Written by Charles Hutchinson
THE Spirit Of 67 will celebrate 50 years since 1967, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper and the Summer Of Love in a one-off event in Harrogate on July 22.
Live original performances, a retro exhibition, a newly-commissioned 50ft public mural, gallery talks and a book signing will be complemented by “Happenings” throughout the course of the day.
Presented by Charm, 108 Fine Art, RedHouse Originals Gallery, The Factory at Poliform North and North Bar, this multi-media arts and rock'n'roll event will be spread across four venues, taking place in sequence across Harrogate.
Guests will be taken on a trip around the four locations in four events between 2pm and 10pm, each beginning with a different contemporary music act playing a new version of The Beatles' A Day In The Life, the climax to their Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
The day will kick into life at two o'clock with A Happening, plus a string quartet from the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra and Dan Webster from York indie band The Birdman Rallies at 108 Fine Art Gallery in Cold Bath Road.
At 4pm, Big Beat DJ Rory Hoy's new remix of A Day In The Life will be the fanfare to herald Sgt. Pepper At Fifty, wherein Sixties' psychedelic artists Mike McInnerney and Dudley Edwards will be in conversation with Charm programmer and Harrogate Advertiser journalist Graham Chalmers at RedHouse Originals Gallery in Cheltenham Mount.
This will be accompanied by Omnibus Press's book launch of McInnerney's Sgt. Pepper At 50: The Mood, The Look, The Sound, The Legacy Of The Beatles’ Great Masterpiece, plus an exhibition of classic images by Gered Mankowitz, Sir Peter Blake, Horace Panter of The Specials, Candie Payne, Thomas James Butler, Leni Sinclair and Ian Skelly of The Coral.
McInnerney says: “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.”
Halifax-born Edwards will be recalling his “contribution” to Sgt. Pepper. “John Lennon called round at Paul’s house one time when I was living there. 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,” he says. “Eventually they emerged to play me the first rendition of Getting Better. I guess they wanted the opinion of a layman.”
At 6pm, A Day In The Life and beatnik poetry will be performed by West Yorkshire's answer to Jack Kerouac, Heath Common, in the company of artist Patrick Wise at North Bar in Cheltenham Parade. This section of the day also will feature British improv pianist Paul Taylor's premiere of 8 Hour Technicolour Dream and a 1967 film show.
A huge Spirit Of 67 public mural, devoted to classic 1967 record sleeves, will be unveiled at 8pm on an external wall of Poliform North's design studio between Station Bridge and Victoria Avenue. This will be followed by a gig inspired by Andy Warhol’s The Factory, psychedelic light show et al, at The Factory at Poliform North, featuring The Strawberries, from Hyde Park, Leeds. Support act Nick Ellis, a Liverpool singer-songwriter signed to Mellowtone Records, will do the A Day In The Life honours.
“This will not only be an exciting day but totally unique,” says co-organiser Graham Chalmers. “There's such a lot going on in such a short space of time across the town. There's excitement round every corner. The day will celebrate Sgt. Pepper with people who were there but also with current musicians and artists who bring rock'n'roll, art and poetry up to date in the modern world – and there'll be great craft beer from North Bar and the Roosters micro-brewery.”
Fellow co-organiser and RedHouse Originals gallery owner Richard McTague adds: “The day will be a genuine magical mystery tour with key players from the time who worked with The Beatles as our VIP guests, as well as brand new commissions in art and music.
“McInnerney and Edwards, in particular, were key players at the heart of the Summer Of Love in Swinging London. Harrogate is the only place in Britain to host such an exciting 50th anniversary event outside of Liverpool itself.”
A strictly limited number of tickets are available at £10 from the Harrogate Theatre box office in person or online at harrogatetheatre.co.uk
Image: The poster for The Spirit Of 67
Source: York Press