International Rock’n’roll Festival in Latvia
has just finished.
It was organized and produced by Pete & Anna Anderson with the help of “Mega Art” producers’ group.
In spite of the fact that the day of the festival, the 26th
of February, when all the participants of the festival were all available to come to Riga to play, was exactly the same day as the final day for Eurovision song contest’s national selection, both concerts were all sold out and both venues – Radisson SAS hall “Daugava” and club “Alcatraz” were both full of enthusiastic crowd!
Their interest was warmed up by the attractive line-up of the musicians: Mr. Boogie D from Vilnius, Lithuania
, Chick’n’band from Estonia
, Wildfire Willie & The Ramblers from Sweden
and Pete Anderson from Latvia
Many celebrities, politicians, businessmen, popular actors and embassies’ staff were eager to see the show. The interest was so big that the organizers decided to make an additional concert at Alcatraz club. The artits created real rock’n’roll storm onstage! It was the first time ever that such a big number of high quality rock’n’roll and rockabilly artists gathered together at one time here in Riga! The day of the event was also the bithdate of Fats Domino and Johnny Cash! Year 2005 is the 70th
anniversary year for Elvis too!
Rock’n’roll festivals, meetings and weekenders that happen the whole world over already since late 1950’s came up to Latvia just now. There’s no sense to wonder what the real reasons for that fact are.
There was an attractive opening with two fascinating boogie woogie piano players – Boogie D from Lithuania
and Gints Zhilinskis from Latvia
. Both pianists furiously improvised sending musical challenges to each other adding in each other with virtuoso licks.
The next band to perform was famous Chick’n’band from Estonia
. No doubt that its front man nicknamed Tibu (“Chick” in Estonian) is Jerry Lee Lewis of Estonia
. They delivered a tremendous, professional and expressive show. As usual Tibu played with many parts of his body and sometimes even used the nearest furniture that was at his disposal. The audience started to dance and had lots of fun with this amazingly tight band!
Then there was a time for another pleasant surprise! This time Pete Anderson appeared onstage with 4 horns band that reminded of golden days of “Pete Anderson & His Archives” (1989 – 1993) and included several members of “Keksi” band – the followers of “The Archives” as well! To audience’s great delight and joy they played several rock’n’roll and jump’n’jive compositions that were arranged in a rather modern way. The packed „Daugava” hall almost lost it's roof! The crowd went wild and loved every minute of the show of this extremely powerful band.
The music magic was almost unbelievable! Videos from the 50’s along with good lights, perfect sound and warm atmosphere created a vision of an authentic American rock’n’roll joint of the 50’s!
Plenty of guests including V.I.P’s were dressed in stylish 50’s–inspired outfits and wore adequate hairdos.
As the climax of all the show at the end of the evening we had a rare chance to see Wildsfire Willie & The Ramblers - the headliner of the „Viva Las Vegas” – the biggest rockabilly festival on Earth! It’s one of the few European bands who were lucky to make a serious impact on American rock’n’roll and rockabilly scene of today. They are often picked out of many other bands as a back-up band for true rock’n’roll originators from the 50’s. Not many of you have ever seen the upright bass player playing his instument upsides down, lying upon it or riding it like a horse! Jan Svensson of Wildfire Willie sang with such a self-expression and dedication as it was the last time of his life he’s singin’! On top of that The Ramblers wore authentic 50’s clothes, used 50’s microphones, guitars etc. These guys sure are the purists who don’t accept any innovations! Their primitive, wild and archaic Memphis rockabilly sound drove everybody berserk!
Lots of people on this festival remembered the happy days of their youth!
What’s most exciting is that among the audiences there were many youngsters as well. Rock’n’roll being one of the most democratic forms of musical art of the 20th century has proved once again that it may successfully unite inconsistent – both teenages and semi-seniors in a common joy!
There is only one conclusion to that - "We don't care what people say - rock’n’roll is here to stay!"
Let’s only hope that it’s not for the last time and let’s all meet at the next festival!!!
Thanks to all the friends of rock’n’roll!
Photos from the festival may be seen in the photogallery