Box News #286 – August 5th, 2019


My latest blog documenting the adventures of the mighty Heep in Sweden at the Skogsrojet Festival and also at the ‘Wacken’ festival in Germany.

Thursday the first of August we met again at LHR Term 5 to fly by British Airways to Stockholm, Sweden. We did our usual thing and all met up in the BA lounge before boarding the plane. It was the usual type flight where you buy your own food etc, but everything went smoothly and we landed and picked up our luggage, and then we were met by our drivers in the arrivals hall.

The drive was 2 hours long, so we all nipped off for a pee before doing the journey, as the transport was vans with no toilet. We were staying in a hotel in Norrköping which was about 24 miles from the festival site which was the ‘Skogsrojet Festival.’

On arrival at the hotel, we dropped our bags off in our rooms and headed down to the restaurant which was outside. It was a lovely evening but along with lovely evenings and drink and food come fly’s and mosquitos. It was still an enjoyable meal washed down with a bevy of each persons choice, and then it was off to bed.

It was hot and humid and no air-conditioning, which is always a bummer because if you do leave the window open your room becomes an insect zoo. Well in the morning I was not alone saying that my legs had been bitten to bits. It was scratchy itchy, itchy scratchy all day long, even with some cream on!

Well after breakfast Phil, Bernie, Russ and I went for a walk which actually morphed into lunch. We found a ‘New Yorker,’ shop that used to be the bands favourite shop in Germany, but for most of us it had gone right down the pan, and all the clothes were pretty ordinary. However Bernie found a T Shirt and Shorts that he said would be great for his family holiday trip to Croatia in a few weeks. It was shocking pink and more Heavy Mental than Heavy Metal, but it was for his holiday, well that was his excuse anyway.

Well we had a lunch on our walk about, and then we went back to the hotel to chill before going down to the gig. We left the hotel at 19.15pm as we had a signing session at 19.45pm. This was cool and it went on forever, which is always a good sign.

Well if you had read my previous blog and all the trouble we had with our van, then the bad luck was apparently not over, as one of the festival vans backed into ours. Luckily it would be an insurance job, but still something we could have done without, as it was our equipment van from the UK.

Glenn Hughes was on before us playing all ‘Deep Purple,’ hits and they sounded great, and he has a good band with him, plus he still has a good set of pipes, but if I am honest it did not push my boat out, but the crowd loved it.

When we hit the stage there was a huge roar, and it never stopped, as they were well into every note we played and sang. It was a a great evening even though we only had 1hr and 10mins to play. We had a great time and backstage as we changed the crew broke down the equipment and we the boarded a sleeper bus for a 12 hour overnighter to a hotel near Hamburg Airport.

The bus was rockin’ there for a bit with liquid refreshments being skulled at an alarming rate, but I managed to climb into my bunk and get a reasonable sleep, while others partied on down. It was the best bus I think we have ever had, which added to some of the excitement. We also found out it was the most costly too. D’oh!

Well in the morning we were about 20minutes out from the hotel when Bernie came to the front of the bus asking to stop at the nearest toilet, with a pained look on his face, as he had a curious turtle appear. As there was a NO number twos rule on every tour bus, we stopped for him. Then we arrived at the hotel and there was little time for the crew to turn around and go to the show to start setting up the stage.

Some of the rooms were not ready, so the band went to lunch and the crew took the first rooms that were available to shower and get down to the festival site. After lunch I collected my room key which was on the 5th floor, and as I opened the door there was already someone in it. Luckily not the person, but certainly the suitcase and clothes were strewn all over the place. So down I went for another key, and I ended up on the 7th floor, this time with a clean room. We only had 1 hour and 30 mins to get ready before we had to be downstairs to catch the shuttle to the festival site, which was the ‘Wacken’ festival.

Now ‘Wacken’ festival is one of the biggest festivals in the world, and it has 250 bands over a 4 day period. We were on stage at 17.15pm for 1hr 15mins strict. There were 13 stages and we were on the ‘Louder’ stage. Well 85,000 tickets had been sold for this festival, so you can imagine how big a festival this was, and it was their 30th Anniversary.

