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Previous editions: year 2009

The third edition of the Rock Legends Festival took place in two parts, the first in July and the second in August. On Friday 24 July the British band The Troggs with two original members from the 1960s (Reg Presley - vocals and Chris Britton - guitar). The audience welcomed the great hits which were very easy to sing With a girl like you, Give it to me, From home, Louie Louie, The night of the long grass, Anyway that you want me, I can’t control myself. But it was Love is all around and the final Wild thing that received the greatest applause. The audience went crazy and Reg Presley had just one word of comment after the concert: Amazing. The second performer was Wishbone Ash managed by one of the musicians from the original band, the bass player, Martin Turner. Although it wasn’t the original team, the sound and perfect performance wasn’t different from the original Wishbone Ash. They gave a one and a half hour show during which the audience in Dolina Charlotty heard: Warrior, Blowin' free, Jailbait, Phoenix,,Lady day, Time was, Blind eye and Persephone. The audience was delighted and the musicians thanked for the amazing reception. The second day began with another concert by T.Rex. There was only one of the musicians who played with Marc Bolan, the leader who died tragically, Paul Fenton, but the music that the band played was nearly the same as the original hits of T.Rex from the beginning of the 1970s: Hot love, Get it on, Children of the revolution or the encore 20th century boy, with spectacular riffs by the guitarist Richard Spencer. The guitar solos by Graham Olivier, ex-member of the metal group Saxon, added even more colour to the performance. After T.Rex it was time for the show of the second performer of the second day, Slade, a British band famous in the 1970s. The Glam-rock band with half of its original team (Dave Hill - vocals and guitar, Don Powell - drums) with the addition of Mal McNulty (lead singer and guitarist) and John Berry (bass and violin) sang the great hits: Far far away, Coz I luv you, Mama weer all crazee now, Take me bak, Look wot you dun, My oh my, Everyday, Gudbuy T’Jane, Run runway. The people danced and sang and the cameras flashed. The audience heated up with the great music but hungry for more wanted an encore which they received. When they sang Get down and get it and Cum on feel the noize no one remained in their seat. Finally, clad in red caps, they dedicated their all-time Christmas hit Merry Xmas everybody to Mirosław Wawrowski, the creator of Dolina Charlotty and the Festival.

The second day of the festival took part in August. On Friday 14 of August the festival began with the concert of the Polish Delhy Seed who supported the Dutch group Focus. Long complex instrumental pieces bordering on progressive rock, jazz and classical music, and particularly the masterpiece performance by Niels van der Steenhoven, drum player Pierre Van Den Linden, flute and keyboard player Thijs van Leer, yodeling in the memorable hit Hocus Pocus, the audience in Dolina Charlotty received with long applauses. With such excellent weather and great music (House Of The King, Eruption, Sylvia, Focus Anonymous and the lesser known humorous Aya Hippie Yuppie Yee) what else could you wish for? Maybe only slightly harder rock music of the Welsh trio Budgie to finish off the day. They sang the songs from their latest album You’re re all living in Cuckooland and some immortal hits as Whisky river, Napoleon Bona - Part I & II, In for the kill, I turned to stone and R&B standard, Baby Please Don’t Go. Burke Shelley, the bass player, sang as in the good old days, Steve Williams drummed and Craig Goldy showed some great guitar solos. Once again Budgie showed that fairly simple instrument equipment can be very powerful - Wojciech Frelichowski wrote in Głos Pomorza.

