Tuesday, 22 March 2016

FOTS at HRH Prog 4 in Wales at Hafan-Y-Mor

If you are looking for a blow by blow, band by band, technically accurate review of what they played and how well they played it, well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but you won’t find it here!
If that is the type of review you’re looking for then the best place to go is to head on over to Prog Magazine (Physical of website) or one of the plethora of music press sites and professional / serious reviewers, Prog Bloggers etc.
My regular readers will, or certainly should, know what to expect by now, a completely biased, punters eye view, warts and all, captured in the main in the worst possible doggerel verse with a few dodgy photographs and one or two I may have plagiarised from friends!

So, firstly, a fairly sensible synopsis:-

Hafan-Y-Mor  is a beautiful setting for any festival, situated on the Haven Holiday’s site on the Welsh North coast beneath the Snowdonia National Park, the beach is often deserted, splendidly desolate,  full of wildlife and water fowl and with spectacular views of the mountains across the bay, be warned though, despite fabulous clear skies and bright sun it can get a tad cold at this time of year.

At the beach for sunrise at Hafan-Y-Mor
Once again for a dedicated ‘Prog’ festival there was a pretty damn fine eclectic mix of bands as the line-up beneath will testify.
We had everything from the progressive tinged NWOBHM from Hammerhead to Edgar Broughton’s poignant and moving solo acoustic set, we had the amazing acoustic versions of Tubular Bells and Musical Box from Buzz Elliot in the ‘Owner’s Lounge’ to the full onslaught instrumental ferocity of The Fierce and The Dead opening up the main arena on Friday and there was classic rock, fabulous prog, ambient rock and a fair smattering of jazz rock along the way.

The ones who really ‘Did it for me’ were, Hammerhead, Third Quadrant and Arthur Brown on the Thursday, Buzz Elliot, The September Code (Acoustic), The Fierce And The Dead, Abel Ganz, Purson (Replacing Curved Air) and Caravan who played the best set I’ve ever seen them play on the Friday and The Empty Yard Experiment, Schnauser (THE discovery of the festival for me), Focus, Ian Anderson and The Von Hertzen Brothers on the Saturday.
I also caught many of the band’s I haven’t mentioned, in most cases it’s not that I didn’t enjoy them it’s more a case of personal taste or they didn’t ‘wow’ me on the day, or of course I was too tired (Tired in this case not being a euphemism for drunk as I was happily merry most of the time!).

It was also the most wonderful place to spend good quality time with friends, meet up with other friends from all over the country, make a few new friends, turn ‘festival acquaintances’ and Facebook Friends into ‘real’ friends ‘in the flesh’ and also enjoy a bit of madness up at the SFW (SciFi Weekender) who, it must be said, treated us to an amazing selection of costumes, displays and talks and who must also have perfected  time travel as all their merch stated SFW 8 when in fact it was actually SFW 7.

Overall the organisation was OK, there were inevitably a few niggles with the accommodation and the (Supposedly) dedicated seating in the main arena for Prog VIP and Royalty guests (They didn’t lay on a big enough area or enough seats for when the headline acts were on) but such things have been formally complained about and registered at the time by several disgruntled punters no doubt.
Maybe it is better to go just as an ordinary punter the cheapest possible way then your expectations are not inflated, oh well, perhaps next time.
I cannot fault the HRH team’s selection of bands and the running of the stage etc. Great selection of music and just about spot on timings throughout the whole festival, being there with such good friends I think it’s fair to say that the good points outweighed the slightly not so good by about 10 to 1 so that in itself is a ‘result’.

So here is the final line up as I saw them:-


Third Quadrant
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown



Buzz Elliot

The September Code


Main Stage

The Fierce and The Dead
September Code
Abel Ganz
Edgar Broughton
Soft Machine


Empty Yard Experiment
The Enid
Ian Anderson - Plays the best of Jethro Tull
Von Hertzen Bros

So in my usual inimitable style here follows the tale of the Fellowship's weekend at HRH.

