Fan Convention 2013 - Write up by Jim Jenkins
QUEEN FAN CLUBS 28TH ANNUAL CONVENTION – GREAT YARMOUTH 2013
Once again hordes of QUEEN fans travelled from all over the world to attend the Fan Clubs Convention, held at Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth between 19th – 22nd April 2013. The whole weekend was bathed in glorious sunshine.
These gatherings have become a highlight of the fans calendar and the reason why is plain to see to everyone who attended the event. There is quite no weekend like it!
The major entertainment was held in the Regency Room and Wayne’s World – Karaoke Session kicked off proceedings with WAYNE PLANT. Then the weekend compere NICK DADD read out the usual announcements and introduced JACKY SMITH for the ‘Official Welcome’. A compilation video was shown detailing the events which were going to be held which ended with a message from Freddie! Then a special video message from BRIAN MAY was shown and KERRY ELLIS also appeared on the screen with him. Thank you so much Brian for taking time out to film the message, it was appreciated very much by everyone in the room! Jacky then had a surprise when fans started moving onto the dance floor and FLASH MOB gave a performance of dance. Amusing. All arranged over the internet! Thanks Wayne.
The first disco was then held, the A-Z FANS CHOICE DISCO. Songs were collated by fans sending in a list of their favourite songs. There were some surprising titles and we heard songs at the disco we haven’t played before. Then a 3 ½ hour video disco followed and the dance floor was packed all night long!
There were 3 evening DISCOS held, one each night. Saturday night we had our very own DJ when CHRIS IBBS took to the turntables and played requests. Many think this was the best disco at the convention – ever! High praise indeed. Sunday disco could have gone on all night long as the dance floor was packed the entire evening. One of the Convention highlights is the Conga Train. Fans have their own ‘Miracle Express’ as they dance to Breakthru. The atmosphere definitely goes up a notch when this takes place!
During the days there are quizzes and this year we had 2 ALPHABET GAMES – one QUEEN song titles and the other SOLO titles. Tougher than you think when you only have 5 seconds to pick a letter and then give a song title and not repeat any that’s been said! Lots of fun at these! MASTERMIND was a close call this year and not one pass! Winner DAVID TAYLOR was overjoyed! We also had a TEAM 4 CHALLENGE QUIZ to test your general knowledge!
Three excellent interviews were held over the weekend, presided by our regular interviewer JIM JENKINS. First guest was TV & Radio Star RHYS THOMAS who gave what was an entertaining interview which the crowd lapped up. He brought along some videos to show. An alternative The Invisible Man video was shown which everybody loved! He also showed a new video for a remixed Freddie track. Love Kills went down a storm! The crowd showed their appreciation with a loud applause! DOUG PUDDIFOOT took us back to Smile days and the beginning of QUEEN. He explained how the cover concept for QUEENS’s debut album came about and showed how certain effects were achieved. He brought along an old camera and explained how the photos were taken on the back of the album. Fascinating. A returning guest who is made extremely welcome each year is PETER FREESTONE. This year he brought along some photos taken in New York and a couple included Freddie in them. We also showed him some photos fans had sent in and he explained who was in each photo and stories relating to them. UNURMA JANCHIV talked about the exhibition of Queen Art by Batbileg Darjaa. QUEENS very own archivist GREG BROOKS brought along some unseen live concert footage (compiled with thanks by Gary Taylor) which was a treat. Greg also gave a talk on current happenings and told some exclusive information. All the guests took questions from the floor. JAMIE MOSES gave a Masterclass which had to be seen! Thank you to all our guests for coming along. This is the place to be to meet these wonderful people.
We had our usual MARKET PLACE where there were some bargains to be had. Whilst this was on we had BRETT LINFORTH present a live radio feed for Switchradio. Brett also organised fund raising activities for the QUEEN Fan Club. He presented over £700 to Jacky on the stage, with more to follow. There was a CAKE STALL selling delicious cakes for Mercury Phoenix Trust by AMEY TUNNEY. Attending her first convention was fundraiser BEC SHARPE who kindly dressed up as Freddie as she does for the ‘Freddie For A Day’ and collected monies for MPT. Thanks to the fund raisers, you did a grand job.
There were a number of live concerts shown over the four day event which included QUEEN Live At The Rainbow 74, Hyde Park 76, Earls Court 77, Houston 77, Argentina 81 and many more bringing it right up to date with the Ukraine 2012 concert where QUEEN were fronted by ADAM LAMBERT! Brian May and The Cross live concerts were on offer in the V Lounge and a lot more! We showed the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on its 21st Anniversary. PETER FREESTONE gave an AIDS Presentation to remind us that this deadly disease is still with us.
