Honky Tonk - back to the roots - Birthplace is Schweinfurt

Honky Tonk - back to the roots - Birthplace is Schweinfurt

After visiting a friend in Schweinfurt, we noticed the numerous posters and flags that pointed to the upcoming Honky Tonk Music Festival.

Of course, the term "Honky Tonk" had "run across our way" a few times, but we hadn't yet had the opportunity to take part in this special type of annually recurring music event, which is now held in over 50 cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland there. The term "Honky Tonk" comes from the English meaning "nightclub with music", which already hints at the musical orientation.

Pubs: Synergy effects and advertising opportunities on site

schweinfurt honky tonk rathausplatzThe idea is as grandiose as it is basically easy to understand: Pubs, bars and clubs join together to form an organization and compete together on the day of the event. The visitor pays a one-off entrance fee and can take part in and celebrate all events in the pubs and clubs. The event is jointly promoted and mostly carried out with a supporting program, such as open-air stages, shuttle buses and street events, with the main focus of the event being live music. The first German Honky Tonk took place in Schweinfurt in 1993. The event concept quickly spread to other large and medium-sized cities, as it has a greater pull on the audience than individual concerts and the cooperation with local pubs results in synergy effects and advertising opportunities on site. Meanwhile "Honky Tonk" is a registered trademark. The organizer of these festivals is the Blues Agency GmbH with the managing director Dominik Brähler, who has meanwhile relocated the main office to Leipzig.

Our bands were definitely Ulla Meinecke and MerQury

schweinfurt honky tonk kapelleBut enough of the preamble and into the fun. We arrived in Schweinfurt at around 6:00 p.m. and then got to know the location for a short time, because finding your way through the maze of venues in the "unfamiliar" city initially seemed quite problematic to us. A fallacy, as it turned out a little later. We had printed out the names of the participating venues such as pubs and bars and the city map from the Internet so that we could organize an assignment and schedule. Finally, there are some highlights that were not to be missed. Our favorites of the evening from at least 33 bands performing were clearly Ulla Meinicke and MerQury, a Queen Tribute Band we had never heard of before. After all, 19 of the 33 bands appearing come from the region around Schweinfurt. But one after another.

Control of the ribbons

schweinfurt honky 1First we went to the market place in the centre of the city, where we picked up our wristbands at the booth of the sponsor Suzuki, which should now give us access to the various event locations. There was already hustle and bustle everywhere, even if the number of visitors was still small. Tables and benches, however, filled the area of the market, which already made clear the expected later rush. Our first tour already made clear the locations of the pubs, bars and cafes, which were already clearly separated from the public space by metal fences with privacy screens. The wristbands, which were required to enter the area and could be purchased at various advance booking offices, were checked at the entrance and exit areas. A good solution, as should become apparent during the course of the evening, in addition to which a 20% discount should be granted on the purchase in a bakery in the coming week upon presentation of the wristband.

Honky Tonk® Festivals in Schweinfurt

schweinfurt honky tonk feuerwehrAround 7 p.m., the TG Big Band in the inner courtyard of the town hall with the classic swing line-up of trumpets, saxophones, trombones and a rhythm group consisting of piano, bass and drums set the starting point of this year's Honky Tonk Festival in Schweinfurt after a short introduction. The inner courtyard of the town hall filled up more and more, and the market square itself came to life. Some exhibitors and sales booths offered their contributions to the festival for sale here, with particular attention being paid to the completely silver-plated vehicle of a local dealer.

schweinfurt honky tonk reiner schoeneAt 8:00 p.m., the Reiner Schöne Band was scheduled to appear on the main stage, a floating pontoon stage that always seemed to rock slightly due to the passing ships and boats, giving the musicians and the audience a very special feeling. The walkway to the stage through the wide reed belt alone offered a special picture for the visitors and probably also an experience for the musicians, especially for Ulla Meinicke, who appeared here later. Reiner Schöne, who is probably better known to many readers as an actor (including the German dubbing voice of Darth Vader from Star Wars), showed his qualities as a blues songwriter and singer here on stage.

