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graceGrace's Tour Blog

by Grace Stumberg

Europe - Summer 2015

Saturday, August 1
Cambridge Folk Festival
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

cambridge This is the town of Cambridge University! There were lots of college students and tons of stores for shopping. Emma and I decided to go on a little retail therapy shopping spree. At first it was just, "oh, let's try things on," and then it turned into our suitcases having to be packed shut - haha.

The weather was perfect for the festival. Tons of people gathered to camp out on the lawn and partake in some festival activities. Craftspeople sold everything from carpets to instruments at this festival. This crowd sang along to everything Joan sang and did not miss a beat.

The show went by so fast that before I knew it we were driving back to London to sleep in our final hotel bed of the tour. The end never really feels like the end. But it was a great finish to an awesome tour. Thank you, everyone, for being constant supporters of Joan Baez!

Next up is Australia and New Zealand!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Stadtpark Freilichtbuhne
Hamburg, Germany

hamburg After we arrived we had a day off, so we got dinner at the hotel, which was fabulous by the way. We made a couple of friends that introduced themselves to us and began to talk about their hatred for the U.S. politics, but their love for the people. You always know that will make for some interesting conversation. Of course, I played the other role and said, "Can we talk about something else, like who we are as people?" It eventually led back into talking about other countries and craziness until very late into the morning - haha. We all ended in peace, shook hands, and wished each other nothing but the best in our lives!

This was by far the worst weather for a show we have experienced the whole tour. There was freezing windy rain blowing hard and sideways, so Joan decided to sing Dylan's "A (Cold) Hard Rain's A-gonna Fall," - haha! We all thought it suited best! It was hard to dress properly for this show. The only warm thing I had was my Buffalo Bills football sweater, so I wore that, and I felt proud! I have to give props to the crowd for staying until the end of the concert. Honestly, each and every person deserves an award for singing along, too!

We hope to come back to Hamburg when the weather is a bit nicer! :)

Monday, July 27, 2015
Wiltz Castle
Wiltz, Luxembourg

wiltz Wiltz was an interesting, quick experience. It was tiny, cold, and rainy. The first day off we all went to one of the few restaurants in town and ordered a chicken salad that was just loaded with salad dressing. Most of us walked around town. Joan went walking alone and found a soccer park which was blasting music, so she went out on the field and started dancing. She said everyone was looking at her funny, but she didn't care. After they learned who she was the whole place was in an uproar - haha! I was not there to witness this, but it apparently made the news!

The concert was very nice. It took place beneath a tent, the sound was wonderful, and the lighting on this night was especially cool, thanks to Ian Lyles and his talent of making them reflect off the white tent. The crowd was wonderful. They stuck it out through the chilly elements and were right there with Joan until the very end.

After the show we went to a tiny little brewery located on site, had a drink, and then ventured to the bus for our Hamburg departure! It was a very short and sweet little stay in Wiltz, and I hope to come back again some day!

Saturday, July 25, 2015
Paleo Festival
Nyon, Switzerland

nyon Switzerland! I have never been there before! The weather was hot and sunny. Emma and I went down to the lake and sat by ducks and tanned on the rocks (I burned, I don't tan - haha). The next day was the show day so we hopped into the bus and headed for the festival.

Robert Plant and Patti Smith were also performing that night. I was so excited to see them perform! The stage was HUGE. Robert Plant and crew sat on the side of the stage during Joan's set. When it came time for me to go up onstage, I was hoping Plant would have to go get ready for the show in case I choked on the microphone - haha. I have to say I almost did. I never had such a reaction from a crowd in my entire life. It was a wonderful feeling singing your heart out as the sun is setting and there's 30,000 engulfed in song, and you look out to see the pure blue sky and mountains in the distance. I completely forgot where I was for a moment. It was great! I know it was fun for Joan, too. She remarked afterwards how wonderful the people were. I think she felt like a little kid in a candy shop that day. Just hopping on stage and dancing with Robert Plant, and singing with Patti, both of whom put on KILLER performances. I went out into the crowd for Robert's set, and couldn't grasp the fact that I was listening to the singer of Led Zeppelin, the music I grew up with. I couldn't grasp the fact that I shook this man's hand, and he told me I had a great voice. None of it felt real! The music sure did, though. I will never forget Patti. That image of her with her foot on the front monitors and a distorted out-of-tune guitar ripping through the air while she tears each string off one by one with anger and passion, screaming, "This earth is your mother, and if you don't love your mother, she's going to shit all over you." I got chills. Emma and I looked at each other and started tearing up. The amount of energy that woman had on stage was unmeasurable. I will never forget it!

