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Hafan y Mor, Pwllheli
17th to 19th March 2016

mark taylor

Mark Taylor: Photos by Simon Dunkerley

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The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

A Prog fest shared with a Sci-Fi Weekender saw many enthusiasts dressed as Trekkies or Star Wars characters. Even Brian Blessed added his huge voice to the weekend. But I was here purely for the Prog.

Now in it's fourth year the festival has grown to an extent that it will be a standalone event next year. Not that Prog fans will be standing alone mind you as this is a friendly festival where everyone has a common interest in beer and musical landscapes that expand the mind.

Thursday started with the impressive Hammerhead who had plenty of bite. Oktopus are a young three piece full of sonic technical wizardry combining the sounds of Rush and King Crimson, not quite the finished article but songs like 'World's Apart' and the epic 'Minotaur' showed plenty of future promise. Third Quadrant were a band who have never quite fulfilled their potential but they certainly gained some new friends.

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The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown stole the night with another captive and amusing show and Arthur proved he's got a lot to offer. He's much more than just a one hit wonder. The set was full of colour, humour and youthful energy and totally captivating.

Fortunately the sun was out all weekend so the mornings were a good time to explore the beautiful coastline where you could stroll along the cliff's edge without seeing a single soul.

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Prog fans got acquainted to the sounds of instrumentalists The Fierce And The Dead, Greek progsters September Code and Abel Ganz, a little known band from Scotland who all impressed. Edgar Broughton left his band behind but gave a highly spirited acoustic set of largely new material.

Retro rockers Purson were a surprise late addition and were most welcomed. Purson's leading lady Rosalie Cunningham made many old proggers drop their bearded chins into their beer with her stunning Gothic look. More psychedelic garage sixties rock than Prog but Purson were refreshingly good and my band of the day. Caravan's set passed all too quickly but a compelling set was rounded off with the epic Nine Feet Underground.

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Abel Ganz

A psychedelic jazzy ending with fellow Canterbury rockers Soft Machine saw some challenging sounds from John Etheridge on guitar, the purists' choice. Songs like 'Facelift' and 'Kings And Queens' can really test the listeners patience but those who intently paid attention were richly rewarded with one of the most uncompromising and idiosyncratic sets of the weekend.

Saturday saw Empty Yard Experiment give some Middle Eastern vibes and Messenger impressed many. The Enid were performing one of their last shows with founder Robert John Godfrey. It was an emotive set and The Enid have a new starlet with an operatic voice in Joe Payne. We got magnificent bombastic classical sounds with a new political calling. The Enid richly got everyone's vote.

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Edgar Broughton

Focus are regulars on the festival circuit and their set can become a little repetitive but Thijs Van Leer is a loveable character and I'll never tire of hearing 'Sylvia' and the madcap yodelling antics of 'Hocus Pocus'.

Ian Anderson stuck mainly to a Jethro Tull set that pleased the masses. His voice has lost a little of it's sharpness but the man still has his dry wit.

It was down to the new kids on the block, The Von Hertzen Brothers, to thrust the progtastic weekend into a successful ending. Mission complete.

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Ian Anderson

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The Enid




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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