One of the scariest things about going so far away to an outdoor festival is the possibility of rain. We could have camped right there on the festival grounds, it was included in the price of our tickets but we opted out. Just in case. It was difficult to pass, the scenery and all.
Good thing we did pass on it. Here’s the view from our balcony the day before the festival began (yep, those are the alps).
Here is what we woke up to on the first day of the festival.
Uh huh. Rain. I told everyone to wake up quick, that we had to get rubber boots. I’d seen some in town the day before while we were walking around and made a mental note of where to get them. A couple of years earlier there was a magazine photo of Kate Moss leaving a rock festival and she was wearing ugly (and muddy) rubber boots. Thanks, Miss Moss (oh, and your Top Shop in London rocks).
We bought the last of the boots and although it did stop raining by the time we got there, the festival grounds were sloppy and muddy near the stage areas. Here’s Spanky and Sweetpea styling in their fancy new boots.
It didn’t rain again until the minute the very last band finished playing that night. We couldn’t believe our luck.
That’s Marilyn Manson, Friday night’s headliner. He put on a spectacular show, even though I don’t care for too much of his music. Some people I spoke with there who had seen him before said it was not a great show, that he usually has a lot more energy.
It is difficult to capture the beauty of this place in a photo. It is an old airfield that the military uses. Three sixty degrees of stunning scenery. (I’m pretty sure they mine chocolate in those alps, they have way too much of that stuff.) Here’s the main stage.
And here is opposite the main stage where people buy lots of beer and sausages.
Sometimes a little too much beer.
But no bottling. Not much crowd surfing, and not much moshing either. We got squeezed pretty tight while listening to Juliette and the Licks. That is Juliette Lewis’ band. Odd huh? Yes, the actress. She’s a good performer, she’s amazing to watch on stage. Listening to her is a different thing. She can’t sing. And she is a bit crappy to her bandmates, giving them a thumbs down when she thinks they aren’t playing so well.
Between every song she stopped to bitch at someone in her band or behind the curtain working her sound equipment. I imagined her telling them, “Make me sing better!”
No such problem with Jared Leto’s voice of 30 Seconds to Mars. I’ve seen him perform three times now and the dude always keeps in tune. He’s a very considerate performer, taking special attention to those near the sides of the stage, playing for them too. He goes out into the audience, the crazy thing. This time he climbed a tent pole about three stories high and sang from there for a while. After the show they did an autograph signing, and Sweetpea, a devoted Jared Leto fan just had to go see him.
So we are waiting behind the barricade in line and Leto sees my camera, looks right at me in the crowd and smiles.
Yes he is looking at me, look closer.
Once I got past the barriers and security, they made me put my camera away. Sweetpea really wanted me to get a photo of her talking to him. I guess it just takes too much time for them to take photos with fans. They run people in and out of signings really fast. But this band talked to us for longer than usual. We were the last ones, maybe that’s why. It made Sweetpea’s day. No week. No. It made the entire trip for her.
That is why I took them to this festival. For years they have travelled with me and it has been really boring at times for them. Little kids do not enjoy travel as much as adults do. Why not do something fun for them? It used to be Disneyland Paris and children’s museums. Now that they are teens it is rock concerts, a great way to meet people from different cultures, not so much as tourists, but visitors. To see them enjoying music as we do, but just a little differently.
We all agreed at the end of the three days that Smashing Pumpkins put on the best show. They were the very last band to play on the closing night.
Check out Billy Corgan with his head shaved and wearing a robe. Not too many bands do encores these days but the Pumpkins came back and played two songs in an encore that lasted about 15 minutes. And as soon as they finished, it began to rain.
It rained every single night in Switzerland and every single morning, but it never did rain in the afternoons and evenings when the bands were playing. I felt really sorry for those poor bastards in those tents though.