Box News #284 – July 24th, 2019


After 5 days at home we were back at London’s Heathrow Airport at Terminal 5 flying to Munich once again to perform a festival in Falkenberg Germany. This was a headlining show with Les Holroyd’s ‘Barclay James Harvest’ in support and the ‘Havliceck Brothers.’

It was the usual British Airways flight, but when we arrived in Munich they had lost Scampi our tour managers suitcase. After registering the loss at the lost baggage desk, we boarded a van to travel the 2 1/2hrs to Falkenberg. On arrival they had dinner arranged for us which was nice, so we quickly put our bags in our rooms and went down to the restaurant. After everyone had eaten and had a drink, one by one we all sloped off to our rooms and bed, as it was quite late.

In the morning we had breakfast and the promoters had arranged a tour for us starting at 11am to 1pm. This was at a Castle that was also a Brewery as well as a place for Weddings etc with 8 nice modern type bedrooms on the top of the Castle. When we arrived we saw the German twins there Andrea and Claudia Obergfell which was cool.

It took 9 million Euro to restore this Castle, and it had over 1,000 emotional years of history. There are over 10,000 visitors every year, and the Castle overlooked the village of Wilgartswiesen and it was built-on sandstone.

Now the fun part is that if you own a house in the village and you can only do this if you actually own a house in the village, you can brew your own beer in the brewery. Many houses get together and work out the ingredients they want to put in their beer, and it is brewed there. They just bring in their bottles and fill them up and take them home. The beer is unfiltered, so it is very clean tasting. Of course we did try a few while we were there and it did get the thumbs up from everyone. The story goes that once a household has their batch of beer inside their house, they put a sign outside so that anyone can knock on their door and go inside for a drink with them. The sign is of the earth, wind, fire, water and air. It was an amazing Castle to see with so much history and it really was interesting.

We then went back to the hotel for some lunch, but first the organisers wanted us to go to the festival site to have a picture taken with everyone on the stage, which was inconvenient, but cool. It did also give us a chance to try out our equipment too, so it served as a mini sound check.

After this we chilled in our rooms until it was time to go down to the festival site. On the way to my room I met Les Holroyd of BJH on the stairs, and he said that he had recently seen a poster with both of our bands name on it from the early 70’s, which was cool.

Once at the festival site we could hear the last few songs of Barclay James Harvest and they were going down well. At one time they were huge in Germany, but now there are two versions of the band which kind of diminishes it a little, but they sounded good to me. Scampi was pleased though, as he had been reunited with his suitcase.

It was a beautiful evening and the audience were well up for it and we had a great time. Seeing the joy on peoples faces, and everyone joining in and singing and clapping their hands, it did the heart good. The new numbers from ‘Living the Dream’ went down incredibly well and it was good to see people singing along to those songs as well as the classics.

As it was outside and a summers evening, we were wondering if we were going to be bitten to death by the bugs, but we were lucky, though Russell’s bass drums in the front were filling up with a lot of them. They were bouncing all over the place and it was quite funny to see. I imagined they would of all had a wicked headache after an hour and a half of that, or at least felt a little sea sick floating in around there.

Back in the dressing room the promoters brought in some of the local Castle brew for us to try, and it was very nice indeed. We then went back to the hotel for a shower and then we drove on an overnight bus to Mezokovesd Hungary. This took 12 hours, but when we arrived they had breakfast come lunch ready for us, which was nice. Then it is was time for a little sleep in a non moving bed before we met at 5pm for a TV interview, and then at 6pm we had dinner in the hotel.

Since arriving in Hungary the weather had been wonderful and sunny with a clear blue sky, but while Scampi and the crew were down at the gig setting things up, they had a freak thunder storm that caused all sorts of problems. Scampi came to the hotel while we were eating and I have never seen him so drenched and windswept. Then he told us that where the Front of House and Lighting Desk were under a tent, the storm came down and it blew their tents way into the distance and all of the equipment got soaked.

The same thing was happening on stage and it was even impossible to hang the backdrop. The equipment on stage was drenched, and there was a point where we had to make a decision whether it was safe enough to go on. All of the plug boards and electricity points had all been soaked too, making it dangerous. Phil’s Keyboard suffered the worst, so they sent someone off to Budapest to get a replacement. The strange thing was that when it arrived and Phil had just finished programming it, his own one started working again, so it was superfluous to needs.

In the middle of all of this drama, the Mayor came into the dressing room and presented us with a bottle of local of schnapps like drink, a set of doily’s for the table, and a book about the city. He made a little speech and we had a picture taken and then he left.

Well after the crew running themselves ragged, they managed to get everything up and running, so the gig was on. I was looking out over the dressing room at the stage and there were not many people out there, which I put down to the rain, but the promoter said oh no it is amazing that 10 minutes before the band goes on thousands of people appear from nowhere, and he was bang on, as that is exactly what happened.

Well we kicked off the set and I have to say they were a wonderful audience and we had a really good time. Even though we did not have the backdrop and we were down to basics, it was a rockin’ show. They joined in everything and it was a special night especially after all of that drama with the freak storm.

Back in the dressing room they brought in some pizzas that were the size of a small Island, and on one of them it was a cucumber pizza that baffled everyone. We then left the venue and tried to get to the vans to drive back to the hotel and it was mobbed, so we were there for about 20 minutes signing all sorts of things and having our pictures taken, which was all very nice, and eventually we made it back to the hotel.

The following day we had a drive back to Budapest Airport and we caught a British Airways flight back to London. We all said our goodbyes, but we would be back in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport in 2 days time to fly to Stuttgart for another couple of festivals. This time one in Germany and one in Wales.

‘Appy days!

Mick

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3 Responses to “Box News #284 – July 24th, 2019”

  1. Billy Moncrieff Says:

    Hi Mick ,
    And another interesting read . Barclay James Harvest , Another old classic band from the past ! . That weather sounded pretty bad indeed , but Heep carried on like the true professionals you all are . Loved the stories about the beer and the castle . Sounds like it tasted good too ! !
    Rock On……………………………………………..Billy

  2. Egil Bokn Says:

    Damn, you guys are busy! Well, like you say Mick: Keep On Rockin`

  3. Glen Doucet (Canada) Says:

    Glad the show went well, nice that BJH featuring Les Holroyd were the support act…listening to Phil’s new album as i’m writing this, really like the album so far….

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