On tour with Govardo – Koblenz and Eltz Castle

Wide shot of Eltz Castle in Germany and the surrounding forest

I flew from London to Luxembourg in early July to rejoin the band who were travelling back north for cooler temperatures after busking (and basking) in the heat of the south of France for a couple of weeks.

Ready for take off to Luxembourg

The next day, the guys played a short set in the centre of Luxembourg but due to local busking restrictions they decided to get back on the road, heading to the town of Koblenz in West Germany, which was a base for the next few days.

The focus for me rejoining the tour this time was to film the busking sessions and help to create a series of live videos for Govardo’s YouTube channel. The famous location of Deutsches Eck in Koblenz was chosen as an ideal place to film due to the scenic views, serene atmosphere and the place being a popular tourist hotspot. Deutsches Eck or ‘German Corner’ is a headland where two rivers, the Rhine and Moselle meet.

Eagle’s eye view of Govardo starting a set

Adding to the charm and old world atmosphere was the constant sound of accordian players, playing a collection of sea shanty style tunes. Initially as a tourist I found this charming to hear, however for the purpose of filming the videos the guys had to negotiate with them to move to a spot further away to allow Govardo’s pleasant folk music to take centre stage. The place is dominated by a striking monument of Kaiser Wilhelm I on horseback, on top of a massive plinth that can be seen for miles around.

Govardo below the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I

The first day of busking at Deutsches Eck was a filming rehearsal of sorts, with the songs being shot in one take. We discussed and made mental notes about who and what I should focus on during each part of the song, when to get close-ups and how each part was to be framed. It felt like I was learning a choreographed slow dance, steadily walking around them both performing, in a way as to take the viewers on a journey of each song. My familiarity with the songs at this point made for a smooth experience, remembering the filming cues we had discussed. I was using the Sony A7S II to film, experimenting with picture profiles and exposure. The sound was being recorded through a multi-channel mixer, two vocal microphones and one guitar, which input into a laptop to capture high quality audio.

On the first day after filming the main set we filmed a live video stream to Govardo’s Facebook page in the early evening. The live stream was a great way of engaging Govardo’s fans around the world, allowing the guys to interact as the fans commented and even requested their favourite tracks. The video reached over 2000 views in two days.

On the second day, well rested and well practised, we returned to Deutsches Eck to film some further live videos. The videos should hopefully be released soon and I will include one when it becomes available.

UPDATE: Watch the video for Govardo’s Don Mclean cover ‘Vincent’, which has reached over 50K views!

One evening whilst in Germany, Dom suggested we check out Eltz castle, which he visited when he was growing up. Eltz Castle is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. The plan was to try out a live acoustic session. We parked up and trekked a mile or so through a forest to get to the castle. We were rewarded for this effort with the breathtaking views when the castle was revealed through the trees. Surrounded by forest on all sides, Eltz Castle really is a fairytale setting, evoking feelings of tranquility with a touch of magic in the early evening light.

Eltz Castle in Germany pathway leading to entrance
Eltz Castle in the golden evening light

Whilst at the castle we decided to do some test shots by filming some acoustic songs. Pleased with the location we decided to come back the next day for a longer shoot, however when we returned we encountered difficulties due to filming restrictions and technical issues. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

In a happy twist of fate, the journey home took us past a corn field just as the sun began to set. Inspiration struck and as the band grabbed their instruments I was able to set up the camera with the Rode Videomic Pro attached, and capture the spontaneous performance of two acoustic versions of original songs, Envy The Eagles and Dream Cottage. This idyllic setting, captured in the waning light we would have missed had we stayed at the castle, can be seen in the upcoming videos, one of which should hopefully be released soon and which I will include when it becomes available.

UPDATE: Watch the video for Govardo’s live acoustic take of ‘Dream Cottage’ below:

With these successful scenes captured and the live footage from Koblenz, we decided to move on from Koblenz. We agreed to head back to Lille, where the warm welcome, large crowds and positive atmosphere had left an impression on the band, and we all looked forward to returning to film another set of videos in the city that felt like a second home for Govardo.

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