Home is more than a feeling

A medley of 28 songs – including Circle of Life, Lose Yourself and My Way – a bachelorette party and a beer mug: It’s a wild mixture that merges into a harmonious whole on Friday evening in the event forum. Several hundred people come, some dressed in traditional costume, to watch the first “Fürstival”. From now on, the festival for “New Folk Music” will take place annually in late summer. The motto of the festival is “Sound of Heimat”, and it lives up to it: you can guess countless styles of music, and yet the whole evening feels somehow Bavarian.

But if you want to hear classical folk music there, you’re probably in the wrong place. Of course, the tuba and accordion are part of the musical instruments, but it’s still not traditional. Since the 1970s, musicians such as Willy Michl or Haindling have contributed to the further development of folk music. Today, the traditional tones of folklore have evolved into a more modern genre of music that celebrates the country’s sense of home and boisterous life, innocently contrasting it with the foreign, modern world. The musical universe of “new folk music”, in which there are hardly any rules, is carried on by predominantly young people: the basis is folk music, plus elements from jazz, hip hop, electronic, folk, reggae and rock. With the experimental Upper Austrian duo Attwenger, the commercial success of the new music genre, which has been trending ever since, began in the 1990s.

Fürstenfeldbruck: The Fäaschtbänkler come from Switzerland.

The Fäaschtbänklers come from Switzerland.

(Photo: Johannes Simon)

No wonder that the Fürstival is well attended: representatives of this popular genre of music gather on the festival stage over the first weekend in September. Bands such as Cubaboarisch 2.0, Folkshilfe, Oimara and Dicht und Ergreifd form the line-up, supplemented by the local Stadtkapelle Fürstenfeldbruck and the Schöngeising brass band. “Normal folk music is actually rather boring,” says 19-year-old Steffi, who came from Dachau with two friends, “we just find the new folk music cooler”. Folklore enthusiasts and clubbers feel at home in the baroque complex, grandparents come with their grandchildren, and couples of all ages are present in dirndls and lederhosen.

Fürstenfeldbruck: Pure atmosphere at Sound of Heimat.

Pure atmosphere at Sound of Heimat.

(Photo: Johannes Simon)

In addition to lifting the beer mug, the guests play tree trunk nailing on the playground in the middle of the site. They swing on benches with pretzels and beers in hand and scurry between the stalls selling leather goods and official band merchandise. Between the banging and swinging visitors, girlfriends celebrate a bachelorette party. With beaver tail panties over her jeans, a beaver backpack on her back and a crown on her head, the bride-to-be stands at the edge of the event and tries to earn five euros with a harmonica and rattle. “We came here from Lower Bavaria. She just likes this kind of Bavarian music,” says maid of honor Karina, laughing about the 30-year-old future wife Wimberger. “I’m getting married on September 10th, next week,” says Bianca, counting the coins in her cup and rocking to the music that’s being played from the tape.

Fürstenfeldbruck: costumes, wherever you look at the Fürstival.

Traditional costume wherever you look at the Fürstival.

(Photo: Johannes Simon)

There is currently a break on the stage. tape change. New instruments are set up and a large poster is raised in the background. Then two hands forming a heart. It’s time for the main act of the evening: The Fäaschtbänkler.

Five guys come on stage. The Swiss band is not only regularly in the charts in their homeland – the members are among the most important interpreters of this music genre, which is becoming increasingly popular. Also on this evening they offer rousing entertainment. The first tones of the band pull the rest of the people, who were still deep in conversation, out of the break. But before the show really starts, a warm-up exercise for band and audience: “Dadada, dödödö, hello, hello”. “Are you ready for an escalation?” calls accordion player Roman Wüthrich, the audience cheers and clap, and the song of the same name “Escalation” begins:

“We sang and danced, but suddenly everything is forbidden / and you’re standing there alone / no party, but not so tragic / soon the time will come, soon the time will come!”

The Swiss play their songs such as “Helene”, “Verliebt” and their big hit “Can You English, Please” with guitar, drums, accordion, tuba and trumpet. In the middle of the show, they switch to a small podium, stand very close to the audience and smile at each other. Towards the end, the band plays their 28-genre song – a medley of the sounds of different home countries, with which they pretty cleverly pick up everyone again on this successful evening.

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