Inntoene Festival 2011 Diersbach, Austria June 10-12, 2011 I overheard a conversation at the Inntoene Festival in Austria. In a mock-incredulous tone, one New York musician was asking another: "Straight up. You're telling me. That this whole farm place. Is owned. By a trombonist?!" Cue laughter and the gentlest of fist pumps.
That statement does have its slight inaccuracies, but they shouldn't be allowed to spoil what is not just a good story, but a truly remarkable one. Paul Zauner, the director of the Inntoene Festivalwhose family own the pig farm at which the Inntoene Festival is heldis, indeed, a trombonist. He lived in the US for a while in the late 1980s and played with George Adams
. But he is also the proprietor of a record label which has produced many gemssee the selection of two belowand over ten years he has developed a concept for a festival which may be unique in the world.
How does the Inntoene concept work?
Zauner " refuses to play the big names game," said one observer. He mixes a very few familiar nameslast year he had Hugh Masekela
Zauner unashamedly puts jazz in its logical place at the centre of a broad range of different music, and sets the standard for musicianship/musicality/quality very high, indeed. This year, he moved further than before in the direction of baroque, folk and world music, with interesting collaborations. One Austrian journalist wrote, about the 2011, Festival that Zauner may have created an entirely new genre: "polygamous music."
The audience, mostly of regularshe doesn't need to market anymore, just enjoy the open, relaxed atmosphere"it's just like the seventies," one couple from Germany told me with a smile. There are no VIP enclosures, no guarded areas, no burly gatekeepers preventing access. The atmosphere is one of trust, companionship and a warm welcome.
The Festival has been held in its current location on a working farm in Diersbach for the past ten years. The main stage, on which all the concerts happen, is in a huge barn with a capacity of 800 people sitting on two levels. It is a working agricultural building which also serves to store the hay in winter. There is pride in farming communities about the quality and the freshness of the food. And people weren't disappointed. One mischievous local farmer seemed to enjoy plying musicians with his home-distilled fire-water. Idiot.
The Inntoene Festival is, in fact, in its 26th season. It used to be held in various locationsone long-term devotee had a hazy memory of having heard Joe Lovano
In the Innviertel province of Upper Austria. The nearest large town to Diersbach is Passau, just over the border in Germany, 25km away. A preserved Baroque townSchaerding is nearby, and the state capital of Linz is an hour away by train.