Letter to the People - August 2013

Publisher's Commentary
by Rökker

Momma Rökker - Dancing Queen - Atwood Summerfest, 2013 - photo by Dan Schneiderman

Momma Rökker - Dancing Queen - Atwood Summerfest, 2013
photo by Dan Schneiderman

This issue is dedicated to the memory of the musicians that were killed recently in train derailment in Quebec.

Genevieve Breton, Guy Bolduc, and Yves Boulet were killed after a runaway train carrying crude oil crashed nearby and set off huge explosions. An estimated 47 people were in killed the town.

A beloved music venue, the Music Cafe d’ete, was destroyed as well. In fact, Guy Bolduc had been playing there and many of the hipsters in the town were in attendance. Everyone is devastated in the small town of 6,000 people. The owner of the Music Cafe has vowed to re-open his club, first in a tent in a space across the street, and dedicate it to the victims.

Sky Road Fly

: Friday, August 23rd, the Inferno in Madison will host Sky Road Fly’s LP Release party. Max Ink Radio, Rökker Vodka, and Scorpion Shot are all sponsors. Come down to sample Rökker Vodka and Scorpion Rökker Shots with drink specials to boot! Also catch Colorphase and the Vipers along with our own Jimmy K as MC.

Keith Daniels

: We give a fond farewell to Keith Daniels, owner of the Harmony Bar in Madison, who is retiring after more than 20 years of owning the Harmony Bar in Madison, one of the few clubs to remain true to the blues. Keith also sponsored the Harmony Bar Blues Stage at the Atwood Summerfest for at least 15 years. We’ll give him a salute and look for him in the seats behind homeplate at Brewer’s Stadium.

Atwood Summerfest

: Every year has gotten bigger and better for one of Madison’s coolest music festivals, Atwood Summerfest. This year was no exception as the festival grew to two days and two stages. Despite the cooler weather, record numbers of people attended both days, drinking record numbers of beer. The rain held of until two minutes before the introduction of VO5. It looked grim as VO5 started, but I knew it would pass thru quickly, and at Jimmy K’s suggestion, my wife Alice and I held umbrellas over the drummer and percussionist. It really was only a heavy mist, and since VO5 played through it, not a soul left. And when the rain stopped, some serious boogie down began as the crowd went back as far as the eye could see.

An interesting point that I repeated a few times is that, with the exception of Canned Heat, Atwood Summerfest’s entertainment has been built with LOCAL BANDS. Even before I took up the booking duties 11 years ago, local bands have made Atwood Summerfest what it is, and the fans have come out every year to support them.

Adventures with Mama Rökker

: My mom has been cooking food for the bands backstage at Atwood Summerfest for 11 years. We average about 6 bands each stage with an average of 4-5 per band, each year. I figured it was about time to give her some props, so I devised a plan with VO5, her favorite band.

About half way thru their set, with the lights chopping their way through the fog, I located my mom backstage. She was just about to head out front to watch the band so I had to come up with a distraction to keep her back there. “What do you think about the fog machines Kenny from Scorpion Shot brought in?”

She looked at me as if I had three heads, but I kept up the distractions and as the band finished their song, I grabbed her arm and started walking to the stairs leading to the stage. She wasn’t quite sure what was happening, but as I grabbed the microphone and made the announcement, the crowd cheered and cheered.

Then, the girls of VO5 brought out a tiara and purple feather-boa and crowned her Queen of the Ball. The stage was definitely crowded, with 12 members of the band on stage, so during the crowning, I jumped off the stage as they kept my mom on stage while they sang Abba’s Dancing Queen to her and kept her dancing. I was able to push my way to the front of the stage where my brother and daughter were taking photos, and I was able to cheer for my mom from the crowd.

My dad was even pretty surprised, no one had a clue and the execution was perfect. What a great night that none of us will soon forget.

Sometime during the day, someone dubbed my mom “Momma Rökker” and it looks like that’s sticking! LMAO!

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