by Richard Lewis


What a pleasant way to spend the weekend. About 200 people including speakers, musicians, traders, friends, family, locals and a huge range of Dylan lovers turned up in Northampton to celebrate the Second John Green Day. It was a great success.

Although I spent most of my time on our Freewheelin’ reception desk I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. Being there meant I got to chat to lots of familiar friends and acquaintances and also meet some new ones. During the day Paula, who I had not met before, joined me to help take tickets etc. As two Primary School teachers who also love Dylan books and magazines we found that we had lots to talk about. We both thought it would be good to organise a proper Freewheelin’ weekend so that we could all get to know each other in person rather than just through the printed word or fol.

Everything seemed to go well. Friday night gave a chance for a few Freewheelers and some close friends to have a quiet drink in the hotel bar as well as finalise arrangements with the hotel. Saturday morning we got ready with a chance to look through the programme. It was fascinating to read what everyone had chosen as their favourite Basement Tape track and will help me to listen to them next time.

By 11am quite a few people had arrived and were browsing through the books, magazines, Tshirts, videos a CDs on display. Being on the desk I didn’t get to hear Andy Muir or Society’s Pliers but they both seemed to go down well with a reasonable audience for both. Paula took over the desk to allow me to go and listen to past Freewheeler Jeff Stevens. Although I had enjoyed Jeff’s article about his trip to Big Pink when it appeared in Freewheelin some years ago it really came to life when Jeff talked about it and showed us his slides. It made me resolve to finish my article about my trip to the USA in 1967, as I never reached the part where I went to Woodstock. Coming soon (when I find the right box to unpack).

I enjoyed Julie Felix’s first short set of Dylan songs with fine versions of Visions of Johanna and Gates of Eden neither of which are easy choices. I was especially fascinated by her story about taking Judy Collins place during the recording of In My Life in 1967.

Back on the desk I missed Derek Barker but managed to hear (but not see) Cold Overture who were absolutely sensational and in my opinion were the highlight of the day. Again I only caught a little of CP Lee but I was amazed at how much he puts into a talk. In fact talk doesn’t do it or him justice, as what he does is a genuine performance. Perhaps Chris C will lend me the video of the bits I missed. Julie’s second set again featured some brave song choices including Subterranean Homesick Blues, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Not Dark Yet.

A great day made even better by the inimitable introductions of Keith Agar. I think we may have to do it again next year.