Our very own QTV streamed a selection of live concerts, documentaries and loads of videos from each morning to the early hours. We had a couple of sporting events too, Pool, Darts, Snooker and Golf. All the prize winners for all the events received their medals and prizes in front of a cheering crowd!
We also had musical guests entertain us and this year THE BOHEMIANS, one of the UK’s top tribute bands rock n rolled Saturday night. Sunday afternoon the Convention had a taste of culture. PETER FREESTONE introduced the Russian virtuoso pianist NATALIA POSNOVA. She gave a remarkable performance by any standards. We now know why Brian May is enthralled by her. Natalia performed Who Wants To Live Forever, gave us the world premiere of Don’t Try So Hard and encored with her own rendition of Flash. It was a remarkable performance which brought the crowd to its feet and giving such loud cheers of “Bravo”. Totally amazing! This truly was something special.
PETER FREESTONE is currently involved in a ‘Rock Camp’ extravaganza, helping youngsters in the Czech Republic come together to play rock music. 17 year old TOMY KRYL showed us how he had learnt to play the guitar. He gave a great performance for the conventioneers who showed their appreciation. PETER plugged an event he is holding with these youngsters at the Liverpool Cavern on 11th & 12th May.
Sunday evening we welcomed from Italy, KINDS OF MAGIC, a most popular tribute band across Europe. They brought along some special guests with them and during an extended encore JAMIE MOSES played to rapturous applause.
This year for the first time we held an arts competition we called BODY LANGUAGE. Fans showed their tattoos which fascinated many! Returning by popular demand was the QUEEN MIME, which was entertaining and the Q FACTOR. We had our judging panel of PETER FREESTONE, GREG BROOKS, JACKY SMITH and we choose a member of the audience to sit on the panel. JOHN DAVIES was certainly dressed for the part in his formal suit! They all criticised the performers fairly and accurately. Round of applause to all who braved the panel!
We had two fancy dress themes. Saturday night was QUEEN night and many dressed-up as members of QUEEN and in red, white and blue. Some tables were decked out in bunting and table cloths to celebrate Her Majesty’s Coronation. Sunday nights theme was 70s and we were treated to many dressed in 70s memorabilia. Nice to see tables decorated in purple to support QUEENS debut album 40th anniversary. Marvellous! We had a FANCY DRESS competition both nights for the juniors and Adults. Some people put in big efforts and they were justly rewarded. Well done to everyone.
VAL MOSS presided over the Official Merchandise Stall where there were plenty of goodies on offer, including the 2013 Convention T Shirt which was designed with thanks by JIM STEVENSON. The t shirt artwork featured an old photo of Freddie’s hand in his metal gauntlet glove. The striking image was taken by one of this years guests, DOUG PUDDIFOOT who thought the shirt looked superb! He also explained how Freddie designed the glove and put it together! These kind of stories make it so worthwhile being in the audience!
Each year monies are raised for various charities at the annual CHARITY AUCTION. This year signed items by the band and more were on offer and all proceeds to the Mercury Phoenix Trust. MAUREEN BARCLAY held a RAFFLE for MPT as well and the fan club raffles proceeds benefited MacMillan Cancer Research. Thank you to everybody who bought an item in the auction and/or a raffle ticket. CHERYL DUKE from Arena presented Jacky and Jim with bouquets of flowers and personally thanked them for help given to her.
Big thanks go to CHERYL DUKE and the ARENA Team, GRAHAM LONGWORTH for taking the photos and more, ROB DEAN for audio/visual assistance, LINDA and KEVIN MAHER for selling the raffle tickets, the Security Team, the Guests, the Musicians, the Vauxhall Park Staff and to everybody who came along for a weekend of QUEEN fun. Was It All Worth It? You bet it is! If you have never attended a Convention seriously think about it as there’s nothing quite like it! You will share time with like-minded people with an electric atmosphere that has to be experienced to be believed!
Next years Convention has been confirmed. The dates for your diaries – Friday 26th September – Monday 29th September 2014. The convention will be held at Presthaven Sands Holiday Centre, Gronant, Nr Prestatyn, North Wales. Next year is the Official International Queen Fan Club’s 40th Anniversary so expect a big celebration at the convention. See you there.