This time we flew into Frankfurt (rapidly becoming our most familiar European airport) and on the plane found ourselves sitting next to the legendary Herman's Hermits (well, their surviving members anyway). Les of course talked techy-talk with their keyboard player (who looked like he'd just stepped out of a lineup on Never Mind The Buzzcocks) while I battled the urge to ask if Herman's Hermits need German permits to put on their shows. It was noticeable on arrival that it had been quite some time since we'd exited an airport to find it cooler outside than in, a most refreshing change. A three hour bomb down the autobahn, interrupted only for the consumption of fine sausage, and we arrived at the festival site where it all came flooding back to me, though it did seem a lot smaller than I'd remembered.
As it was a two stage setup we had the all-too-rare luxury of a sixty five minute changeover. The excellent local crew ensured the show went smoothly and we were all finished and packed up by half past six. So, a spot of dinner and a few beers it was then. It was then I found things were not going as smoothly as I'd imagined. An utter prick among the production staff was making life very difficult for the band for reasons known only to himself, smugly shaking his head in response to polite requests for wifi passwords and hotel room keys, and all the while demanding €95 for rental of a poxy keyboard which was part of our technical rider anyway and so had already been paid for. When Les challenged him about it and asked (with admirable restraint) why he was being so unreasonable the bloke offered him out for a fight! Utterly outrageous behaviour, especially when you consider that without the bands there'd be no festival and without the festival he'd be out of a job. We won anyway - he gave us the keys and Les didn't pay. Balls to your little scam. It was a shame though because everyone else there was great.
It was a bit quiet later on in the hospitality area, though Vincent livened things up by extracting a bottle of rock pop from the production office (read the contract), making it two-nil to Anathema. The elderly turban-wearing metal fan we'd met a couple of years ago put in an appearance, prompting a flurry of top puns. I reckon I won with "Sikhs Sikhs Sikhs, The Number of the Beast" but that's only because I can't remember any of the others. Since our flight back wasn't until quite late the following evening I had a pretty mellow day exploring Dinkelsbuhl with its turrets and lakes and country parks. I'd highly recommend a visit to what is probably the archetypal Bavarian medieval town.
So that's it for the summer festivals. We've got a couple of weeks off and then we're spending the best part of autumn touring Europe and Scandinavia (with a little trip to Beirut beforehand).
Keep your eyes on the main website for news. In the meantime here's a picture of a nice German shed: