La Tour De Slavagny Country Music Festival 2008





Today, I took on the difficult task to make a report on a small Country Music festival, which is still the first of Rhône-Alpes. Rare, my schedule allows me to cover the event, it is with pleasure that I responded. First of all, let me clarify a little clarification is needed on the organization of the festival, since it takes place over three days, from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, I’ll only talk about Friday and Saturday.

 The first positive thing that comes to mind is related to its location, living in Lyon, I found myself at 20 minutes of this festival. Indeed so often,  I happen to be sent to the middle of nowhere to review an event, the presence of civilization, even French comforts me.

I learn from my photographer, which is also always better informed than me (I suspect some French fraternity behind it), that the 5th edition opens at 17:00. Two things are obvious. Firstly the 5th edition, tough these Frenchies!, Secondly 17.00 damn, I thought to introduce myself in the morning! I recognize there the French touch, but so be it. I therefore spend my morning to attend to my business and read the foreign press, it’s also one of the things I like about Lyon, the facility to found american newspaper, Herald Tribune, USA Today, Newsweek ...

It's mid-afternoon, when accompanied by a photographer colleague, we headed for La Tour-de-Salvagny. The trip allows me to contemplate the Lyon countryside, that is, I must admit, not unpleasant. The first thing I notice when I get here is the festival has a great location, a hippodrome with a huge field. And yes, it's an American who tells you. Then unfortunately the weather was not welcoming. Indeed we had a wet summer, too bad, you may say ...

 It is in this context that we went to the festival gate, a small village booth, looking for  a country sign. We were surprised with the presence of many shops, which if they were not all open at the beginning, leads us to a full inspection. To be frank, Friday was rather a field approach, we took the opportunity to go and meet the participants at the festival. That’s how we discussed, for quite some time, with the members of a stand on Native American culture (For Indian Tribes) that particularly surprised me with their knowledge of my country, something quite rare in France. Just think, a stand of Native American items lost in the depths of a small festival in the west Lyon. A miracle? No, simply some passionate. For once I find people who know what they are talking about, we stayed long enough, which made us miss the evening concert featuring a certain Dick River. I still don’t understand how one can book this singer as a country music artist, I must admit that we did not missed anything.

First we were able to retrieve the impressions of a person present at this show, you can read it in the interview category. Then the concert that interested me was held the next day, a certain Rebecca Venture, an American artist living in France. As an appetizer, this Friday allows me to finish on a nice little note.

On Saturday, the day began again early, from 10:00 AM we were on the ground. When we arrived by car we were surprised by the presence of many cars parked everywhere. Following our first approach to the day before, we try to park in the square of the participants. Thanks to their kindness it was done. However, when we got inside and went to the parking lot, I was amazed to be stop by a city police officer. He was blown away and told us: “It's not up to organizers or security to decide who should enter here or not”. You will excuse the lack of logic from an American to understand his answer.

Once there, we went ou there in our full exploration of the festival. What strikes me the most is the huge number of stand, shops, a very provided festival believe me,. This is good news for all country fans who still do not want to order online, despite the relatively attractive rates of our dollar against your euro. A commercial festival? I don’t think so. But like any good flea market you have to rummage to find small gems such as Justins gloves for examples. Fans will understand me …

I still remember finding an apache military shirt between Che Guevara and Tokyo Hotel, to the great displeasure of my photographer. He is shocked by the apache, I am shocked by Tokyo Hotel, cultural difference I guess.

Then I had the opportunity and honor to attend a political debate in a booth. Who will win? The terrible McCain, destroyer of freedoms or the nice Obama, champion of social peace? Oh, I see that my time is, I must go to the next booth? The day has past thanks to the festival activities. We had the chance to participate in the beautiful parade of American vintage cars with V8forever club, which allowed us to ride in an authentic Lincoln limousine, the same as JBL (the wrestler). In short, a dream came true.

