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Thursday, 23 July 2015

THE FELLOWSHIP'S GREAT BIG FAT LORELEY ADVENTURE



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
15.00 BEARDFISH
16.30 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN PRESENTS THE GENTLE STORM
18.20 PENDRAGON
20.30 NEAL MORSE BAND (incl. Mike Portnoy)
23.00 CAMEL

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……………………………………………..
12.00 LUNA KISS

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

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

Sunday line up…………………………………………………
12.00 SPECIAL PROVIDENCE
13.30 IO EARTH
15.00 KAIPA DA CAPO
16.30 STEVE ROTHERY BAND
18.15 PAIN OF SALVATION
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.

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