The great weather but particularly the scale of the enterprise of the Rock Legends Festival in Dolina Charlotty amazed the leader of the band and all the musicians who performed at the beginning of 15 August. The Yardbirds is a group who occupies an important place in the history of Rock&Roll, because Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page set their first steps in this band. This time the band included the original musicians Chris Dreja, the guitarist of Polish origin and the photographer and drum player Jim McCarty. The young musicians starting with the guitarist Ben King, the bass player David Smale and the harmonica player and singer Andy Mitchell, trained by Dreja, sang all the greatest hits of the first half of the 1960s: For your love, Evil hearted you, Shapes of things, Heartfull of soul, You’re better man than I, Little games, Over under Sideways Down, Dazed and confused, the song alluding to Gregorian chants Still I’m sad and some blues pieces bluesowych I wish you would by Billy Boy Arnold and songs from the album Birdland recorded by the new team. It was Arthur Brown, the second performer of the evening, who evoked the biggest emotions and received standing ovation for his great show. He sang and moved on the stage brilliantly. He changed several times. But mostly he did not only sing a couple of songs, he gave a real rock show with gestures, music, text, costume, scene, lights, smoke and drama. Already the beginning was a big surprise for the audience. A high tall figure clad in a pigrim suit with a crook appeared in total darkness. Bob Dylan music sounded from the gigantic loudspeakers and Brown sang A hard rain’s a gonna fall similarly to Tom Waits. When the stage was illuminated by the stron limelight, the artist took off the pilgrim suit and showed a diabolically painted face. More surprises were in store for the audience. He performed lyrical and dinamic songs whereas while singing his greatest hit Fire a real fire was blazing on a special helmet attached to his head. The audience was surprised and scared at first though soon their enthusiasm erupted in earnest. The performance of Arthur Brown was believed to be one of the greatest in the history of the festival in Dolina Charlotty, so the organiser of the event invited him for next year’s edition. The protagonist of the show admitted that for him the most important thing was always the music and the message that it sends as it is the most universal means of communication between people of differenct backgrounds and cultures. The next performer of the day was the blues and rock band Chicken Shack. However, their show turned out to be quite a disappointment to the audience. Its leader, the singing guitarist Stan Webb, was not in shape as he had one too many drinks before the show. Though he tried to sing emotionally, he was not able to play in tune on the guitar. In between the songs, he tried to entertain the audience but the effect was rather pitiful. Webb prepared many famous songs for the festival (The thrill is gone, Love her with a feeling). Even the deeply moving song I’d rather go blind, during which he invited one of the ladies from the audience on stage or the fact that he was helped out by Dave Winthrop playing the saxophone, didn’t change much. The performance by Chicken Shack can be said to be one of the worst in the history of the Rock Legends Festival.

On the last day of the festival on 16 of August, the show began with Sweet, led by Andy Scott. In the 1970s the band played merry, rhythmical glam rock music. They played their big hits from those times: Action, Ballroom blitz, Blockbuster, Fox on the run, Hellraiser, Teenage rampage and The six teens made the audience feel young again. The stage craziness made everybody want to stand up from their seats said Janusz Krężołek, who came with his wife Monika from Zielona Góra and danced nearly throughout the entire concert beneath the stage. (Wiadomoś If you add up the age of each of the members of the next band it would be well over 300 years old. It is led by the English singing guitarist and composer, Spencer Davis. In the 1960s they were a legendary group whose hits bordered on blues and American R&B. That day their songs could be heard in Dolina Charlotty: Keep on running, When I come home, Somebody help me, Every little bit hurts, Gimme some loving and I’m A man. The musicians of Spencer Davis Group also sang some classics (San Francisco Bay Blues, House of the rising sun, Dimples and Tulsa time) perfectly. It is obvious that Colin Hodgkinson (bass), Eddie Hardin (organs), Miller Anderson (guitar and vocal) and, of course, the leader Spencer Davis know the blues canon. The audience listened with bated breath and it was obvious that the musicians on stage had a lot of fun performing. Colin Hodgkinson proved with his excellent guitar playing that he isn't called the greatest bass player of rock music in the world for nothing. The performance was delighful not only to the audience but also the bass player of the next band, the Scottish group Nazareth. They began the performance with the famous Telegram followed by other hits such as Love hurts, Broken down angel, Bad bad boy and White bicycle, Dream on, Country girl, Red light lady and This flight tonight. The audience sang together with Dan McCafferty, they applauded the quitar solos courtesy of Jimmy Murrison and although it was late, they encouraged the group to do an encore. Then a group of fans remained at the safety barriers and demanded a meeting with their idols with loud screams. Their wishes came true. Though the amphitheatre went silent for about a year, it was Andrzej Matysik from the quarterly Twój blues who said that the Rock Legends Festival had been one of the biggest and most distinctive musical events of that year.

Zdzisław Pająk

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