Reiner Schöne Band - songwriter and singer

schweinfurt honky 2Having grown up in Weimar and already well on his way as an actor and singer-songwriter, the GDR citizen Schöne fled to the West in 1968 after a concert in Berlin. Here his career began first as a musical star "Berger" in Hair, as a songwriter and singer and then in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar (1972). In 1970, Schöne took part in the German preliminaries for the Eurovision Song Contest and shared second place with "Alone Under Millions". Despite this success, this title never appeared on disk. His biggest hit was the single "Will I still be young when I'm older", the text of which was written by Konstantin Wecker. After almost twenty years in the USA, Schöne returned to Germany in 2002 and continued his career here. One of his last Hollywood films was "Crash Dive" with Michael Dudikoff. Through his participation in cinema films such as "Zero Clock 12", "Otto - The Catastrophe Film", "(T)Spaceship Surprise - Period 1" as well as in television films such as "The Death Flu of Cologne" and "Almost Perfectly Engaged" he quickly became present again .

From AC/DC to ZZ Top bot and the "Shaky Foundation" songs

schweinfurt honky 3We wanted to experience more musicians' performances and made our way along the stages at the local pubs and bars. So there was a short stop at Mephisto, where "Vicious Delicous" offered a mixture of earthy rock with danceable funk grooves and rock'n'roll riffs, to the skate park at the city wall, where "Raw Idol" offered a program ranging from rock to hard rock , where in Fiddlers Green the group "Rosewoud" offered their rocking program from AC/DC to ZZTop and the "Shaky Foundation" presented songs about the normal emotional cinema chaos as indie pop. In short, every show act deserved to stay longer. After a long period of abstinence, it was very important to us to get back to the main stage on time, as Ulla Meinicke's performance was scheduled for 10 p.m. After all, the last live concert was almost 30 years ago.

In 1979 Ulla Meinecke moved to West Berlin

schweinfurt honky tonk ulla meinickeUlla Meinecke moved to Frankfurt am Main early on, where she graduated from high school at the age of 18. By then she had already written her first songs. Meeting Udo Lindenberg in 1976 encouraged her to turn her creative hobby into a career and move to Hamburg, where she managed Lindenberg's office. The first LP Von dead Tigern und nassen Katzen appeared in 1977, greatly influenced by Lindenberg, who also wrote almost all of the music. Another LP Meinecke Fuchs in 1978 made her known to a larger audience and also led to a growing number of performances nationwide - sometimes together with Udo Lindenberg. In 1979 Ulla Meinecke moved to West Berlin.

Edo Zanki wrote the hit "The Dancer"

schweinfurt honky 5The two following albums Overdose Big City (1980) and Nights (1981) were produced by Herwig Mitteregger. He also composed most of the songs; both became close friends.

Mitteregger brought Rosa Precht into Ulla Meinecke's band, but she encouraged him to write his own lyrics and, among other things, gave Spliff the idea for the song Déjà vu.

The two LPs If Not Forever, Then At Least Forever (1983; with the hit The Dancer written by Edo Zanki) and The Pride of Italian Women (1985), in collaboration with the producer Udo Arndt, meant the breakthrough for Ulla Meinecke the German market - including national chart listings.

She received the Goldene Europa and other awards, including the German cabaret prize.

Once again, Ulla Meinecke was able to inspire her audience

schweinfurt honky 4And similar thoughts probably went through the heads of a large number of visitors, because the main stage filled up quickly. And so, before 10:00 p.m., all the seats on the grandstand were occupied, and even the access stairs and the steps offered hardly any getting through. A little late, Ulla Meinicke and her two musicians entered the stage. It was a very appealing concert performance, peppered with all sorts of events and highs and lows in Ulla Meinicke's life. Both musicians allowed a deep insight into their musical skills, there was always time for short solos on the guitar or the piano. A beautiful concert in the truest sense of the word. Of course, the song "The Dancer" written by Edo Zanki could not be missing in a modernized version at the end. Once again, Ulla Meinicke was able to inspire her audience.

Queen's music is still the absolute hit

schweinfurt honky 7Our way now led back into the inner courtyard of the town hall, where familiar Queen tones can be heard from afar: MerQury had already started to play. This time the inner courtyard was already so full that it was almost impossible to get through to the stage.

Even the side staircase was well occupied. No wonder, Queen's music is still the absolute hit at live events, especially when well interpreted. You were quickly integrated into the dancing and singing crowd, no matter your age.

And immediately the mood of the original concert of his time in the old London Wembley Stadium came up again, especially since the order of the songs was reflected almost 1:1.

schweinfurt honky 8The band MerQury has long since surpassed the status of the Queen Tribute Band. MerQury's performance has long been more than just a tribute to the British rock band Queen. More than 1,000 shows in 15 countries have made MerQury itself a giant in the pop and show business. The musicians around the singer Johnny Zatylny are just as virtuoso artists on their instruments as the singer himself almost lets Freddy Mercury rise from the dead. A great show. What more can one say about it. Too bad for those who couldn't experience it.

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