The Fans Sound Off
There are more than 20 Marc Pircher fan clubs throughout the German-speaking region. A few members shared their thoughts about life as a fan.
Walter Huber and Andrea Högl, President of Weng Fan Club
„…It’s just a religion. We’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses, we’re Pircher’s Witnesses. It’s a vicious circle. You get into it deeper and deeper, and the more you do, the deeper you get. Just take a look at our calendar. After you do one thing, you just can’t let it go. Because people have expectations….“
„…Eighty percent of our free time is devoted to Marc Pircher. When you add up all the preparation… Where should we go next, and who’s coming along? For the eight days before we leave, I don’t even want to answer the phone. Some people cancel and others say they’re coming. It can’t be too expensive, either. After all, you want people to come along.“
The two of us, Andrea and Walter, used to go to plenty of music events. And when we did, we always noticed the musician Marc Pircher from the Zillertal. Because of his repertoire (some of it traditional folk, some of it modern) and how accessible he is (pleasant personality, not a diva, ready to listen to everybody), it didn’t take long before we founded the Weng Marc Pircher fan club. Since it was established in February 2003, the number of members has increased continuously to the present 160.
Running a fan club involves a lot of dedication year round. The fact that what we did during our spare time would change completely as a result, that took us by surprise. Our active members meet every three or four weeks, such as at Pircher’s concerts, barbecue parties, excursions, etc. Of course, it’s an honor and a privilege that we have a personal relationship with Marc and his wife, Michi.
Some friendships have also developed within our club that would never had come to be if it wasn’t for Marc Pircher. We’ve become a wonderful “extended family.” Each one of us looks forward to the next meeting. For example, January 27, 2013, when Marc will perform for us in Weng for the 17th time. On top of that we’re scheduled to celebrate our founding, the “10th Anniversary of the WENG MAPI FAN CLUB,” on October 26, 2013. Preparations have already begun. This afternoon we convinced TV broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk’s soccer team, FC Sternstunden e.V., to come and play a group of local celebrities. The party will, of course, include a performance by Marc Pircher. The proceeds will be donated to charity, like always (such as the non-profit leukemia organization). So far we’ve given about 8000 euros to groups like theirs.
The fact that we’re so fortunate as to support Marc’s career and keep our cozy little group happy, we’re really proud of that.
Walter Huber founded the Bad Griesbach-Weng Marc Pircher fan club in Bavaria in 2003 and has run it since then with the help of his partner, Andrea Högl.
Rudolf and Inge Karber, Fan-club Presidents, Vienna
Well, I don’t really know, whether the word “fan” comes from fantasy or fanatic. First let’s start with the smart answer from Wikipedia:
A fan … is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something, such as a band, a sports team or entertainer. … They may show their enthusiasm by being members of a fan club, holding fan conventions, creating fanzines, writing fan mail, or by promoting the object of their interest and attention.
That was really smart, wasn’t it? But all in all, it’s true. We love a certain type of music: Schlager and pop folk, especially from the Zillertal region, and of course Marc Pircher in particular. We go to up to 50 of Marc’s concerts or performances each year. We collect CDs, design and make our own T-shirts, buttons, calendars and a lot more. Photos are of course part of a fan’s life and make it all complete. It’s always nice to look at pictures of old performances. That brings back memories, and they’re something we’ll always have. Being at our favorite musicians’ performances is almost a must. It’s also really helpful for getting away from any problems you might have and forgetting it all for a few hours. That’s good for the soul.
But being a fan means so much more. The person standing on stage isn’t the only important thing, the person inside is important too. That can also mean dealing with his worries and concerns, possibly helping with suggestions, some advice, and talking about your own experiences.
So we have a kind of craze, but this is better than being different somehow or vegetating at home alone.
Rudolf and Inge Karber run the Marc Pircher fan club for Vienna and Lower Austria.
The Wiebogen Family
It was in March 2007 when my daughter Bettina, who was 13 at the time, asked me to drive her to a Marc Pircher concert in Michelbach. She saw him in the summer of 2006, at the “Wenn die Musi spielt” open-air concert in Bad Kleinkirchheim, and has just loved him ever since! Unfortunately, I couldn’t let her, because it was an evening event and she had school the next day. But I told my parents about it, and also my cousin Christine, who likes folk music too. After that we all decided to go to this event, where the Zellis were appearing too. It was an indescribably great evening, and we loved the mood Marc was able to create with his accordion and his songs.
That same week Marc appeared at St. Pölten’s Live Club, and we went there too. At the beginning of this event a lot of the people were surprised that nearly everybody in the audience was young and were probably hearing this music for the first time ever. At the end they were all gathered around Marc and everybody joined in.
On June 16, 2007, Marc came to Brunn am Gebirge one morning, and Bettina and my youngest daughter, Melanie, finally had a chance to come along. It was like the two other events: Marc got the audience fired up and everybody joined in. My daughters were surprised by what he did on stage. That day we also met the woman he’s now married to, Michi. We were immediately thrilled by how nice and polite she was. From that day on we kept track of all of Marc’s concert dates in Lower Austria and became real fans. We went to every concert we could make it to.
