Rockin` the Vallemaggia Festival

A rolling stone gathers no moss. This is true not only for the Rolling Stones themselves (by the way: did you know, that two of whom have supported Steve Gibbons as vocalists in a very special concert?), but also for the Brum rocker Steve Gibbons. Despite pandemic-related difficulties, he performed with the all-star band „British Blues and Rock Explosion“ at the 19th Vallemaggia Magic Blues Festival in Italian-speaking Switzerland on 29 July.

Vallemagia is small but fine open-air festival that presentes national and international blues performers at various of the most beautiful and impressive village squares in the Vallemaggia.

The audience got to hear standards from international rock music that the band had already offered in Bavaria and Slovenia in autumn 2019, before the virus paralysed international concert life, but also things such as Neil Young’s „Rockin`in the Free World“, a song that took on a whole new meaning in this summer days in which the virus allows freedoms that were otherwise unattainable in recent months.

The gig is to the credit of Ray Frick, who not only graciously unobtrusively but energetically pulls the strings in the background as organiser, but as a full-blooded musician also frequently provides musical support on stage and during rehearsals for the bands he books.

For Steve, the gig in Switzerland also brought a reunion with an old companion: this time, the bass was played by Roger Innes, who, as bassist of the Steve Gibbons Band, played on their live album „On The Loose“, among others.

Other band members were, as in 2019, George Glover from the Climax Blues Band on keyboards, Pete „Sarge“ Frampton of the band The Escape Committee on guitar, Bavarian accordion player „Dackel“ Hirmer and on drums, Tom Diewock (jazz award winner and drummer with Blues Hunt).

The band with Ray Frick

The fans celebrated the performance. The band members had to deal with problems and delays on their return journey because of the pandemic. The record holder in this respect was Pete „Sage“ Frampton (Please do not confuse him with the guitarist of almost the same name from the 1970s with the very curly hair. Today Pete „Sage“ clearly has longer hair than his almost name cousin Peter Frampton). He was stuck for several days before he could fly back to his native British Channel Island. Pragmatic as he is, he made good use of the waiting time. (We will report on this in a separate article).

Steve Gibbons, with whom we spoke on the phone the other day, was particularly impressed by the atmosphere of the festival and the beautiful mountains and lakes of the valley.

He also told us that he will soon be playing in a completely different, equally picturesque part of Europe, this time with his own band. We will report on this in more detail.

All pictures are courtesy of Ray Frick

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