Harrogate's million-seller returns to his roots for Ripley gig

Magna Carta founder Chris Simpson, left, on stage with members of his legendary band.
Magna Carta founder Chris Simpson, left, on stage with members of his legendary band.

A Harrogate-born musician who sold eight million albums in the 1970s is returning to his roots for his first-ever concert in Ripley.

After an early life in the Dales, Chris Simpson found fame internationally as the leader of classic British folk-prog-rock band Magna Carta.

The cover of Magna Carta's Lord of the Age's album by famed prog era sleeve designer Roger Dean.

The cover of Magna Carta's Lord of the Age's album by famed prog era sleeve designer Roger Dean.

Now he’s bringing them to Ripley Town Hall in a few weeks’ time in what he says may be his last ever UK dates.

Chris said: “Ripley is steeped in history and my family’s history is there, too.

“All of my mother’s side of the family sleep in the churchyard and my cousin Kate still farms across the Ripon road.

"We go back at least a couple of hundred years in Ripley. As a child I heard many stories of the old way of life straight from Aunt Mary's kitchen in the village.

"Parts of those memories ended up in my book The Visitor."

It’s an exciting date, too, for RipleyBlues founder Andy Herrington, the dedicated music fan who put on the first music gig at Ripley Town Hall more than ten years ago, turned it into a nationally-renowned live venue, and who still plays a part in bringing live music to the village.

Andy said: “About 15 years years ago I stood outside Ripley Town Hall with Chris Simpson while he mulled over the possibility of bringing Magna Carta to our venue.

“It has taken a while and the band have now toured in over 80 countries but at last they are coming home to Ripley and even the local farmer has booked tickets!

“Don’t miss this opportunity to see the band. It may be your last.”

Magna Carta, whose live line-up includes ex-Steeleye Span and Albion Band stalwart Ken Nichol, will be playing Ripley Town Hall on Saturday, September 2.

The setlist will range across the band’s 25 albums, including million seller Lord of the Ages and their recent acclaimed comeback album The Fields of Eden.