BEATLES IN BANGOR
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