HRH Prog 4  at Hafan-Y-Mor

So, there we were at HRH Prog 4
On the North Wales coast at Hafan Y Mor
And it’s never just about the music
It’s about spending time with good friends
Chilling out with a beer or two where the fun never ends
This year it was Kevin, Chris, Tim and Jo
Me, Alex and Mark and a Peter? Sadly no
Peter was learning how to stand on his head
Way down in Australia, OK, enough said!
So I captured our adventures for posterity
And mentioned the odd band as you will later see.

The Monks of the Grand Order of our Lord Fender Bear on serious patrol
This year we decided to upgrade to Rock Royalty
We got a chalet with a booze ‘rider’ and some good CD’s
On Thursday evening we saw Hammerhead
Classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal
Then Octopus who’s jazz rock just didn’t ring my bell
But never mind we had Third Quadrant for our first dose of prog
Before Arthur Brown who didn’t let us down, he’s still a rock god
And he had Miss Angel Flame dancing which was OK by me
We looked forward to the next day and who we would see.



The Legend that is, Arthur Brown

Once more we shared the site with the Sci-Fi Weekender
The Gamers and Larpers and Cosplay  such costumes of splendour
It was also nice to see the odd Steampunk or two
So we visited and mingled it would have been rude not to do
On Friday some of us went to the Sci-Fi opening ceremony
To see a dance show that really was just so good to see

A group of super super heroes at SFW7
The Fellowship met up with a host of good festival friends
Then off for the lunchtime acoustic session which is where it begins
We saw Buzz Elliot from Hammerhead playing his amazing guitar
And The September Code who, from Greece, had travelled quite far!
Then into the main arena for The Fierce and the Dead
Who absolutely stormed it, it has to be said
Then The September Code all electric this time
They were OK in fact I should say that they were just fine
And then came a band I’ve always wanted to see
Abel Ganz down from Scotland didn’t disappoint me
Edgar Broughton played his poignant solo acoustic set
And believe me folks this is as good as it gets
Curved Air had pulled out so we had Purson instead
Who put on a fine show it has to be said
Then Caravan who played the best gig I’ve ever seen them do
And that is quite something because I’ve been to a few

Matt Stevens from The Feirce And The Dead
Abel Ganz

Edgar Broughton


Soft Machine
 To end the evening there was the legendary Soft Machine to play
With Theo Travis on sax and flute but it was so late in the day
And the “refreshments” and dancing had taken their toll
So I stayed for a while before deciding to stroll
Back to the chalet for my warm welcoming bed
Only to find a bit of a party going on instead!

Lord Fender, Guardian of the Bean
Saturday arrived far too soon as it tends to do
But Chris of course came to our rescue
Cooking up another splendid “Full English” breakfast
Enough to feed the five thousand, well the seven of us
So a shower and a breakfast and a stroll by the sea
Were more than enough to help to revive old flagging me

Breakfast, mmmmmmm
So Saturday’s music
The Empty Yard Experiment all the way from Dubai
Were pretty damn good I suggest you give them a try
And then the band of the festival for Chris and for me
They were of course Schnauser an amazing discovery
Then Messenger and Twinscapes and The Enid were on
I caught some of each of them but didn’t stay long
But we came back for Focus who were as good as they are
Then Ian Anderson playing Jethro Tull, wow what a star!
The Von Herzen Brothers were the last ones to play
And they certainly rocked us all to a great close of the day

Schnauser - Protien for Everyone

Ian Anderson & band
Von Hertzen Brothers
Like any such gatherings and events on big holiday sites
There are many things that are OK and some not quite right
But the odd thing like running out of  VIP & Royalty seating
And not enough utensils in the chalet for cooking and eating
And an overzealous security guard stopping us dancing
Had all been officially complained about so hopefully enhancing
Everything for everyone for the next event
So overall once again I am so glad we went
For the music and the fellowship and the ridiculous fun
Outweighed everything else by at least 10 to 1

So, until the next time
Fare thee well one and all and, Bottoms Up!

Grant Meaby
March 2016

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