The sixth edition of Meinl\'s annual Drum Festival featured an exceptional strong and surprising line-up. Not only in the diversity of the artists, even more the differentiation of the artists proved Meinl is on top of the market. With over 1800 visitors, lots of sun, a factory tour, a raffle, drum circles, instructive workshops and signing sessions, the result was once again a perfect mix for one of the finest drum festivals around and the embodiment of Meinl\'s growing family.
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After last years edition in Moscow, the Meinl drum festival once more took place on the factory grounds of the German cymbal and percussion making company. Drummerszone.com attended the festival and witnessed one of the best editions of Meinl\'s global drum festival so far. Read on, click through all the photo albums of the artists, and experience it once again. Updates on the live material of the festival will follow soon. For now, read the review below and check out all the cool photos.
Gergo Borlai Opening artist for the Meinl Drum Festival was Gergo Borlai, the first Hungarian drummer in the history of this festival that features an international line-up every year. Gergo, who has been Meinl endorser since 2008, may not be such a renowned drummer in Western Europe or on other continents, with his skills and musical outline on the drums, he definitely deserves a greater Western attention beyond Meinl\'s festival territories. He is featured on more than one hundred albums and has grown out to one of the most influential jazz-fusion players in Eastern Europe.
Gergo is one of those drummers who truly know the history of (drum) music and has familiarized himself to the fullest on this level. Inspired by, and knowing how to play the rich tradition of his personal influences like Billy Cobham and Vinnie Colaiuta, he showed his technique and creativity are just as musically challenging for every youngster as the music he plays.
With his early performance Gergo set a high standard for the other drummers of the day. And not just because of his speed, tricks or his extremely well timed single strokes on the Hoops - how fast he is! As an opening artist, at 10.00am, you do an outstanding job getting people 100% involved for a day on a drum festival. And Gergo did just that.
Oli Rubow & Bertil Mark Meinl had a premiere with Oli Rubow and Bertil Mark, who made their debut as a duo on the festival. Oli Rubow (De-Phazz, Die Fantastischen Vier, NDR Bigband, among others) has specialized in translating, applying and incorporating the creative processes and sounds from digital music producers and dj\'s to his acoustic drum kit. Oli, Meinl endorser since 1996, uses a minimal drum set and electronic extensions such as a sampler and sequencer to design his grooves.
Percussionist Bertil Mark (Thomas D, Gentlemen, Sportfreunde Stiller, etc) has been Meinl endorser since 2007. One of his trademarks is his ability to incorporate electronic an acoustic percussion, which is also reflected in his set-up.
The duo was clearly on a mission to build a bridge between analogue and digital in a continuous quest for new grooves and soundscapes.
Dave Mackintosh Meinl endorser since 2009, British drummer Dave Mackintosh usually lays down the beats for power metallers DragonForce. Although he is quite humble about his fast double bass and blast beats, you better not underestimate this hard hitter. Dave revealed he started quite exited and was given a hard time to relax when he lost the connection with his in-ear system halfway one of the songs. But he proved to be an experienced professional as he flawlessly finished the track by just relying on the sound front of house. Well done. Dave spiced up his performance with an almost boyish charm and enthusiasm.
Remarkable details: Suffering from a foot injury whilst on tour, Dave taught himself the heel-toe-technique in a couple of weeks. And, Dave\'s set-up features two kick drums but he actually plays triggers placed on the floor in front of his drums.
Dave was not just another performer in the Meinl line-up this day. Actually, he was the only drummer who is a permanent member of an ongoing recording and touring band (Dragon Force). Feeding the audience with his music and his insatiable kick on playing drums, he showed how much fun it is to play the music you love - famous or not. And, in the end, that is what it is all about.
Chris Coleman Chris Coleman has worked with many artists including Chaka Khan and New Kids On The Block. He is currently drumming in a trio with the supreme female bass talent Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck ao.) on bass and Prince on guitar and vocals, and in his own group The Paradigm. With his taking and open personality, Chris transfers a lot of charisma and spirituality from the stage to the audience. The way he combines his technical skills with outstanding musicality would make any drummer jealous. He is an ultimate combination of chops and grooves without ever sounding repetitious. Meinl endorser since 2007, Chris Coleman is truly one of those must-have-seen artist.
Chris is open and honest about his playing. One of his remarkable statements was: \"As an artist there are much more levels on which you can perform, besides playing drums.\" For Chris, sharing the groove, the music, and all of life\'s pleasures - on any level- shows his broader view on music and life.
Damien Schmitt Hailing from France, Damien Schmitt (Jean-Luc Ponty, Alain Caron) is relatively unknown but we\'re sure this will be completely changed within a few years. Damien made his debut in Germany on this year\'s Meinl Drum Festival and he simply blew everybody away. He was the revelation of the festival with an incredible timing, and a high level of technique such as single hand rolls and awesome single strokes in all possible combinations across his drum set. Not to mention his simultanious singing and keeping that tight groove when standing behind his drums.
Not only is his style very entertaining, moreover a very creative, technical and musical performance. Including a Michael Jackson medley featuring more than terrific off-beat interpretations on Jackson\'s Billie Jean.
Damien, Meinl endorser since 2007, proved himself to be a musician of a new, younger generation level of freedom and interpretation on the drums. Well done for Meinl to include him on their roster. He is a killer groover on a drum festival, but just as much an inspiring and subtle player when it counts on every note he hits in band settings.
Thomas Lang There really should be no need to introduce Thomas Lang. Meinl endorser since 2001, the \"Druminator\" has been the drummer\'s drummer in the world for the last decade. As soon as he hit his first note, the audience was served a 50 minute exercise of extreme chops, polyrhythmic grooves and power strokes. He started relatively simple with two tracks of his band StOrk, after that he just decided to \"geh los\".
Whether he started off on his cymbals, his snare or with another ostinato on his kick drums, Thomas always seems to just pick a rhythmical pattern as a layer for soloing in endless variations. Impossible to play? No. Impressive? Always!
But let us not forget this: with all the impressive fast and difficult stuff Thomas plays, he is also one of those drummers who have that groove down to perform with almost any artist there is in the scene. To name a few, just to put him in another perspective, there are: John Wetton (UK, King Crimson), Kelly Clarkson and Italian female singer-songwriter Gianna Nannini.
Workshops As always on the Meinl Drum festival there are clinics of performing artists or other Meinl endorsees. Damien Schmitt tutored about the Single pedal Foot Technique, where Chris Coleman blew everybody off their feet with his Freedom with Time-masterclass. Charlie Böck took care of the Drum circle masterclasses and Holger Mertin taught the fine skills of playing Frame drums. Oli Rubow and Bertil Mark taught a decent lesson in Contemporary Groove Design.
Meinl Drum Festival 2010-2011 Perhaps the masterclasses at Meinl\'s annual festival are even more tiresome then the clinics on the mainstage. But time flies when you are having the best of fun. Feeling like three hours, Meinl\'s 12 hour drum drill was at least one of the best festivals so far. Next year the cymbal makers will have difficulty topping this edition. But knowing that in 2011 the festival will take place in Mexico City, for sure it will be just as surprising as it is every year.