10 short stories from the 40th Jazz Festival in Saalfelden 2019/ Part 1

It was a marvellous first Jazz Festival in Saalfelden - at least for me as employee it was the first one. And I had the coolest job of all! My colleague and me, we kept followers and fans up-to-date on Instagram and Facebook and we had the chance to see nearly every part of the Festival. I got to know so many interessting people and thrilling stories, which i'd like to share with you!

This was my first Jazz Festival as an employee. However, in reality it has already been the 40th Jazz Festival and therefore an anniversary year. And i can tell you - this Festival was great. Over 80 concerts - 60 of them for free - on various stages, placed all over the region. Fans of jazz music and also those, who listend to it for the first time, were surprised by the diversity of this music genre - I was no exception. Visitors had the opportunity to listen to Free Jazz, represented by Manu Mayr, Binker Moses Esemble and Co. But also happy Swingsound from Marina and the Kats, relaxed DJ-Sets by Soundframe, Jazz music with a touch of Indie by Buntspecht and Jazz Punk by Botticelli Baby enjoy increasing popularity with fans in Saalfelden. It really was marvellous to be a part of it. This was due to the fact that i was right in the middle of it. I talked to visitors, artists, organisators and employees of the Festival and got to know so many interessting people. I summarized the stories of those people for you. You can read the first five stories here - enjoy them!

1. The best stage crew of all time 

The stage crew of the Jazzfestival Saalfelden is really a huge class reunion of musicans. The guys who work there are nearly all musicans and artists themselves. It all started with Clemens Radauer, who comes from Saalfelden, and grew up with the Jazz Festival. His father was one of the founders of the Jazz Festival. Since Clemens was a child, he always helped and worked at the Jass Festival. Even when he moved to Vienna, he came back every summer to work for the Jazz Festival in Saalfelden. And since some helping hands are always necessary, Clemens brought some of his friends from Vienna. At this time, they have not earned their money with music. Now however, they are really successful in the music business and famous as CID RIM, The CloniOUs, Zanshin und Ogris Debris. However, they still seize the opportunity to come to Saalfelden every year in summer to be a part of the stage crew. This is what they call class reunion. It already happened that bands of Vienna were very confused, because their colleagues suddenly were not on the stage, but behind it, working as stage crew. This year, we engaged three of them to perform on stage at the ParkTracks, instead of working. A big thanks to CID RIM, The CloniOUs and Zanshin for your performance! Repetition requested ;)

2. Confusion behind the szenes

Such a huge Festival with so many differnent concerts and stages is a real challenge. The artists have to travel to Saalfelden, they need a hotel to stay and they need to get from one place to another during the Festival. Organizers of the Jazz Festival are confronted with this huge logistical challenge, where so many artists come together. This is where confusion happens. It's easy to plan that bands perform more than once, however if one band member is not only member of one band, but of two or three bands, the plans get more and more comlicated and confusing. This happend to us with the Schwing Jazz Band, where all of the members belonged to another band called Neon and the Deans. Fortunatelly, our organizers knew this and didn't let the two bands perform at the same time ;)

3. 7,5 tonnes of instruments

I learned a lot at the Jazz Festival in Saalfelden. For example that not every artist or musician travels with their instruments. But what do they do without their instruments? This is the job of the swiss Bobby Leiser. He is the owner of a company called Swiss Cheese and Chocolate Backline, which rents instruments and technical equipment to artists for concerts. He and his team ensure that every artist and musician gets the instrument and the technology they need for their performances. The difficult part of the job: Bobby and his team need to bring as much equipment as necessary, but as little as possible. Nevertheless, they had a total equipment of 7,5 tonnes. However, this has not been the only challenge for the Swiss Cheese and Chocolate Backline. On the same weekend, on which the Jazz Festival Saalfelden took place, four other festivals took place. So the company had to rent their instruments and equipment to all five festivals! To manage this, the company had to buy more instruments - the amounts run into millions. 

4. Odd stories from the ticket office

My colleagues, who work in the ticket office also have funny stories to tell. Here is one of my favourite: If visitors want to visit a concert at the MainStage, they can buy tickets for the specific day and choose a seat. Many fans, who already come to the Jazz Festival for years, like to have the same seat every year. One of these fans liked to book his seat this year, however my colleague had to tell him that this seat has already been booked. Surprised he said: "No, so he has been quicker this year!" and he meant another fan, whose name he already knew. But then he simply chose the seat right behind his "competitor" - and that's the way the handles his defeat. Here's a tip for all of you who'd like to book their preferred seat: The ticket sale for the 41. International Jazz Festival starts on February 3rd 2020!


No, so he has been quicker this year!

Ein langjähriger Jazzbesucher bei der Ticketbestellung

5. Club of Friends creates friendships

The Jazz Festival in Saalfelden is not only a class reunion for the stage crew, but for many visitors the Festival is a must every year. Alex and Günter, for example, visit the Jazz Festival since years. In summer only the two of them come to Saalfelden, in winter they come with their families. Therefore, it's perfectly obvious that both of them are members of the Club of Friends. However, they didn't join the club voluntarily. While drinking the last beer before going home, two of the organizers of the Jazz Festival joined them and they started talking and in the next moment they were already members of the Club of Friends. Since then, they enjoy the advantages of the club and are always looking forward to coming to Saalfelden. I got to know Alex and Günter on Thursday and - even though there were thousands of visitors at the four days of the Festival - I met them everyday. I met them at Nexus, at the court and at the MainStage. I enjoyed to meet them everyday and to hear how they liked each concert. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in winter. 

This were the first five stories of the 40th International Jazz Festival in Saalfelden. All ten of them would have been to long, I guess. But don't worry, soon you can enjoy the next five stories.


Pictures: Michael Geißler, Matthias Heschl, Kristina Seer