Prog in the Park 06/04/19

Prog in the Park Christmas Competion Winner Fiona Stacy writes about her day at Prog in the Park on Saturday 6th April 2019 at the Glen Pavillion Pittencrieff Park Dunfermline Fife.

‘I don’t usually win things’ is what a lot of people say, and I am no exception, but I won the Prog in the Park competition so was listed as a VIP guest.  I was thrilled by this, mainly because it guaranteed front row seats, a boon when you are only 5’1”. The prize was for two, so great that my friend Lizzie, could share in the benefits.

There was initial disappointment that SeYes were no longer playing but this was more than made up for by the prospect of seeing Noddy’s Puncture.

We arrived in Dunfermline on the preceding afternoon and checked into our accommodation very close to Pittencrief Park, then we ‘hit the town’. A compact, historic place where we visited the Abbey Church, the last resting place of Robert the Bruce minus his heart, and the local museum which has some interesting artefacts. Curiosity satisfied we prepared to head out for the evening and later chasséd down to PJ Molloys to catch the last hour of Rush tribute band Clockwork Angels. Not being a Rush fan, I can’t comment much on what was happening, but the audience were fairly rocking when we arrived. There were plenty of air guitar and drums going on (couldn’t help thinking of Alan Partridge) and it was a great way to get into the mood for the day ahead.

The Glen Pavilion is an easy walk into Pittencrief Park, and I’m pleased to say the red carpet was waiting for us when we arrived. Gold wristbands at the ready we set off to explore and find our other Prog buddies. 

Fife Council had the red carpet out for Prog in the Park

It was lovely to find our seats with our names on, which was a great touch, and we knew no one was going to steal them. Brian did warn us it might be a bit loud down at the front of the stage but it didn’t seem to cause us a problem at all. 

Fortunately we had taken our seat as the event started without warning, first up were Altres who, sadly, weren’t introduced. They were the only original band of the day and were an excellent way to start. Their music was much more ambient than I was expecting so gave time for our dentures to bed in before the thrashing drummers arrived. A mixture of Kraut Rock, techno with a dash of post-industrial gloom, apt for a rainy Saturday in Dunfermline. It was thoroughly enjoyable being one of the highlights of the day for me, foot tapping along with hypnotic rhythms and quirky infills. If they are to return to Prog 2.0 I would be pleased to see them higher up the bill, as folk were still arriving as they took to the stage. I think people would be sorry to have missed them. It was a pleasure to chat to the guys after the set and I even splashed out on a CD.

With our prize came access to the green room with the promise of photographs with the bands. This didn’t work out probably for logistical reasons, but it didn’t matter as most of the band members mingled with us all during the day and were more than happy to chat.

Next up were ‘Afterglow’ covering the Phil Collins lead singing era of Genesis. Excellent musicianship and performance especially from bass and drums, the keyboards were a bit far back in the mix so hard to pick out at those ‘crucial’ moments. They were joined on stage by an enthusiastic Alan Reed for their rendition of Squonk. It was a good mixed set with a lot of the favourites of that era.

During the break to set up for Noddy’s Puncture, Ed Blaney took to the ‘Wee Stage’ for a wonderful Bowie acoustic set. I have seen Ed before with his Bowie tribute band Ultimate Bowie, they are superb so catch them if you can. He is such a talented musician as he went on to prove further as part of the ELP tribute Noddy’s Puncture. Taking over the guitar and vocals Ed’s renditions of our favourite ELP tracks were fantastic.  Frank Askew was tremendous on percussion and the seemingly unflappable Tom Szakaly on keyboards. We chatted to Frank during the previous set break and he explained that he lived on the South coast, Ed is from the North East of England and Tom lives in West Yorkshire, so rehearsals are quite tricky. You would never know it to hear them, and watching Tom wrestling those keyboards about the stage was an awesome sight. It was so exciting to see the vintage machines soar with notes. Yes, there were a few glitches but that just added to the jeopardy and got the audience behind Tom and roaring for more! To top it off he stole the show with a custom ‘ribbon controller’ complete with pyrotechnics which he proceeded to play with an unusual part of his anatomy. One might be forgiven in thinking it was a ‘G’ string, if you know what I mean. A superb dose of nostalgia, what a showman! 

Next up was Alan Reed and the Daughters of Expediency. I’m not familiar with Alan’s work but an interesting full on Prog performance was provided by him and his superb band.

I didn’t see all of the acoustics sets on the ‘Wee stage’ as it was such a packed programme and I wanted to catch up with friends, have a drink and sample the fayre that was on offer. Apparently, the Guinness ran out quickly which was unfortunate for some.

There were interesting stalls of artwork, books, CDs and Vinyl for sale.

A silent auction needed attention as did a survey of the raffle prizes. There was plenty to keep you occupied, all raising funds for two wonderful charities Maggie’s Centres and Sarcoma UK.

Additions to the audience seemed to pour in just prior to the Stillmarillion set, the headline act. I heard they went down an absolute storm but I’m afraid to say once the raffle and auction were finished Lizzie and I were all Progged out. Starving we bid a hasty retreat to the Glen Tavern for fodder.  I know they were a huge highlight for many on the day but never having been a Marillion fan I’m afraid they had to be sacrificed for nourishment. 

I would like to pass on my hearty congratulations to Kevin and Brian for a wonderful event and ‘cheers!’ to more of where that came from.

Fiona Stacey, Newcastle upon Tyne, May 2019

Alan Reed and his views of PITP

The following is taken from Alan’s website; http://reddwarfrecordings.co.uk

We really enjoyed performing at the inaugural “Prog in the Park” festival in Dunfermline, at the beginning of April.  A lovely venue, lots of great bands, and an enthusiastic audience.  As well as perorming our set, I also managed to guest on ‘Squonk’ with Genesis tribute, Afterglow, sneaked in a quick acoustic verison of‘Biko’ on the acoustic stage, and was invited to sing ‘Script for A Jester’s Tear’ with headliners, Stilmarillion. I aim to offer value for money 🙂

Click on the link to watch Alan and Pete singing Biko.

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