Two of the Swinging 60s key figures in the Summer of Love are coming to Harrogate this Saturday for an exciting event to reveal their firsthand encounters with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine and more.
Leading psychedelic artist and counterculture legend Mike McInnerney will be talking about and signing copies of his new book Sgt Pepper at Fifty which has just been published by Omnibus Press.
While Dudley Edwards of famous 60s design collective BEV will be talking about working for Paul and Ringo in 1967 and being in Abbey Road studios as Sgt Pepper was being recorded.
Saturday's Spirit of 67 mini-extravaganza will see four art/music/poetry/film events happening in four venues across Harrogate from 2pm to 10pm climaxing in the first-ever rock gig to take place at The Factory (Poliform North) in Harrogate.
Starring top Leeds rock band The Strawberries, the gig from 8pm to 10pm will also see a psychedelic light show and a support performance by acclaimed Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Nick Ellis.
Ellis’s debut album on the Mellowtone Records label, Daylight Ghosts, was hailed across the board.
BBC Radio 2’s Whispering Bob Harris even described the record’s original mix of psych-folk-blues as “fascinating.”
As for the talk earlier in the day at RedHouse Originals gallery, Mike McInnerney, who was close friends with Pete Townsend of The Who, in particular, said: “The move to London brought The Beatles into contact with the salon culture of the underground and the homes and apartments of friends which could offer safe spaces for marijuana-fuelled conversations and LSD-shaped experiences.”
Mike, who also designed the sleeve of The Who’s classic Tommy album, has seen his psychedelic artwork in posters and more exhibited all over the world, including London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery and The Whitney Museum in New York.
The former art editor of legendary counterculture newspaper International Times, he will appear in Conversation with Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser as part of the exclusive eight-hour, four venue Spirit of 67 event in Harrogate on Saturday, July 22.
All-day tickets are strictly limited to 100 for this interstellar feast of live music, art, literature, film and drink which moves across town from 108 Fine Art gallery to RedHouse Originals gallery to the North Bar to The Factory (Poliform North).
Also appearing in the talk at RedHouse Originals will be a Swinging 60s designer who was in the studio when The Beatles were actually recording their masterpiece Sgt Pepper in those days of 1967.
Dudley Edwards, who famously painted Paul McCartney’s psychedelic piano, said: “John Lennon called round at Paul’s house one time. Paul asked me if I minded if he and John went to his music room to do some work on a number for Sgt Pepper.
“Eventually they emerged to play me the first rendition of Getting Better. I guess they wanted the opinion of a layman.”
It was Dudley’s role in organising The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave at London’s Roundhouse in January 1967 which led McCartney to a meeting electronic music pioneer Peter Zinovieff at his studio in a concrete bunker at the bottom of this eccentric figure’s garden.
When Dudley asked McCartney to contribute something avant garde to the event, Paul and the rest of The Beatles came up with the 15-minute track Carnival of Light, the most famous unreleased recording left in the group’s archives to this day.
Mike McInnerney, co-organised another key groundbreaking ‘flower power’ event in London, the 14-Hour Technicolour Dream at Alexandra Palace on April 29, 1967 which inspired the subtitle of the whole Spirit of 67 day.
The day's happenings will run from 2pm to 10pm approximately with four events in sequence at 108 Fine Art gallery on Cold Bath Road, RedHouse Originals gallery on Cheltenham Mount, North Bar Harrogate (upstairs) and The Factory (Poliform) off Victoria Avenue.
Acts taking part also include a string quartet from the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra, Dan Webster of The Birdman Rallies, DJ Rory Hoy, beatnik poet Heath Common, artist Patrick Wise, one of the UK's leading improv keyboard players, Paul Taylor - and pupils from Oatlands Junuor School!
One highlight is sure to be an exhibition at RedHouse Originals in Harrogate of art by Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt Pepper cover fame) plus photographs by Gered Mankowitz (Rolling Stones and more) and Leni Sinclair (American photographer, radical political activist and co-founder of the White Panther Party along with John Sinclair) plus a lot more.
A limited number of tickets are available at the Harrogate Theatre Box Office.
Sgt Pepper At Fifty: The Mood, The Look, The Sound, The Legacy of The Beatles’ Great Masterpiece is written by Mike McInnerney, Bill DeMain and Gillian G Gear and is published by Omnibus Press.