This year I had the opportunity to visit the 10th festival of
mechanical music in Les Gets, Haute Savoie, France. Les Gets is
a small winter sports village in the French Alps near the Mont Blanc,
and it is about 60 kilometres from Geneva airport. You will need
a car or taxi to the village, because the train and bus services are
not meant to take you there. )-;
The Les Gets Festival, first performed in 1983, is a typical French
event. This means lots of entertainment for people, good food and
drinks, and always some great performances. This year we saw a huge
wheel, not unlike a hamster exercise wheel, in which a jogger was
running. Mr. Reboul's infamous "Mecanophone" was also present, and
did a real good job making music for the local fireworks, playing music
by Dave Brubeck and Glenn Miller.
The Aeolian Philharmonic organ in the local church was put to good
use in several good concerts, playing by its own or accompanying one
or more hand-cranked street organs and even a genuine Alphorn in a
concertina from Leopold Mozart. In another concert a street organ
version was played of Leopold Mozart's "toy symphony" with
accompaniment by children playing the toy instruments!
As always, the streets were filled with street organs and organettes.
Singing along with street organs is always great fun, and whole groups
were seen and heard. Organ people from 12 European countries were
present, so the twelve national anthems were played by a fairground
organ while the respective flags were pulled up. The Dutch flag was
pulled upside-down -- we were lucky that our anthem was not played in
reverse! (After my remark they corrected it, of course).
Looking back we had some very nice days with almost ideal weather, we
met lots of people all over Europe, enjoyed the French hospitality and
esprit, and of course we will be back in 2004. Thank you, French and
European friends, for this event!
Hans van Oost, Netherlands
[ Watch at http://mmd.foxtail.com/Pictures/ for photos of Mr. Reboul's
[ "Mecanophone". It's an organ of air horns! -- Robbie