Nearfest revisited - June 10
Steve shakes hands with Asa Packer, the Founder of Lehigh University
The old steelworks
Our North American tour kicked off on Friday 18th June on a gorgeous Mr Blue Sky day in front of a sell out crowd at the Lehigh Zoeliner Arts Center in Bethlehem, PA. Having been successfully transplanted from its original home in Trenton, New Jersey, the evergreen Nearfest spirit remains top of the tree for its unwavering support of progressive workouts.
The whole town was alive with musicians and festival goers. It was heart warming to meet up with so many friends and well wishers, old and new. There were many great bands, including Gentle Giant and Riverside, as well as Larry Fast of keyboard fame, a festival organiser in previous years. The beautiful theatre was ideal for us and a rapturous reception was received by all the bands.
Bethlehem itself shows every casual visitor two contrasting faces. On the one hand you're immediately confronted by the ghost of steel mills past. We drove by a huge factory in all its abandoned post-industrial glory, suitable for a potential film set where the final battle ensues between hero and villain. The other face is one of proud academic achievement. Lehigh Campus is second to none architecturally. Its atmosphere is New England at its finest. Whilst taking a morning walk through the leafy grounds between hallowed halls I imagined hearing the Dr Kildare theme pealing like an angelus from the lofty spires. A perfect backdrop to the Ivy League gothic stonework, in a nutshell Bethlehem is both a place of broken dreams for some yet the dawning of a new era for others. I urge you to visit this town, a hidden jewel in a watch that seems to have stopped in time...
Nick & Rob backstage before the show!
Steve and band signing after Nearfest show