Friday, 31 July 2015


Last weekend saw us going off to a very different, small and intimate charity festival in Broom in Bedfordshire hosted by the Cock pub, all profits were going jointly to the Alzheimer's Society and Sue Ryder charities, it was had a beer and cider festival with camping available overnight, all in all a recipe for another great weekend!

As it was all for charity, this is what we like to see:-

Taking Stock of Broomstock

I’m taking stock of Broomstock
And all that transpired there
Carefully selecting
The parts I can safely share

Not that anyone did anything
That was bad or of dubious content
But some drinking behaviours after all
Are best kept inside the tent

Camp Fellowship is established
Camp Fellowship was established
By Paul and Kevin the night before
With Kaz da Kamper and Fenders Den
With room between for more

Chris and I arrived on time
Soon followed by a Tim
Sadly there was no Jo this time
She was too busy still working

Tim, Paul, Mark & Kev get into the festival spirit
Although we had no Peter
We gained a Mark instead
He later slept securely
Up in a Kaz da Kamper bed

Corruption on the stage
Lynne was doing ‘Fancy Tat’
So a lot of the gang were here
To enjoy the good music
The cider and the beer

One of many!
 Of which throughout the festival
Copious amounts were put away
And things got quite hilarious
As we progressed through the day

Kevin took a group from work
To sample the Mount Gay rum
Returning with a happy smile
There was dancing to be done

The famous table dance
We saw the table dance performed
The pink blanket dance as well
The Bull Tango and the Matador
As if you couldn’t tell

The Pink Blanket Dance
The I’ll show you mine if you show me yours
That’s dance moves what did you think?
All in all quite spectacular
Fuelled by lots more drink

Anything you can do!
When all the bands had finished
Before we went to bed
We sampled two types of rum with coke
Until Tim lost his balance and his head

Saturday night was Inspired
When morning came we breakfasted
In a sumptuous English manner
Then like the others packed up our camp
Before the rain did start to hammer
A quick excursion made by all
To dump camping stuff at home
Then we all returned to Broomstock
Virtually on our own

Lynne &Paul demonstrating the Sunday rainy day snuggle
Huddled in blankets under gazebo’s
Wrapped up in thin plastic cagoules
Were we hardy music fans?
Or just stupid bloody fools?

Them what played
 But Broomstock is for charity
And at least it’d been sold out
So I hope in the end they did OK
Because that’s what it’s all about

Luke (you can see his name on the board) The Whybirds man done good
We had a great time after all
Even if we did cut Sunday short
Festivals in the English summer time
Can be an extreme sport!

Smile, that's all you can do!
So taking stock of Broomstock
All in all it was a really good event
Small but perfectly formed
I’m just so glad that we all went.

And finally, the really good thing is that they raised £1233 in all for the charities which is excellent.

Grant Meaby

July 2015


Wow, what a line up! 
Izzy Rowland, Mark Astronaut & Rico, The FingerChoppers (Last gig) and The Trailer Trash Orchestra, in fact anything but a trashy night!

Chopped Away

Young Izzy Rowland opened the night
She may be young but she can sure sing alright

Izzy in action
And then came Mark Astronaut with old band mate Rico
Playing songs from way back that many of us know

Mark & Rico a blast from the Astronauts past
Which after a gathering at the Nightingale
Went down very well after the Colley’s Dog ale

For Peter and Chris and Colin & I
Were once again ensconced in Club-85

For Hazel and the Fingerchoppers it was their last gig
It’s such a great shame that they never made it big

The Fingerchoppers, great band, outstanding last performance
For they’re such a good band and tonight they just shone
The performance of their career, they just couldn’t go wrong

With the Trailer Trash Orchestra headlining the show
Club-85 was of course the only place to go

The Trailer Trash Orchestra in full swing
So we did and as expected it was an excellent night
Which set us up for the weekend somewhat perfect alright

For the next day it was Broomstock for two days of fun
Gigging and festivals just have to be done
And that is another story!

Grant Meaby
July 2015

Thursday, 23 July 2015


No doubt there will be much written about Loreley The Night of the Prog festival 2015, there will be critical reviews of all the bands, 1000’s of professional photographs, song by song set lists, videos galore, etc. etc. etc. but not from me, all I ever attempt to do is present a simple punters perspective, so, here goes.

Until this year I was a Loreley ‘virgin’, for years I’ve heard many reports about how good the festival is, how stunning the setting, how clean, how friendly and the top class bands that appear but none of this actually prepared me for the reality.

