By Rosine Alleva, José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographers–Rock At Night France
THE 70th MUSIC AND WINE FESTIVAL welcomed 300239 visitors!!
This 70th edition took place in intense heat, which did not prevent achieving such a record attendance. We were present (Rosine Alleva-José Oliveira) at the Music festival for Rock at Night. As already mentioned in the previous interview with the artistic director Claude Lebourgeois, waiting thirty years to invite STING definitely paid off. It was the most successful and emotional concert. It was also one of the four sold out concerts for the delight of the organizers. The eclectic 70th edition’s program also featured French music artists. Although this year the date has been brought forward to be able to reach major artists, the issue remains outstanding for the coming years.
Security has been particularly efficient, and visitors could enjoy the festive and peaceful atmosphere. Many artists kindly agreed to come to the press conferences. Too bad that others have forgotten that what they are today is partly thanks to interactivity with the press. We are far from the magic of Rock that reigned in the seventies, when journalists, roadies and artists were, for example, playing football together. Unfortunately, as the music industry is increasingly focused on money, it becomes very difficult for artists to even have the opportunity to discover the cities in which they perform .
Matt POKORA started this first festival day. Famous in France for being «Robin Hood» in a big French musical comedy and one of the member of the French THE VOICE jury, he is «the» fashion French singer, a great dancer and showman. He could be Justin Bieber big brother. Other French artists performed later at the festival to please the diversified public: KIDS UNITED for the young generation, Maître Gims for the french rappers, RENAUD the favoured artist of the French public…a very emotional concert, LES INSUS who came back for the 2nd year in a row. To close this French program, three artists were invited: Claudio CAPEO (who also made Alsace very proud), VIANNEY and the great and atypical JULIEN DORÉ.
70’s Rock n’Rollers
On the first weekend, it was MICHAEL SCHENKER, URIAH HEEP and STATUS QUO, representing the glorious seventies, who were present at the Festival.
MICHAEL SCHENKER, Rudolf SCHENKER’s brother from SCORPIONS, began his young career with them to join UFO a bit later. He came on stage with his signature look, his Flying V guitar and set the audience on fire with titles from his MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and MCAULEY- SCHENKER GROUP. Actually on tour bringing together all the singers who practiced within the band (MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST), it’s Robin MCAULEY only who was on vocals on the evening concert in Colmar.
URIAH HEEP was one of the most famous rock bands along with DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN and BLACK SABBATH in the early seventies. MICK BOX is the only original member of URIAH HEEP. It was a great experience to see the public reaction to their legendary energy. The famous rock n’ rollers music sounded stronger than ever! Although many musicians admire URIAH HEEP, it’s hard to believe they never had a real name recognition.
There was a high expectation around STATUS QUO. We had seen them at the same music festival in 2011 with RICK PARFITT. The emotion was present with the new line-up. RICHIE MALONE, the new guitarist, was already replacing RICK PARFITT a few months before passing away in December 2016. Their stage act hasn’t changed and their set included many of their hits whose groove always has marked their career. Despite their absence at the Press conference, José Oliveira had the chance to meet Francis Rossi at his hotel and realised how RICK PARFITT’s absence marked him forever.
What’s the difference between MICHAEL SCHENKER today and the UFO period?
MS– I was 17 years old when I joined the band and this is how I was trained. I was 15 when I participated to the first SCORPIONS album «Lonesome Crow». This was a starting point which would influence the hard rock musicians later in the eighties. I was famous and had success when I was 23. I had a choice to make, I decided to focus on my personal development.
Why did you refuse to join The ROLLING STONES in 1992 or even MOTÖRHEAD in 1975?
MS– Glory and money have never been important to me. However it has always been essential to experiment things by myself…Certain musicians are businessmen hidden behind their artist status, not me. Today I take the time to enjoy life, I walked in Colmar and discovered a magnificent city.
How do you feel being here tonight?
Mick Box – We love the french public and it’s fantastic to play in festivals like the HELLFEST and tonight at the Music & Wine Festival with artists like MICHAEL SCHENKER and STATUS QUO. It’s great to see our fans coming from Germany and Switzerland as well.
How do you explain your durability and the continuing appreciation of yours fans?
MB– A good song is what makes the difference everywhere in the world when you make music.
We’re from the old school! When we started we were part of the progressive rock bands, today we became a classic band! He also insisted on the actual technology and the importance to keep one’s identity. «A computer has no heart!».
Can you tell us a memorable story?
Bernie Shaw– The most memorable story is the one of this deceased fan who never had the chance to see one of our concerts…He had been incinerated. His widow came to see us on stage with the urn containing his ashes in her arms!! It was really weird, it gave us goosebumps!