Thursday, March 23, 2017

HRH Prog V Festival (16-19/3/2017 - North Wales). A review (Part 1)

 A couple of days ago I returned to Athens after my weekly trip to England and North Wales, in  order to attend the HRH Prog festival. (Among other things).
 I tried to organize my thoughts in order to be able to sit down and write these posts, because the truth is that, many things happened in very few days. So, this the first post I am writing, concerning the
days I spend in England and Wales, but not only at the festival, as you will see...
  I landed on England on Tuesday night, and after spending a couple of days in Horley, south of London, on Thursday morning our road trip towards North Wales begun.
  After many hours and many kilometers (or should I say miles?), we reached to Criccieth, a very
beautiful village almost 10 km from the place that the festival was going to take place. On the way, we did a couple of stops and made rounds into some very beautiful villages and castles, such as Ludlow.
Because we knew that we were going to reach at Criccieth late at night, we had no tickets for the first day of the festival. That happened because the first day wasn't including many bands, and if I exclude Pendragon, I didn't care much for the other ones.
   After a good night's sleep, on Friday morning I was ready to go to the concert area. But not before visiting the impressive Harlech castle. Right after that, we rushed to the area of the festival, because before anything else, I had an interview with Barclay James Harvest arranged, at 13.00. I reached at the reception almost on time, received my 'media pass', and headed to the Media Center, in order to meet the band. The Media Center was a very big area, including a small stage, where some of the bands were playing an "acoustic" gig only for the press and the VIP's, before their normal gig.

With a slight delay, the whole Barclay James Harvest band plus their manager appeared, and altogether we had a very nice chat for more than half hour. I did the interview but we also spoke about many other things as well. (But that was not the only time I was going to meet the band as it proved out). At the time I was ready to leave, all the members of Hawkwind came in, so I decided to remain there for a bit longer. I met with them, spoke for a bit, took some pictures and a couple of autographs and then I headed to the main concert area, that was including 2 stages.
  The biggest problem was that most of the times there were bands playing at both stages at the same time. So either I had to pick and watch one of them, or I had to come and go between the 2 stages. I watched the whole performance of Credo on the 2nd stage, and I must say that they were really good! Despite their singer was sick, his performance was very good. I also watched the half gig of Panic Room at the 1st stage, and I must say that they were impressive. After Panic Room, it was time for The Pretty Things to get on the stage, and they played a rather old-fashioned set, based on classic Rock and Blues tunes. Also a good performance. 
  Almost at the middle of their set, I left and headed again to the Media Center, in order to arrange a few things. There, I met again with the members of Barclay James Harvest, and after a short chat, they invited me to go to the backstage for a few pictures and a beer. So, I went into their car and altogether went to the backstage area. I stayed for some time with the band, and then I rushed to the 1st stage again, in order to see as much as I could from the gig of Curved Air. I think I saw the second half of Curved Air's performance, but I cannot say I was impressed. During the short intermission, I went in the front rows in order to be able to see Barclay James Harvest from the best spot possible, who came on stage right after Curved Air.
  And the truth it that Barclay James Harvest blew my mind! It was without any doubt the best gig of the day! They played many of their old and famous songs, including some that I truly love and I wasn't expecting to listen.
  During the almost one-hour break between Barclay James Harvest and Hawkwind who were the headliners, I went again to the 2nd stage and watched a little bit the Davy O'List band, but I can't say I liked them.
 I returned to the 1st stage for Hawkwind, but I didn't stay for long. The place was packed, and I had to stay near the entrance, because I couldn't go further inside. From that place I couldn't see or hear very well, so after almost half hour, I decided that it was time to go home and have some rest, because the really great day was the next one.
To be continued...
Pic No.1: The HRH Prog V banner / Pic No.2:The town of Ludlow / Pic No.3: The castle of Ludlow / Pic No.4: The castle of Harlech / Pic No.5: Me with BJH at the backstage / Pic No.6: BJH on stage / Pic No.7: Me with Hawkwind at the Media Center.
On the following video you can see a part of Mockingbird by Barclay James Harvest, as it was performed at Friday the 17th on the 1st stage of HRH festival.