For us our journey began back in the UK with a drive down to Ashford in Kent to catch ‘Le Shuttle’ to Calais and a relatively short drive up to Bruges in Belgium for an overnight stay in what was in fact a very nice hotel and a night out on the wonderful Belgium Beer. Strangely enough this time of year, just before the main European school summer holidays is not considered as part of the peak tourist season and as such several of the places we had planned to visit were closed!

Thank heavens for the ‘Druid’s Cellar’ and ‘De Gar’, both open and serving a nice selection of great Belgian beers strong enough to blow the cobwebs and the cares of normal life away and a great way to kick off our adventure.

 Friday morning saw us setting off on the second leg of our ‘Get to Loreley’ journey and despite a few hold ups on the motorways we eventually found ourselves at the ferry across the Rhine from St. Goar in one of the most picturesque parts of Europe, let alone Germany, and also in a heat that would do the Costa Del Sol proud!

 After successfully negotiating the river crossing and driving the short distance ‘Up the hill’ (A complete understatement) we arrived at the official festival campsite just in time to miss the first band of the festival, Lesior, but in time to hear the whole of Beardfish’s set while we set up ‘Camp Fellowship’, by the time Anneke Van Giersbergen and the Gentle Storm were getting into their set we made our way to the main concert area.

For those of you who have been, or are regular concert or festival goers to Loreley you will know how stunning the setting is, for those, like me, whose first time it was or those who have never been, it is quite simply stunning, built into a natural amphitheatre on ‘The Rock’ way up high overlooking the Rhine, the views are stunning, some advice though, take something soft to sit on!

 The facilities in the arena are pretty good, toilets kept clean and well stocked with paper, good range of food and drink available at reasonable prices and I can recommend the Terrance Bar and food outlet for a decent meal, also at reasonable prices and one of the most amazing views down to the Rhine and the Rhine valley you’re ever likely to see.

The camp site facilities were not quite so good, although there were several ‘porta loos’ there were nowhere near enough for the number of people so they tended to get full and pretty disgusting quite quickly, but, up by the farmhouse, you could pay E2:50 for a clean toilet and shower or E7:50 for unlimited visits to those facilities over the entire weekend, a wise investment!

It was great to see so many of the UK ‘Prog Family’ there, a time to catch up. share some quality time together and generally just hang out, chill out while listening to some amazing music.

Friday’s line up…………………………………………….
13.30 LESOIR
20.30 NEAL MORSE BAND (incl. Mike Portnoy)
23.00 CAMEL

 What happens when you camp near to two parties of young German’s who intend to party noisily all night and a couple intent on a night of noisy passion? Thankfully you get an absolute blaster of a thunderstorm complete with torrential rain in the early hours which was itself somewhat spectacular and after which silence reigned!

After waking up and a cup of life giving coffee we set off down the hill into town for a fine and very reasonably priced breakfast at the cafĂ© opposite the ferry terminal and a stroll around town before heading back in time for Saturday’s fun.

Saturday line up……………………………………………..

Luna Kiss
13.30 HAKEN
15.00 SYLVAN
16.45 LAZULI
18.30 THE ENID
23.00 FISH - 30th Anniversary Misplaced Childhood Show

Sunday saw us repeat the morning of the day before again in readiness for another day of excellent music.

Sunday line up…………………………………………………
13.30 IO EARTH
20.30 STEVE HACKETT plays for the last time "GENESIS REVISITED"

Steve Hackett
Highlights for me were the three headliners, Camel, Fish and Steve Hackett, amazing performances by Haken, Lazuli, The Steve Rothery Band, The Neal Morse Band with Mike Portnoy and a fine opening set on the Saturday by Luna Kiss and it was great to catch up with those guys after their set.

Apart from taking a detour to visit the Brewery of the world’s finest beer
St, Bernardus only to find it was a Bank Holiday in Belgium and it was closed, the journey home on the Monday was pleasantly uneventful.

Essentials for Loreley, a camera, sun cream, insect repellent, something soft to sit on, a waterproof in case it rains, loo rolls if you’re camping and plenty of Euros plus it helps if you love good music and go with an open mind to experience something new and discover new bands, and if you are lucky, like me, you might just be left with a sense of wonder.

