This Saturday afternoon the Schneefestival Zimmerwald already took place the 9th time. Well, a snowfestival without snow, but still the weather was twisting and turning. However the programme was made for me: The two Thun bands The two Romans and The Souls as well as the Zurich guys of Baba Shrimps played at this year’s winter openair.
The two Romans were just soundchecking. At the entrance you got paper wristbands in turn for your tickets. Who got cold ears, could buy one of the white festival hats. Somewhere you could even get red bobble hats. I don’t know where from. Maybe sponsoring presents?! The last preparations at food and drink stands were done and were slowly arriving. À la “small but nice” the openair isn’t huge, but really nice – well, the weather not included.
Zimmerwald, or Wald, is situated only few kilometres from Bern away, at a height of 840 m over sealevel on Längenberg. On the sports place of the 900 inhabitants village the stage was standing under blue sky. Originally meant as an unique occasion to improve the clubs account, Schneefestival developed to an annual event. The openair took place already the ninth time, where bands like Open Season, Troubas Kater, Baschi or even Trauffer performed in the past years. With my little, rented Smart I set off, dashing over fields and through woods, to finally get to know this festival. I proofed myself that afternoon again, that without satnav I’d be lost. Thihi. Not far from Belp and with a by the organisers provided shuttle bus, it also would have worked out well by public transport. But it’s a nice place with great view. The two Romans also were gushing about it during their performance.
The Two Romans
Thun band The two Romans started the concert day. The audience hadn’t arrived very numeurous yet, but the few present ones could experience an energetic, electrifying show. They are definitively a band for the big stages. The whole energy of the two from Italy immigrated brothers and their band needs a lot of room. Beautiful harmonic folksongs, ballades as well as uptempo, about love and life. Mostly together with the whole band, for “I’ll be” [Video here] only the two of them were on stage. In two voices, wonderful harmonically, before the band joined them again at the end of the song. Next to titles as this one, “Vagabond” or my favourites “Time” and “Light it up”, they played several new songs, that should be released on a third EP likely in autumn. The audience as well as organisers were deciding unanimously shortly before the end of their actual play time: They were allowed to play the last three songs on the setlist for sure, no, they even had to.
Whilst we were convinced at this time, that the weather was going to keep up, there was a longer changing break, before The Souls continued. But the closer the performance got, the darker the sky became and the wind stronger. Why is the weather actually always this incredibly reliable, when we can do with it the least? The wind was dragging already a lot at the covers. But The Souls wouldn’t be The Souls, if they wouldn’t have gone through it anyway.
“We just feel a little like in the 80s” guitarist Michi was laughing. The stormy blasts provided the band unintended real rockstar effects. Hair and scarfs were scattered to the winds… So that everyone could warm up a little after the first few songs, they grabbed a guitar and sang their “Tandem” acoustically in the heated tent in the middle of the audience. Back on stage it started lashing down soon. The organiser was prepared and red rain covers were given to the concert visitors. Well, most did still warp quickly into the tent and were looking for shelter. But the hard-bitten stayed, dancing and rocking on in the rain.
Who actually said that the band could talk large concerning the weather under their covered stage? They were a little bristled about this statement. Totally soaked, but full of pep and obviously still with a lot of fun, The Souls sure weren’t going to stop the concert – come hell or high water. They played their concert with the usual setlist and didn’t end the show before their “stadium hymn” “Run Baby Run” [watch my video here], and this in best rockstar style.
I’ve heard then though, there were little lakes in the pedal boards and with tipping over, streams were flowing. Oh dear, I hope the technics survived…?!
For a moment we were afraid, that the concert of Baba Shrimps even might not take place, or couldn’t. But with about a 30min delay, the weather calmed down and the stage was ready. The rain had stopped, the wind had flattened. But now, when the weather was kind of going along, the technics of course were on strike. Micros not working. Speakers only sounding one-sided. The problems couldn’t be solved as quickly as hoped, and so front guy Adi plugged out his guitar, the three of them came down to the barriers, serenading unplugged until they could properly kick off.
The last months it was quite around Baba Shrimps, only touring the three of them from now on. They were busy with their following up album and presented already many of their new song that evening. The album is going to be released in summer. The first foretaste we’ll get on 24th March in form of a new single – “Road To Rome”, that they presented to us on-site.
The visitors did dare to get out of their shelters again and gathered for the final concert of Schneefestival numerously in front of the stage. With their hits as “Europe”, “Back To Where The Light Is” or “I don’t wanna hide” Baba Shrimps made everyone dance and made sure, everyone was warm quickly. All of it accompanied by a great light show. And if hands and feet still were freezing, with beautiful ballades as “Calling out for you” [watch the video here] or the new “Letters” it was at least warm around the hearts.
After the end of the last concert the party continued, esp. in the warm tent. A little shivering and longing for the warm living room, I soon was off home though. March was just not the the ideal month for an openair, I was told earlier the day. But hey, the weather can also be unpredictable in summer. The festival was equipped with everything needed and the next time I simply put on some warmer shoes.
It was a really great first visit at Schneefestival Zimmerwald. How did you like it?