That night will go down in history as one of the most inspiring. Watching these veterans get up behind the mic, after all these years, and all they've been through. Just imagine the kind of things they have seen, and they are still out there at 60 - 70+ years old, just like the young kids they once were. Joan said to me that night, "You know, at this age, you've finally gotten rid of all your shit, and if you have still have shit you're holding onto, there's something wrong with you. Now isn't that something to look forward to?" I agree! I look forward to that - haha. It definitely shows in her performance and attitude that she is totally at peace. :) Robert and Patti, too!

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Nuits du Sud Festival
Vence, France

vence Vence was an extremely short stay, but definitely a beautiful place. We were just on the edge of the mountains and the sunset that day was absolutely gorgeous. We all spent the day seeking out air conditioning because it was SO hot.

The stage for the concert was in the center of this little town. They closed off the square and hundreds of people gathered, packed tightly into this little space bursting with energy. The show went over very well. Joan got on stage with the group Souad Massi and started dancing. This is a new theme I've noticed starting to develop with her - haha. She just runs to center stage, unannounced to whoever it may be - Sting, Maxime, Lionel, etc. - and dances away to their music. Everyone loves it, and it's very fun to watch!

After Joan's performance tons of people ran side of stage to try and shake hands, get autographs and pictures, and some threw flowers at her. It was a very warm public.

We had to leave right away after the show so we didn't get to see Vence for very long, but I would love to come back some day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Festival de Nimes
Nimes, France

nimes Boy, was it hot here! On the first day we arrived, we all sat by the hotel pool in this enclosed little "secret garden." The staff would walk by sweeping the stones every 3 seconds while staring at me drinking water from a glass bottle without a glass. Each one passing by would ask, "Would you like a glass?" "No, thank you," I would reply... After a while it occurred to me that it was they that wanted me to drink from a glass and not the bottle. I also enjoyed laying in the grass by the pool in the sun. It's nice to feel the earth Instead of sweating on a chair that was on fire due to the scorching fabric, I chose to lay in the cool grass. The owner kept walking up and asking, "You don't prefer a chair?" "No, I don't, thank you," and we move on. I felt as though I was constantly being monitored. I was not the only one... some of our clothes went missing. You see... when on the road, you have to wash your own laundry and hang it out to dry, as sometimes you are not in the same hotel long enough to send it in to the laundry service and get it back by the time you leave. So you wash it in the sink or shower and hang it out to dry. Apparently, this means that we are "uneducated" and have "poor form." It also meant that my jeans went missing, and they "didn't have them." Anyways, you can see what I'm getting at. I felt completely unwelcome in this place, as though I was attending a boarding school. We all made it out alive though. Might I suggest the Sophie House just across the street! Okay, I'm done venting - haha.

The show was one of my favorites. It was in an old colosseum ruin, the sound shipped up into the sky, and there was a perfect summer breeze blowing. As I was singing I imagined the place filled with water, lions, ships, and men with swords fighting to their death. I also imagined me fighting and the owner of the hotel thumbing up or thumbing down if she'd let me live or not - hahahaha. Joan did a beautiful French duet with Maxime Le Forestier. Their two voices together were so effortless, like they had done it a thousand times before. The crowd went crazy for them! It was a lovely crowd.

Thank you, Nimes, for making the festival a great time!

Sunday, July 19, 2015
Le Vieilles Charrues
Carhaix, France

carhaix This was the biggest festival that France hosted this year. 40,000 people gathered in a giant field to catch acts such as Joan, David Guetta, and Lionel Richie. It poured rain! The whole place was mud, but that didn't stop the people from having a great time. There was some difficulty during the show trying to hear ourselves. There was a loud DJ blasting during the show. When it came time for Dirk's song, "Just The Way You Are," I could barely hear his piano and Joan's voice over the noise of the DJ. I was so scared I was going to mess something up, but luckily we've performed the song so much it was pretty much auto-pilot!

The crowd hung in there with us despite the noise and rain coming down. Joan performed "Le Temps De Cerises" and everyone from the front row all the way to the back sang along. It was one of those moments where all the hair stands up on your arms. Another memorable moment was seeing Lionel Richie and hearing all of his songs! Joan had a blast sitting side stage. She didn't sit for very long. In fact, she ran out on stage and danced with him during his set. The crowd went nuts! I could hear them as I was walking to the bus to load the luggage. I missed it! I'm sure it's on youtube somewhere - haha!

It was a very fun festival, and I was glad to witness all the wonderful musical acts and people!

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Les Nuits de Fourviere
Lyon, France

We awoke parked at the top of a giant hill. The bus was freezing so I was wearing a Buffalo Bills sweater and sweat pants. I had to walk down the hill in the blazing sun to get to the hotel, so by the time I got there I was dying of heat - haha. But it was good exercise! I sat out on the patio by the pool soaking up the sun. The hotel had a beautiful view of the entire city, and the ruins where Joan played were stunning! I tried to walk around and see more ruins, but the heat was so unbearable that I could not! Most of us just hid in the shelter of our cool dressing rooms until showtime.

