Stuck Up A Mountain

It may because someone punched the wrong info into the GPS or didn’t take sufficient care when following directions, but two acts playing Gampel Festival managed to get stuck up a Swiss mountain.

The first to lose its way was Belgian singer-songwriter Milow, whose traveling party had to call the festival and explain the act’s double-decker sleeper coach was stuck on a tight corner of a mountain road.

The first policemen to arrive on the scene soon agreed that the bus couldn’t be moved, which meant the road remained blocked overnight. There’s no confirmed account of how or when it was moved the following day.

It wasn’t so much of a problem getting Milow to the festival but, with the act’s transport out of commission, the problem was getting its gear to the next day’s show in Brussels. German act Silbermond came to the rescue.

Silbermond, which was also playing the Belgian capital the following day, sent its bus to the village of Saletsch and retrieved the Belgian act’s instruments and backline.

Silbermond also took the equipment to Brussels, but there was no room in the bus for Milow, his band and crew, so they made their way via some hastily booked flights.

Next to get lost was German hip-hop act Culcha Candela, who arrived by road at the railway station at Kandersteg, on the way to taking the 15-minute train journey to Gampel.

The train through the Lötschberg Tunnel is capable of carrying cars and small trucks, but nothing as big as the one carrying Culcha Candela.

The alternative route was the 255-kilometre journey around the mountain and on to Gampel via Berne. Derrick Thomson from festival organisers Cult Agency received a second call from an act that was halfway up a mountain.

Culcha Candela made it to Leukerbad, an Alpine ski resort, but the act and its driver were convinced they weren’t far from the Gampel site.

“I couldn’t understand how they could be near the site because the festival is in the Rhone Valley and you couldn’t be near the site as well as being up a mountain,” Thomson explained.

“Oh, I’ve been here before,” the bus driver reportedly said when eventually arriving in Gampel, leaving Thomson and his team wondering which route he must have taken last time.

Having rationalised the festival costs after the financial worries of a couple of years ago, the four-day event was safely in the black with a first day crowd of 14,000 and 20,000 sellouts on the following three days.

The first day, a Thursday, always has a lower attendance than the three weekend days. Most of that day’s visitors live in the local region, while those traveling tend to arrive for the weekend.

Other acts that made their various ways to Gampel Aug. 13-16 included Kaiser Chiefs, N*E*R*D, Snow Patrol, Disco Ensemble and The Ting Tings.