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More than 15.000 visitors and the weather was not too bad – this year´s Alpen Flair Festival was a real highlight, because the location – the apple tree plateau of Natz, Southern Tyrol, in bright sunlight just like on Friday, is one of the most beautiful festival locations you could imagine.
It was the second time for this festival at Natz, which appeals with a fantastic line-up. Many might have been looking forward to the show of Heino (the German superstar of Schlager music who has been in business for more than 40 years and recently turned to Rock/Metal, covering songs by e.g. Rammstein; the ed.) And many might have wondered, is he really going to play?
The organisation didn´t quite work on the arrival day Thursday, unfortunately. It seemed nobody had expected sooo many people... but luckily with a team of volunteers the problems could be worked out. The organisers didn´t report any problems, yet they should consider changing the access road – when you finally reach the top, there is no room to turn and you got to back out backwards. Maybe a one-way road plus loading zone would be a better solution?
Another problem was the difficulty to work as a journalist. Although press passes allowed access to a small area with tables next to the stage, to be used to put down a laptop or to sort your camera equipment, this small space seemed also to be part of the artist area, and you always got to explain why you were there... please consider a VIP/press tent, just like in 2012.
But now the festival a such – on Friday afternoon the stages noted an above-average attendance, e. g. for the Eisbrecher show. Before this band, Sin Deadly Sin with their wonderful front women and some others warmed up the crowd. During Ganes and their "La,la,la" country sound you had time to relax in this heat with a cold drink.
Bright sunlight and +33 degrees affected the audience as well as the people on stage. Eisbrecher - whose singer is also known from the TV show „Der Checker" – kicked off the party and especially the song „Miststück“ got the crowd in motion.
Alexander Wesselsky continually integrated the audience into his show and was thankful that people sang along, he even came into the audience and offered a rose to a fan. Great performance of a charismatic singer, and a way too short gig ended in a shower of confetti.
The festival highlights were probably Gunther Gabriel and Heino, both dinosaurs of the German popular music/Schlager scene, and the crowd swayed to their hits like „Hey Boss, ich brauch mehr Geld" or „Sierra Madre”. Well, that´s indeed music that moves... Nobody could say how many people were actually present at this point. Even from top of the tower you could not see where the bulk of people actually ended.
Gunther Gabriel is known for his Schlager evergreens with a Country touch. When he talked about his long career in between the songs, the audience was quiet like during a lecture. Those stories about e.g. Johnny Cash, who was his friend, or about Heino – they´ve known each other for more than 40 years – were absolutely impressive. (Whether Heino is indeed a very well equipped philanderer remains to be seen). Still a show not to be missed, and a great entertainer left the stage after 60min, making room for the latest shooting star in Rock music:
When HEINO , dressed in a leather jacket and wearing skull jewelry, entered the stage with quite a big orchestra, and the crowd went nuts. He played a mix of songs from his new album „Mit freundlichen Grüßen“ and also his Schlager-hits „Barbara" „Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss" or "Blau, blau blau blüht der Enzian", and the fans even formed a polonaise that seemed to go on for miles and miles. When Heino played „Sierra Madre”, people swayed and waved with the Alpen Flair hat (which you got for free with the festival wristband). And yes, Heino indeed sang everything LIVE. This show deserves a 10 / 10 !!!
Letzte Instanz needed some time, like 2-3 songs, to get their Folk-Rock show into gear, but their stage decoration was already pretty impressive. The string section was put into the background and more room in the front given to the “normal” instruments, and they had added some electronic gimmicks. Those huge balloons during the song „Von Anfang an" were a great idea to entertain the audience.
Doro was the headliner of this evening. Does this Rock lady ever get older or tired? Well, she does not have to. She captured the audience right away, performing well-known hits like „Für immer", „All we are", but also songs from her new album „Raise Your Fist“, e.g. the title track. Just this show was worth to pay those moderate 30e for a 3-day-ticket.
The band 4 Tweenty offered irony and social criticism as well as politics, combined with quite dancable music - an impressive wrap-up of a festival night bathed in the light of the full moon.
Saturday started with Enrichment from Berlin, featuring singer Martin Kesici, and they rocked the crowd in a way that made clear they must have had a relaxing night before... ;-)
Not so many people were in front of the stage, perhaps because at the same time Freiwild gave an open-to-everybody press conference in the nearby tent (where also the biggest Tattoo convention in Northern Italy took place).
Fiddler’s Green offered a good mix of many musical styles, like Ska, Punk, Metal and Reggae. Their Irish Folk/Folk rock warmed up the crowd, even Circle pits were formed and maybe one or the other arm slightly injured. After 45 min they left the stage to make room for Emil Bulls, who indeed fired off some guns in the beginning – well, ok, those were CO2 fog machines...
The Alternative-Metal-Band Emil Bulls from Munich has become an audience magnet at festivals in recent years. On this apple tree plateau they did some awesome work – this energy translated to a fruit press would have produced thousands of gallons of apple juice... Songs like „ The Jaws Of Oblivion" could easily win some new fans, the crowd was taken over by storm. People in the first rows were presented with a souvenir – the sweat of the heavily headbanging front man; but some fans reacted to that with pride and joy. Hardcore fans knew every single text line to sing along with, and there was also some moshing and Pogo. Which means that there were lots of sweaty faces in the audience, too. 9,5 /10
Some people visited the merch stands to purchase CDs, T-Shirts or posters, before the festival headliners entered the stage:
FREI.WILD This band is nowadays pretty popular with both fans as well as critics, having their break-through (nr 1 in German charts) a few months ago with their album „Feinde deiner Feinde (Gold Edition)". The festival area was shaken with the intro of “Wir reiten in den Untergang” and fireworks. Unfortunately, just around this time, the weather gods seemed to take the song too literally (“riding into desaster”) and indeed unleashed a rain desaster that continued throughout the Freiwild gig.
But this revealed the true fans of this band, because most of them just ignored it and danced along like in a trance. With more than 20 songs taken from all their releases the band offered a great set list, and this was indeed a good Freiwild show, but not quite perfect.
After the gig singer Philipp Burger entered the stage to introduce the project „Wilde Flamme II - Geschichten bleiben Geschichten“, where musicians like Joggl - Unantastbar, Martin Kesici – Enrichment, Georg Kirchler - Bad Jokers, Neo Scope - Down Below, Nord – Hämatom took part. All the sales of this single are donated to a children charity home in Brixen. Respect! The highlight was the attendance of Matthias "Gonzo" Röhr - Böhse Onkelz. Let´s be curious how this project continues, maybe with Heino?
Finally there was a Harley Davidson, signed by all artists of the "Wilde Flamme" project, raffled off, which was hosted by starlet Michaela Schäfer, naturally a highlight for the males in the crowd. The person who bought raffle ticket nro 199 can now enjoy a Harley ride.
The fun Metal band J.B.O. provided a great finale for a Super Festival, and you can be looking forward to 2014 Alpen Flair 3.0. The pre-sales have started already.
The Sunday offered a typical Alpine brunch with Folk music, and even severel artists from previous days – for some reason most of them wearing sun glasses – showed up to hang out with their fans, pose for fotos and give autographs.
Résumé of Alpen Flair 2013 . 8 / 10 !!!
Heino´s show was the absolute highlight, Heino himself submitted a “thanks to all festival organizers and fans” message afterwards, announcing that he would love to be back soon.
More photos online here: