BEA­TLES IN BAN­GOR

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

SCREAM­ING crowds met the Bea­tles when they vis­ited Ban­gor for a con­fer­ence 50 years ago.

The Fab Four ar­rived by train at the city’s rail­way sta­tion on Fri­day, Au­gust 25, 1967, to at­tend a 10-day con­fer­ence on tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion led by Ma­har­ishi Ma­hesh Yogi at the Nor­mal Col­lege – now part of Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity.

The Ma­har­ishi had repack­aged an­cient med­i­ta­tion prac­tices and the Tran­scen­den­tal Med­i­ta­tion Move­ment, aka the Spir­i­tual Re­gen­er­a­tion Move­ment, had been host­ing its UK an­nual Con­fer­ence at the Nor­mal Col­lege for sev­eral years.

The four mem­bers of the group had met the Ma­har­ishi in Lon­don and de­cided to ac­com­pany him to Ban­gor in 1967, the “sum­mer of love”, although the con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers were un­aware.

Trav­el­ling with the group on the 3.15pm train from Lon­don to Holy­head were Rolling Stone Mick Jag­ger and his girl­friend Mar­i­anne Faith­full. Such were the crowds at Lon­don’s Eus­ton sta­tion that John Len­non’s wife, Cyn­thia, was mis­taken for a fan by a po­lice of­fi­cer and not al­lowed to board the train.

A jour­nal­ist on our sister pa­per the Daily Post, the late Ior­w­erth Roberts, got wind of The Bea­tles’ im­pend­ing ar­rival and called the Nor­mal Col­lege Bur­sar, Gwyn Thomas, to alert him of their ar­rival.

Mr Thomas was able to make some ar­range­ments to ac­com­mo­date the un­ex­pected guests in the Res­i­den­tial War­den flats, and to deal with the in­evitable jour­nal­ists and fans, who would come in their wake.

Speak­ing in 2002 when a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing the visit was un­veiled, Mr Thomas re­called some prob­lems with the Ma­har­ishi’s fol­low­ers.

“They had spent about a week med­i­tat­ing in the col­lege grounds. This had caused some fric­tion be­tween col­lege staff who were per­turbed to see them sit­ting naked among the bushes,” he said, while the Ma­har­ishi’s fol­low­ers com­plained the col­lege’s work­ers were dis­turb­ing them with their noisy lawn- mow­ers.

De­spite the lack of mo­bile phones and so­cial me­dia in 1967, news of The Bea­tles’ ar­rival quickly spread around Ban­gor and a large crowd gath- ered at the sta­tion. The crowd was so large, The Bea­tles at one stage con­sid­ered stay­ing on the train and con­tin­u­ing to the next sta­tion and con­tin­u­ing their jour­ney by car.

Nigel Roberts, writ­ing on Face­book, said he re­mem­bered his mum ask­ing him if he want to go to the sta­tion to see The Bea­tles.

“But I wasn’t in­ter­ested. You could hear the com­mo­tion from Hill Street,” he added.

Rail en­thu­si­ast Den­nis Hughes, 72, and now liv­ing in Ceredi­gion, said he was col­lect­ing loco num­bers at the east­ern end of Ban­gor sta­tion.

“Steam lo­cos were be­ing with­drawn and it was ex­cit­ing for me, as a 12-year-old boy, to see what would emerge from the tun­nel and into the plat­form.

“I didn’t know The Bea­tles were head­ing to Ban­gor un­til I saw peo­ple gather on the op­po­site plat­form.

“Just a few to start with, then more and more un­til the en­tire plat­form was full and then the other plat­form started fill­ing up.

“When the train fi­nally ar­rived, at about 7pm, you couldn’t move. From where I was, I couldn’t see the group but I saw the flash bulbs pop and the scream­ing girls were deaf­en­ing.

“Then, as quickly as they had ar­rived, the crowds dis­ap­peared,” he said. De­spite the crowds, The Bea­tles even­tu­ally got to the Col­lege, where they were met by even more fans who had stripped col­lege gar­dens of flow­ers to make gar­lands for their he­roes.

The fol­low­ing day, The Bea­tles and their friends at­tended a sem­i­nar led by the Ma­har­ishi Ma­hesh Yogi, un­aware their week­end would be cut short by

Paul, John, Ringo and George came to Ban­gor in 1967 to at­tend a med­i­ta­tion con­fer­ence with Ma­har­ishi Ma­hesh Yogi, in­set, be­low

Paul McCart­ney, in­set, left, leav­ing Lon­don Eus­ton en route to Ban­gor

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