Jari Kuivanen, owner and master of Dixieland, is my good friend from the course of years. I asked him to tell about Dixieland, activities there and about music & American cars as well. Dixieland ranch is located in a beautiful and peaceful place near town called Valga, which is a divided town on Estonian and Latvian side in southern Estonia. On the area there are great surroundings, nature and also two ponds.
Rockabilly Bash: First of all, please, tell me, who you are and where are you from?
JK: I'm Jari from Finland
RB: Tell me about Dixieland and your story with it?
JK: Dixieland is an old ranch, which was built up by Baltic Germans somewhere in 19th century. Originally the ranch was for horses. In Soviet times here was a sovkhoz and the place was built as a grain dryer and granary. I bought this ranch in the beginning of 21st century. At first the place was more like a summer cottage for me, at at that time I was still living and working in Finland. Ideas about the place begun to run in my head and in 2003 I organized my first Valga Cruising event here. After that I decided to change my life and moved here close to Christmas 2003. I started to make a huge renovation work that is still continuing.
In spring 2004 the name of "Dixieland" was founded and made official. In summer 2004 Dixieland was ready for the second cruising event. I was ready to start my "mission" here in ex-soviet area.
RB: What other activities you have on the farm besides cruising?
JK: Because of the location in Southern-Estonia, Dixieland needs to be as much as versatile. In winter time, when it's very silent here, I organize wild roar hunting trips for foreign people.
In summer season Dixieland is a camping place for the tourists from all over the world. Throughout the year Dixieland's bar is serving local as well foreign people. I also rent Dixieland for different kind of events, like summer meetings, weddings, birthday parties etc.
Sometimes during the year I organize some parties for the people here, with or without live music.
RB: Who are your inspirers, if you have any?
JK: It is very difficult to find inspirers when doing things like this. But still there are one, pioneers, who went to conquer the famous Wild West, heading to the unknown in a strange country. I feel pretty much like they have had in their time.
RB: What music means to you and what kind of music you like the most?
JK: Music means a lot to me, it concerns everything here in Dixieland. It's my comforter as well as a delighter in my life. It's my lifestyle. I like most so-called "roots music". I like rockabilly, 50's rock'n'roll, teddy boy style, old style country, gospel, blues etc. Maybe the most I still listen to rockabilly.
RB: Do you play any instruments yourself and if you do, which one?
JK: I know so many musicians, that if I say yes, it would be an insult against them. But somebody has seen me behind the drums sometimes, and somebody has even caught me playing with their cameras. :)
RB: What American cars mean to you and what kind of car you have now and what cars you have had?
JK: American cars are my long term hobby. When I was a little kid, I used to play with my grandpa's -37 Ford. I believe, that's the one, which lighted my interest for American cars. I bought my first car, 1965 Mercury, in 1983. I have had plenty of different American cars since then, year range 1938-1990. If I should list my cars, the list would be too long. At the moment I have -39 Buick Rat Rod. In the family we have -90 Cadillac, which belongs to my daughter now and -95 Ford Mustang GT Convertible, which belongs to my brother. My long lasting car has been 1956 Lincoln Premiere, which I bought in 1990, but I sold it out few years ago.
Some other my cars, which are worth of mentioning, are –38 Nash, -54 Ford Starliner Convertible, another -56 Lincoln Premiere, a couple of -56 Fords, a few -59 Fords, -59 Chevy Impala and El Camino, -60 Cadillac Sedan Deville, -60 Ford Sunliner Convertible, -62 Studebaker Golden Hawk, -71 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible...
During the years I have also been interested in old motorbikes and I own a few Harley Davidsons year range –41 – 63.
RB: Your regards to readers of this website?
JK: I hope my interview lighted your interest for Valga Cruising event and Dixieland-ranch. You are very welcome to visit Estonia and join us here and help me to fulfil this mission. Don't forget to check www.valgacruising.ee, I promise to do my best here in Dixieland to organize a real wild party for you with unbelievable great bands. Thank you!