The crowd had their lighters and cell phones out for most of the show, waving them around. At the end everyone started throwing their seat pads around like at a graduation ceremony. We were all worried that some of the cushions were going to knock Dirk's instruments over, but luckily they did not!

Off to Carhaix!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Zelt Musik Festival
Freiburg, Germany

freiburg On the first night in Freiburg we went to a pizzeria for dinner and then got some fabulous gelato. I then sat in the hotel lobby listening to the pianist for a long time. He played many jazz standards as well as Disney theme songs such as "Tale As Old As Time" from Beauty and the Beast. It brought me back to my childhood for a moment!

The next day a yellow buggy picked Joan, Gabe, Jasmine, and myself up from the hotel. It had chains for doors! We zoomed down the highway at warp speed with our hair whipping in the wind. I couldn't get a brush through mine for two days - haha!

The show went very well. The crowd sang loudly along with Joan during "Baby Blue" and "The Boxer." Because of how warm it was, we were all sweating profusely while walking off stage. Joan decided that she wanted to go swim in the lake nearby just as she had the last time she was in Freiburg. It was completely dark, but she didn't care! There was no way I was going into a large body of water at night - haha! - I'm too scared. Joan had fun, though, and then we traveled off to Lyon!

Sunday, July 12, 2015
Ulm, Germany

We were only in Ulm for the show at the Kloster Wiblingen Klosterhof. The stage was in the center of the little town. I ventured off for a long walk before the show to see what the town was like and found a huge cemetery. I walked around soaking up the sunlight and the smell of beautiful flowers. After that I headed back to get ready for the show.

Joan introduced a new song to the set - "Strange Rivers," from her 1992 album Play Me Backwards. It's absolutely beautiful and my new favorite! The crowd was huge and very receptive. Some people hung out of the windows of their homes to watch!

After the show we had a mega insane dance party in the dressing room. Sometimes after a show you just need to move and let loose before you get into the bus. Joan joined Emma and I after a little while, and the cooking staff and security staff kept walking by smiling at us jumping around. It was alot of fun. Then we packed up and headed to Freiburg!

Saturday, July 11, 2015
Munich, Germany

munich Munich is a pretty cool place! Our hotel was just off a strip of shopping so Joan and I went hunting for some weather worthy clothes for her. On one of the days off there was a huge Pride parade just outside of our hotel, so naturally Joan started dancing! She followed a certain float all the way down the road dancing alongside of it while the people on it cheered for her. It was fun to watch! After our shenanigans it was time to work!

The Tollwood Festival was pretty cool. The stage was a giant HOT tent so we weren't sure how the show would be comfort-wise for everyone. However, we all piled in there and had a great time! The crowd was lovely. Joan absolutey loved when everyone sang along with her to "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." It was so loud and choir like! I feel as though I tapped into something a little extra singing on this night. It was serious fun!

We all made it out alive, but in need of showers - haha. Instead we snuck down the street to see Mark Knopfler perform. He was amazing! Joan danced along, and later we met Mark and the crew out for old fashioned German beer and sausages. It was lovely to hang out with everyone. :) After that, we all slept like babies and caught the bus for Ulm in the morning! Munich was a lovely stay. I can't wait to come back sometime!

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Casino Kursaal
Oostende, Belgium

oostende We woke up in the concert hall's parking garage and all stumbled off the bus into catering for breakfast. This was the first morning I could choke down some eggs! They were fabulous. We then retreated to our rooms for exercise and stretching. It's important after two days on the bus! I found out we were right on the edge of the North Sea. I took a little walk just before the concert and saw everyone sunbathing in the cool weather. It was beautiful. Just before showtime we all agreed that the catering was the best that we've ever had. 24 hour slow-roasted pork belly, fabulous vegetables, etc.

The show also went very well! Joan spoke a few words in Dutch for everyone. She likes to surprise the audiences with the native language wherever she goes! It was kind of odd to be in an indoor venue, but the crowd was still pretty lively and energetic. They especially loved "Dona Dona," and many people came to the front to sing along. It was a fabulous end to a beautiful night of music.

Thanks, Belgium, for being a welcoming audience! I hope we get to stay longer next time. Time for Munich!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Kunst Rasen Gronau
Bonn, Germany

bonn We arrived in Bonn after a long drive from Vienna. Bonn is the home of Beethoven! I desperately wanted to visit the Beethoven Museum, but my illness had me stuck in bed for the entire two days off. I did go out to get some soup broth and do laundry. I will say, the laundromat was pretty cool. It was a cafe and laundromat, and they also had a piano on which a young man played some beautiful classical piano pieces. I enjoyed my time there!

