In the early nineties a group of progressive rock fans formed a little known organisation called The Classic Rock Society, and lo, it was good.
People around the world joined because after all – no-one else would touch Prog with a shitty stick. Bands couldn’t get gigs because most venues wanted to put on the latest brit-pop soundalikes. We were all wearing pale coloured baggy linen suits with pastel shirts, and there were just three Star Wars films.
It was an unsure time for Music. The fledgling Internet was still running at clockwork speeds and MP3 had yet to become a buzzword…
The CRS (thankfully the appreciation bit was dropped because CRAS was just not a good acronym) continued to slog on with the likes of Martin Hudson, Jenny Allan, Paul Allwood, Terry Craven and a dedicated team of helpers making it happen. First at The Florence, and originally – one off – at The Montgom (before it shut, then reopened). Moving up to the HLC and then Oakwood… getting bigger… getting better.
Suddenly we were in Year 2000 and Prog was a word people didn’t mutter under their breath any more. We were all proud prog fans, flying our prog colours with pride. Wearing our prog T-Shirts without fear of our friends pointing and giggling at us.
then… the tide turned… it all started to go a bit wrong…
Prog became fashionable in a way. Many venues around the country changed their colours and started accepting bands who had previously been told a definite NO, and the CRS started to struggle and flounder slightly as attendances dropped and magazine subscriptions fell. Martin’s constant ranting about it wasn’t helping – demoralising if you will… but we all slogged on and kept it ticking over.
Now, though, I fear for the future.
I’m watching new festivals crop up all the time and it should be a good thing, but it’s not. The problem is that many bands are now over-playing and are getting over saturated… soon the fans will become bored and will move on. I could name bands who have peaked and are now on the decline… we need some fresh blood coming up.
Hopefully the saviours of the prog scene (such bands as Riversea, DeeExpus, IOearth) will not go the same way.
It scares me.