The Fellowship’s Big Fat Loreley Adventure

So as there was no CRF this year
A festival we hold so dear
We decided upon another great adventure
To keep the music topped up in ur heads
We went to Germany instead
To Loreley for mighty Prog then we did venture

Under the sea in a car on a train
On the Euro Shuttle once again
Not disrupted by migrants nor by strikes
From Calais we drove up to Bruges
A cunning plan so full of ruses
For what turned out to be an awesome night

A little later than planned the very next day
After breakfast we were on our way
To Loreley perched high above the Rhine
The setting was quite remarkable
We planned to go and see it all
And have a damned good Fellowship festival time

Camp Fellowship was quickly erected
Far better than we had expected
So we entered the arena for good music and some beer
Again it surely must be told
What an amazing site it was to behold
And the bands made music so sweet to the ear

The campsite field was full of holes
But no mounds of earth to blame on moles
We wondered what on earth that this could be
And then we saw a mouse then even more
Pop out the holes by our tent door
Thank heavens that they didn’t frighten me!

Friends had come from far and wide
We met up with them when once inside
And shared time and laughs and some illicit drinks
But by and large we were sensible
For we’d gone and done it all
The night before in Bruges or so methinks!

For three days we did linger there
Without so much as a care
At one of the best festivals we’d been to all together
Everything about was just fine
We had a jolly splendid time
And we were even smiled upon by the lovely weather

There are many other quirky tales
But herein only one prevails
A great adventure for all it was because
For the Fellowship at Loreley
Night of the Prog may have now passed by
But what a damn fine festival it was.

Grant Meaby
July 2015 

Loreley planning meeting and it actually worked!
The next festival we go to will be somewhat different! So until then, keep listening to live music and cool runnings one and all.

Sunday, 12 July 2015


Saturday the 11th July 2015, the biggest gathering of The Fellowship of the Stick for many months and we were off to Club-85 in Hitchin for a free gig, yes free, as in, well, free!
SG1 Radio organised the event in aid of UNICEF's Smile for Children charity, staring local hero's or should I say heroines, the internationally acclaimed Joan ov Arc and with Hysteric Lolita all the way from Japan headlining and three support acts to boot, money was raised by the kind donations made by the punters on the night.

As there were so many bands performing it was an early start, so it was an early start for us too, meeting up as usual in the Nightingale for a beer or two before the gig and a chicken meal of course, well, some traditions just have to be maintained!

Turning Japanese

Saturday 11th July 2015
And where was the Fellowship to be seen?
An early start at five PM
And we were in the Nightingale again
Drinking Colley’s Dog from Tring

Club-85 were hosting a gig that was free
In support of a UNICEF Charity
Put on by Stevenage’s own SG1 Radio
Joan-Ov-Arc were playing, hey ho let’s go
And some other bands including a band from Japan

Chicken and chips for our evening meal
And how did we feel?
Ready to rock and roll
That says it all
Time to join the rocking throng

Circadian Rhythm
Circadian Rhythm opened the show
Just three songs, although
This was a great start, melodic and poignant
Music for ‘grown ups’ if that was the intent
Much enjoyed by those who were there

Echo Tree
The first of the evening’s discoveries
Were the FFB Echo Tree
Good raunchy rock certainly reminded me
Somewhat of Blondie
And that can’t be a bad thing
This is Eight
But what followed blew us away
This is Eight played a storming set OK
Blues Rock mixed with funk & indie
Certainly did the trick for me
And everyone else it seems

Joan ov Arc
Joan Ov Arc were on fire this night
Boy oh boy did we rock alright
They are one of the best live bands around
If you love that hard rock sound
And I’m sure that Debs smiled at Kev (More than once)

G La Roche
G La Roche joined them on stage for just one song
To sing in Japanese and he couldn’t go wrong
With Kevin holding up the words
All in all quite absurd
But fun none the less

Hysteric Lolita
Headlining and all the way from Japan
Were Hysteric Lolita, another all girl band
They could play extremely well
But surely everyone could tell
They were somewhat disconcertingly young!

Hysteric Lolita & Joan ov Arc
Now lyrics sung entirely in Japanese
Don’t always hit the spot or please
But all things said, they tore the place apart
And the finale when they were joined by Joan Ov Arc
Was a somewhat storming end alright
To what was all round a brilliant night.

Grant Meaby

July 2015

So now it's time to take a break, work beckons and then it's off to The Night of the Prog festival in Lorelei in Germany, so bye for now and cool runnings one and all.