Also, if the editorial staff could send me the same limousine at the airport instead of the eternal taxi, I'd be very grateful for that. I was wondering what we could do in a limo (I am jumping up and down), I was amazed by the beauty of this 8.60 m american car, with minibar that lights up, 2 TVs and a thousands stars on the ceiling. No, no, I had not yet gulp down anything. I would like to thank the Rhone Caluire Limousine company with his driver and her companion for their kindness, the V8forever club for so kindly helped us and particularly the biker club that allowed the parade to take place, when it was pouring buckets of rain with freezing temperatures. Then we had two animations in the afternoon. A brief retrospective of the life of Billy the Kid, but the historical re-enactment would have been more accurate if we had paid more attention to the costumes and weapons used this afternoon. It has to be noted that a pretty brunette has delighted the audience. But what caught my attention was the show of a Native American, or at least a pro-Amerindian, who on some Native American songs and with a ceremonial dress, interpreted very well some Native American dances. A Fan and an exciting person, generating a great human warmth that paid tribute to the Amerindians.

Let’s line up to grab some meal !

So many shops!

Waiting time for Saturday evening concert

Here your car sir !

A car build #1 of 1

Daniel Gerard visiting the festival



The day progressed over the course of meetings and visits, for better or for worse. I still remember being stop by a local news cameraman, wondering if he could film my NFL jacket, I was pleased to do it. Later the evening, the place looked like a Brad Paisley concert, Mud on the tires. Watch the music video of the same name, then you will understand the conditions.

            It is in this spirit that we prepare for our second and final evening concert. I will always remember our photographer going to the concert, falling because of the mud and hitting a big garbage can, western boots does help.

I must admit that what particularly interests me at this festival, from a musical point of view, was Rebecca Venture.

She has being much criticized on the web and by some of our colleagues that I wanted to make up my own mind.

If I moderately enjoyed Dan Galli and the Driftin boys, I must admit having missed half of their show, I’ll talk about this band after listening to their CD, which would normally be done quickly thanks to the band’s professionalism. I am going to focus my impressions on the one with interests us: Rebecca Venture.

I already know people are going to say it has nothing to do with music, but we must recognize the female singer is particularly beautiful and has an American accent that will give you goosebumps. Now to come to the point, her appearance. The pretty blonde interpreted us many cover songs and few compositions. And this is one of her negative points, because unfortunately when we take tunes like Chely Wright (Shut up and drive), the temptation is great to compare her with the best american female singers. No doubt it is where so much criticism come from, because I must admit that the tunes I preferred  were her own compositions. But do not put her into the class of some singers riding the wave of style or just a wedding singer, unable to compose and sing on her own. Every artists must start one day and then not everyone can be Miranda Lambert.

Rebecca Venture deserves our attention for her many assets: she has a beautiful voice and a huge talent on harmonica. But what struck me the most about her is her warmth, how she behaves on stage, making the audience feel alive, communicating with the crowd, as well as her humour. I discovered a good performance, the best of the evening to me, which was worth the trip and in no way inferior to other more established artists in France. I'm not saying she is the best, but frankly I find that the attacks on her are unjustified. Of course I’ll review her album which she has so kindly offered, a good professional.

Rebecca Venture has a beautiful voice, a very good performance, she sings her covers songs adding a small personal note, that even if they do not reach the level of the originals are still very good. Her compositions are great and her harmonica skills took our breath away. Furthermore, the artist is quite accessible for her fans, and very warm.

So it’s on a positive note that I would end this report. But, if someone could tell me how we can choose Tex Pistols for the first half. To be polite and positive with the festival, I would not recommend anyone to listen to this music if you want to have a good image of Canada. It’s not country music! It’s in these moments I thank heaven that Canada is not American! La Tour De Salvagny Country Tour is a nice small festival, certainly you just have to rummage to find small gems but there are a lot of good things. However if they could take care to invite more real country artists this would not be a loss, it's just my thought.

Here is a view of the big top

A Bud please!

Rebecca Venture and Sheppard