Erol Sander meets fans. Photo: www.karl-may-spiele.de
The summer Karl May festival season is ending, and the biggest and oldest KM Festival, in Bad Segeberg in northern Germany, reports that it had its third most successful season ever -- 307,787 visitors came to see its open air production of "Halbblut" starring Erol Sander as the Apache chief Winnetou, Eva Habermann as Kitty LaBelle and Ingo Naujoks as Charles Leveret.
The season, as always, ran from late June into early September. The number of spectators was a bit lower than the record set last year, when The Treasure of Silver Lake drew 320,339 people. It was the first time in the nearly 60-year history of the festival that the audience has topped 300,000 two years in a row. (The person who bought the 300,000th ticket sold this year received a prize of €3,000.)
Next year the Bad Segeberg festival will celebrate its 60th year jubilee, premiering a production of The Oil Prince on June 25.
Bad Segeberg is the most venerable of about a dozen summer festivals in Germany, Austria and elsewhere in central Europe that feature open-air productions of plays based on the stories and characters of Karl May, the German adventure writer who created the most enduring Wild West characters in Europe. May died in 1912 and never visited the American west -- on his one trip to the USA, in 1908, the furthest west he got was Niagara Falls.