The Country & Western Friends Koetz 1982 e.V.
Associationfor the maintenance and promotion of American Roots Music
The Country & Western Friends Koetz started out back in 1982. They have one goal, getting authentic American Country Music heard by German audiences. Old Time Music, Bluegrass, Honky Tonk, Singer-Songwriter, Cajun, Zydeco, Tex-Mex,they have all been welcome since the beginnings of the organisation.
Peter Wroblewski has been chairman ever since he created a flyer, saying „wanted –people who wanna share the Country Music hobby with me“. By doing so, he found new friends from near and far. Together, they went to see festivals and concerts all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland. After collecting enough experiences, they started organising their own musical events. First, they hired local bands like Main Spring, featuring Mark Stoffel. Soon the bands came from all over the world, especially the US, Canada, Great Britain and even Australia. The Double Decker Stringband soon was followed by the likes of Bill Clifton, Red Rector & Art Stamper or Cathy Barton & Dave Para in 1987.
Bluegrass was a main factor in the music presented by the Country Friends Koetz. In 1988 The Good Ol’ Persons from California (Kathy Kallick, John Reischman, Sally Van Meter,Kevin Wimmer and Beth Weil) played one of their venues, and the Koetz CountryMusic Festival had names on the bill like Bob Everhart, The Tom Russell Bandand Hugh Moffatt all on the same weekend.
As the organisation grew, the festivals grew, so The Nashville Bluegrass Bandplayed there and so did Barry & Holly Tashian. Now Country Music Hall ofFame Members Jean Shepard and Emmylou Harris &The Nash Ramblers played concerts for Peter Wroblewski, his friends and the listening audiences of Koetz. So did former Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan, legendary Singer-Songwriter Steve Young, Richard Dobson and Tom Russell even brought Dave Alvin, Katy Moffatt or Ramblin’Jack Elliott to perform at the Pfleghofsaal Langenau. Then new talent like Tish Hinojosa got a chance to play her music, as well as Bluegrass Bands like California (Berline-Crary-Hickman-Moore-Spurgin), The Shady Grove Band, High Country, Gary Brewer & The Kentucky Ramblers, Robin & Linda Williams, The Weary Hearts, The Lynn Morris Band, Chris Jones & The Nightdrivers, Front Range, Bluegrass Etc., Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters feat. Roger Williams, Karen Lynne &Acoustic Shock from down under, The Beggars from South Australia or legends like Jim Eanes, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver or Charlie Louvin & Charles Whitstein.
Besides the regular concerts and festivals, the Country friends started a series of Bluegrass Meetings, the first in 1997 featuring 23 different Bluegrass acts.For the last three years the Bluegrass Meetings were held in and around the Kulturgewaechshaus Birkenried, close to Legoland Germany. The tradition will continue in 2012, the year of the 30th anniversary of the organisation, that now has more that 150 members. Among other events, there will be the 29th annual Country Music Festival June 07-09 in Koetz, and the Bluegrass Meeting in Birkenried,September 07-09. More information can be found on www.cwf-koetz.de.
In addition to presenting live music, the Country & Western Friends Koetz have two radio programs on Radio free FM in Ulm, AMERICANA and ANTISTATIC COUNTRYTIME, broadcasted in Southern Germany terrestrially on 102.6 FM and world-wideon www.freefm.de (Livestream). The Country Friends Koetz also bring out the 40 pages magazine COUNTRY TIMES every other month. Each third Saturday of the month, the members of the Club have a meeting in the Sportgaststaette Großkoetz, the place, where the Koetz Country Music Festival has its origins. (Friedrich Hog)