In January 2008 we went to Zillertal for the first time, to the winter meeting of Marc’s fans. That evening, we realized how lucky we were to meet Marc and his family and get to know beautiful Zillertal with them.
Marc, to put it simply, is someone who can do everything needed on stage. He can play instruments and sing songs with lyrics that are just what we like. Every time, he provided great entertainment all evening with his guitarist, Mani. Marc’s concerts are always special for us, at all kinds of events, ski huts, beer tents, cruise ships or hotels! But for us one concert is always particularly special, something the whole family looks forward to: our MAPI festival each June! It has everything: an evening with Marc Pircher and band, a concert with lots of stars you can watch up close, and Marc’s family is always there, of course.
And we’re personal acquaintances of his family. We’ve been at the Pircher tavern, which his parents own, a few times, and at his vacation apartments, where we’ve always felt at home. His parents, his wife, Michi, and his daughter, Anna, are often at Marc’s concerts in the Zillertal. He has a really nice family, and we wish them all the best and lots of happiness in the future, and also his second daughter, Emma.
We’re passionate Marc Pircher fans and have all his CDs, because they include just everything, from Schlager to traditional Zillertal folk music and lyrics that make us think or want to sing along. We’ve also met lots of nice people at Marc’s concerts who are just as loyal as we are. And I met my especially nice friend, Helga, at a MAPI festival in June 2010. Since then we’ve gone to lots of his performances together and enjoyed every one! The pleasure you get from Marc’s performances stays with you for several days, and then you always look forward to the next one!
Theresia Wiebogen and her family are loyal Marc Pircher fans from Lower Austria.
Helga Buza, Fan from Lower Austria
I was, I think, at my first Marc Pircher concert in 2007 in Lower Austria (it was definitely at the Michelbachhalle), where Marc has appeared with the Zellberg Buam a lot. I noticed his refreshing musical style right away, and the songs stuck with me, so I’ve gone to more and more concerts given nearby since then, and find out on the internet and through other media where the next event I might be able to go to will be.
My collection of CDs, which I always have him autograph, is getting larger and larger, the ones in my car especially, and I rarely play anything but his songs. I have a serious case of the “MAPI virus.”
When I was looking around on the internet, I found out that Marc even puts on his own festival for several days every summer in the Zillertal. In June 2008 I convinced my girlfriends to go with me to the three-day festival, in Kaltenbach, where the tent was completely full. I was so thrilled by the performances of his songs and the way Marc does his festival that I’ve been a big Marc Pircher fan ever since, and just as big a fan of the Zillertal. I’ve gone to his festival in the Zillertal (in Mayrhofen) every year, and last year I even went with my leg in a cast (not even that could stop me!!!). We’ve met lots of nice people from many different countries at these events, and it’s always great to see them again and again and talk. That’s why I’m already looking forward to the upcoming fan meeting in Ried, which is always like a family get-together.
Almost everything in Marc’s repertoire is fast and upbeat folk music, just what I like! But he also sings slower songs with incredibly powerful lyrics, such as “Da drob’n in die Berg is der Herrgott dahoam” (God’s lives up there in the mountains), which is my favorite. I like to go hiking in the mountains myself and have often listened to this song on a mountaintop while enjoying the wonderful view of Tyrol’s peaks, and I get goose bumps every time!
I was and still am very impressed by the way Marc sets up and manages his performances by himself, and how he still finds time for his fans, sits down with them to talk and make jokes. I’ve never seen this with another musician, where you can meet “your star” up close and even have a little chat. On top of that, there’s always a fun and refreshing conversation when Mani and Franz are there.
I even met my current girlfriend, Theresia, at the Zillertal festival in 2010, and we’ve gone to many performances together since then. We totally enjoy every evening. Sometimes, the whole family’s there—then it’s a real reunion, like all the cruises where Marc performs (DDSG, Kristallschiff, Achensee, etc.). I estimate that we go to about 20 to 25 concerts every year, and being at each one, all across Austria, is an experience! A special treat for me are his smaller gigs, because they’re extremely nice and personal.
We’ve also had a chance to meet Marc’s wife and daughter. Michaela’s at many of the small concerts in the Zillertal with Anna, which the fans love and appreciate, because Marc doesn’t hide his family, but really makes a “presentation” with them. You can see how proud he is to have found such a nice woman and that they have a sweet daughter. Now they even have two daughters. I’m really looking forward to meeting Emma! Even though he travels so much, Marc’s a real family man. His family’s extremely important to him, and he always puts them first.
Marc’s a real jack of all trades, and I’m fascinated by that! He not only does this one job, he also hosts a lot of TV shows, appears on a bunch of others as a candidate, and even won “The Race” in Schladming. Of course, that was because, and I’m sure of it, I was on stage in person at minus 20 degrees, with a huge banner I had made myself: “WHO SHOULD WIN THIS RACE, IF NOT YOU!!!” I was at the finish line and cheered him on the entire way. It paid off in the end!
I like that fact that Marc the star is still, in spite of everything, accessible to us. He always asks how we like a certain song, or whether we enjoyed the evening.
For the future I hope Marc continues to have lots of success, and that he can take advantage of it as much as possible for himself and his family—and that he still stays “our Marc”!