Well we arrived at the festival site and everything was huge except our dressing cabin. Still the catering was superb and all of the surrounding areas massive. There was a Table Tennis table outside our cabin that some people were having a serious competition. They had an unusual style I have to say, with a beer in one hand, and a table tennis bat in the another. Still it worked for them and they looked like they were having a lot of fun.

Well the promoters have every person who bought a ticket their text numbers, and when it was time for us to go on stage they were texting people saying that at the ‘Louder’ stage where Uriah Heep were performing, it had sold out and there was no space left, so please go and watch another band. Well it was obvious people ignored that text because the audience went on as far as the eye could see and way past our mixing and lighting desks, and the swell of people each side was just amazing.

Now from the first note to the last we smashed it, and we were on fire. We had a fantastic time and the sea of hands in the air in every direction was more than amazing. We also had for the first time ever in Europe, a hand sign lady on my side of the stage doing sign language for the deaf. She was just amazing and she did it with such energy, she was incredible.

The reaction we received from the audience while we were on stage was fantastic and the compliments flowed backstage too by the other band members, crew and general workers. It may have taken us 49 years to get to Wacken, but when we did, we sure made our mark, and it felt soooooo good.

Once I had changed, I had to do three interviews that I could not do before the show due to time constraints, and once these were over I joined the rest of the boys in the huge catering tent for some much needed dinner. The food was excellent and although their were free cocktails on offer I went for the organic green tea and organic back tea that was the best I had ever had. It was a great way too re-hydrate.

I managed to see my German Lawyer Ulrich Poser backstage too which was cool, but Scampi had arranged 2 shuttle busses back to the hotel which was an hour away and Phil, Rich and I took the first. Most of the crew had already gone with the equipment vans and the rest followed on at 10.30pm. There was a tent with a lady giving free massages and Bernie had one booked for 9pm, so he caught the later bus with the others.

We were all given Wacken T Shirts, Water Bottles, Towels and a bag full of goodies, and even two bottles of Wacken labelled white wine, which was good of them considering how many bands were playing there.

Back at the hotel I had a welcome shower, and then I went to bed as we were up at 7.15am, to catch an early flight back to London from Hamburg Airport. Still even with that early start the crew set up in the hotel lobby with the remains of the rider and continued to demolish that, and I daren’t think what time they went to bed.

In the morning the hotel shuttle took us to the airport, and we checked in and went to the lounge which was pretty poor indeed with nothing much there at all, so I was glad I got up for breakfast. On the flight home I slept most of it, and we all collected our bags and went on our merry way. In three days time we would be back at the airport to fly to Belgium, so no rest for the wicked.

When I got home Iggy went mad, my cat Biscuit was nowhere to be seen, and my son Romeo was there giving me a big hug. Sheila was in Scotland on a jolly up, and her brother John was visiting, so we had a boys night in with some Fish & Chips, washed down with the beer of our choice and we watched the football. Magic!

‘Appy days!
Mick.

5 Responses to “Box News #286 – August 5th, 2019”

  1. GEORGE QUARTZ Says:

    It was a great moment for so many Heep’s tears to see the mighty Heep eventually on stage in Wacken! What a great response by the crowd and by the press. Congrats!

  2. Glen Doucet (Canada) Says:

    That would have been totally awesome to have seen Heep at
    Wacken, the pictures of the show look amazing….wish there was a DVD release of the show….

  3. Glen Doucet (Canada) Says:

    That would have been totally amazing to see Heep at Wacken. The pictures of the show look great, wish the band would release a DVD of the show…..

  4. Egil Bokn Says:

    Wow, I would have loved to see you guys in Wacken, and rumors say that they sell out long time before the bands have been published.

  5. Reinaldo Alves Says:

    Hi Mick, How can I see you in São Paulo, Brazil ? Would love to get a meet&greet and have my 17year old son to see you too and take a Picture. Any chances ?

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