The concert in Bonn was an outdoor stage. The weather was much cooler, cloudy, breezy, and rainy. That didn't stop the people from coming or Joan from putting on an amazing show! I stayed on the bus laying down until I had to be on stage as I still hadn't beaten the stomach bug! Joan once again performed "Wenn Unsere Brüder Kommen." and the crowd clapped graciously for her. There was one man, however, who was not very gracious! He was standing in front of everyone drawing attention to himself, so Joan stopped mid-song to tell him to please go and sit down, and the crowd clapped again. Joan continued on, playing hits like "Silver Dagger" and "Joe Hill." My favorite part of the concert was when joan finished it off singing "Swing Low" without any instruments. It was just her big ol' voice ripping through the trees! The crowd sent her off with many cheers, screaming for her to come back on. However, the show had to end because of the curfew! After greeting some friends, Joan continued to her dressing room and hosted a dance party before we hopped on the bus to Ostend, Belgium. :)

Thanks, Bonn, for braving the weather and being such a warm crowd on a cold day!

Sunday, July 5, 2015
Open Air Arena
Vienna, Austria

vienna The day of the bugs. On this day many of us came down with an intense stomach illness of which we were all unsure where it originated.

This venue was pretty crazy. It had profane stickers and pictures all over the walls, but certainly had a quality like no other. You could be amused by staring at the inside of the bathroom stall door for hours if you took the time to read each sticker or statement. It was different than any other show I had seen in a while. The reason is because there was standing room only on a slope of dirt and dead grass from the rave held there the night before!

As the people filed in everyone had looks of joy on their faces and were ready to sing along with Joan. This crowd as of yet was the most energetic. Joan related a little story about an altercation she had gotten into with a restaurant owner during which she had second thoughts about her "peace, love, nonviolence bullshit." Everyone burst into laughter, and after that, she led them into song. Joan finished the night off with "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" sung in the German language. Everyone sang every word loud and clear along with Joan. It was truly beautiful!

After that, we all piled into the bus and drove off towards Bonn, Germany.

Saturday, July 4, 2015
Linz, Austria

linz Well, Linz was a hot city! It got up to 92 degrees fahrenheit! Even so, most of us took walks, runs, and jogs around the big park that was just down the street from the hotel.

The concert went very well despite the heat. The masses showed up and were very excited to see Joan perform. Joan introduced a new song into the set which was a very German song written by Konstantin Wecker called "Wenn Unsere Brüder Kommen." It's a very beautiful slower ballad that the crowd seemed to absolutely love. We also switched things up by introducing "Me & Bobby McGee" to the set which was a blast for me to sing with Joan. I have to say there was something really cool about hearing our voices whip around all the buildings and bounce off the beautiful cathedral that was right next to the stage. Joan finished the concert solo with "Dona Dona," and the crowd sang along with her, cheering loudly at the end. As some of you know this concert day was the 4th of July, which in America we celebrate the Declaration of Independence. So during dinner before the show a few people decided to put a little twist on things and play Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star Spangled Banner" for the end of concert house music. Some people in the crowd started profusely swearing, but other people got the humor and laughed. Either way, it was an interesting end to the concert!

Thanks, Linz, for making it fun!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Cemil Topozlu Open Air Theatre
Istanbul, Turkey

istanbul We stayed at the Marti Hotel of Istanbul just outside of Taxim Square. I wasn't sure what to expect when entering Istanbul. I was amazed at how busy and crowded it was. It sort of reminded me of New York City, only hotter and there weren't any Mickey Mouses or Elmos selling selfie sticks!

On the first night we walked to dinner and got scammed by a shoe shiner. I must say his plan was pretty clever! He cuts in front of you while walking, drops his brush, and if you are a kind human being you pick it up at catch up with him because, boy, wouldn't that be horrible if he lost that! He then thanks you, tells you that you look like a movie star, and says because you were so nice to pick up his brush he will shine your shoes...and then at the end he asks for 50 Lira. hahaha! Look out for that one!

The concert went very, very well. Joan performed a couple of traditional Turkish songs and invited some friends from the group Kardes Türküler on stage. They performed their song "Tencere Tava Havasi (The Sound of Pots & Pans)," as well as harmonized. It was amazing! Also, another memorable part of the show was when Gabe pulled out the gay pride flag and waved it around while beating the drum with his other hand. There was an issue when we landed in Istanbul with the government tear gassing and beating the people that were participating in an LGBT parade in the Square. This inspired Gabe to wave the flag during his solo. It was great to see the crowd react in such a positive way. Joan was also surprised, because she didn't know he had that planned!

After the concert we went to a local restaurant and tried some Turkish cuisine and danced to Turkish music until 2:30 in the morning! Some of us got some sleep and then we were off to Vienna at 9:00am!

Thank you, Istanbul, for being such an energetic crowd! It was a pleasure to visit.

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