International ABBA Weekend
FRIENDS * PARTY * FUN * QUIZ * SPECIAL GUESTS *
|Görel Hanser||Bubi Heileman
Photo: Renate Heileman
|Ulf Andersson &
|Katja & Camilla|
The 2011 ABBA Weekend was held from the the 1st to the 3rd of April.
The 25th Anniversary ABBA Weekend has been a great success, with well over 500 fans partying in Roosendaal.
The Silver JubileeBy Angelo Rivas
On Friday a message from Frida was played.
Download the message from Frida (0.9 MB).
A Swedish buffet had been prepared by Anita, Peter, Ursula and an army of helpers. There were trays filled with delicious food like meatballs, herring in basil sauce, smoked salmon and many other delicacies, including a very good selection for the vegetarians. There is only one place in my hometown, Mexico City, where I can eat the kind of things they served, but they certainly are not homemade and not as fresh. For dessert, we had Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida - literally. Small individual cakes were decorated with the edible pictures of the ABBA members from the Summer Night City single. A few moments later, the big 25th anniversary cake was brought in, and everyone was invited to have a piece. As midnight approached, no-one wanted to leave; we were all having so much fun, and everybody wanted an autograph from or a photo with Katja & Camilla.
Björn and Benny sang "Happy birthday".
Download the video (7.9 MB, m4v-file).
When the doors to Bubi Heilemann’s exhibition of ABBA photos in poster format opened, everybody rushed in as they were curious about the images (even Bubi’s dog could be seen sniffing out the pictures) - and the best thing was that they were for sale. There were alternative shots from some of ABBA’s best known photo sessions and some of the rarest ones (at least for me). I spotted cool pictures taken between 1973 and 1975, some taken inside a house in the Swedish countryside. Bubi was signing autographs at the back of his exhibition, and you could hear Ulf Andersson getting onto the stage to perform his sensational sax solo from I do, I do, I do, I do, I do. It was hard to decide whether to stay in the exhibition or go and see Ulf on the stage in the main room.
A very special video was played in which Benny & Björn played Happy Birthday, singing, “Happy Birthday, dear Fan Club,” followed by a rather long and personal message that Frida had recorded. It was heartwarming!
Then another one of the special guests arrived - Görel Hanser. Our British representative Vaughan Davies did an on-stage interview with her, and Görel was more than delighted to tell everyone some of her “secrets”. Amongst other things, she told us how she knew how to handle the Bs after all those years and that she sometimes was in touch with Frida but less often with Agnetha. She told us that B&B were so happy that they still had a lot of fans after all those years, a statement that got her a lot of applause, and finally Helga and Anita gave her a ‘thank you’ gift. I thought it was very sweet that she stayed for over an hour afterwards, signing pictures, posters and posing for photos. I was one of the last people to get my picture with her, and she was as patient with me as she had been with the very first person.
Janne Schaffer played some guitar riffs from ABBA songs but also material from his own records that he later sold while giving autographs. Afterwards, the winners of the tough trivia quiz were rewarded with some rather nice autographed prizes.
It was the second time that I came to an ABBA Weekend, but only the first time I got to experience the disco. We polished off the remaining meatballs from Friday night to build up our strength, and it was great that everybody was dancing and singing along to all the songs the DJ played - My Mama Said in a fast-pace version was great, and I thought Put On Your White Sombrero in flamenco style was rather funny.
Some fans in disco- and ABBA-style costumes appeared on the dance floor, and it got very crowded when Gimme Gimme Gimme, Voulez-Vous and Dancing Queen were played. Of course, the most danceable songs had been reserved for the last hot and sweaty hour.
After an amazing day, another highlight was The Way Old Friends Do. Even though we all come from different countries and backgrounds and there is a huge age range, ABBA is the force that holds us together – what a great way to end the day. Helga and Anita then invited all the staff members, past and present, onto the stage and thanked us for our work over the last 25 years. We even got some fabulous chocolate Easter eggs.
Of course, the weekend was not over yet; it was just time to get back to the hotel and get some sleep before an early breakfast and ABBA – Movie at the local cinema. Can you believe it? I only discovered ABBA a few years after the film was released, and this was the first time that I got to see it on a big cinema screen, fully remastered and with more than a hundred fans. Some people sadly had left already, but there were still many at the farewell lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant.
All of us had a truly great weekend, thanks to Helga and Anita’s organizational skills, the activities they had put on, the guests they had invited and, last but not least, their warmth. I left Roosendaal elated – the 11-hour plane ride from Mexico certainly had been worth it.
|Bubi with ABBA