Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nearfest Apocalypse Announced

The final edition of the most successful/reknowned progressive rock festival in the North East United States.

I'll hopefully add a bit more later, but just on the surface, Renaissance would be great to see again, but given I saw them last year, it doesn't seem as significant. Mike Keneally played with Kevin Gilbert, but his own music I can't say has ever been my thing. Although I'll admit to not spent dozens of hours listening to it. I did enjoy the 1 Dethklok show I went to however. And the other names are kind of meh, and predictable.

It's also taking place the same weekend of the back-2-back Marillion shows in Chicago.

more to add hopefully (maybe historically)

from the official site

NEARfest Apocalypse Lineup Announced
For Immediate Release
October 29, 2011

In order to commemorate the final NEARfest in 2012, we have worked hard to bring together the best possible lineup for the progressive rock community. Featuring outstanding newer bands and legendary artists from across diverse progressive music subgenres, we hope that we can provide a wonderful weekend of musical memories to last a lifetime. We hope you can join us at the Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania next June, for the NEARfest Apocalypse!

The NEARfest Apocalypse Lineup:
Friday June 22, 2012
Aranis (Belgium)
Van der Graaf Generator (UK)

Saturday June 23, 2012
Helmet of Gnats (USA)
Twelfth Night (UK)
Änglagård (Sweden)
Renaissance (UK/USA)

Sunday June 24, 2012
Gösta Berlings Saga (Sweden)
Il Tempio delle Clessidre (Italy)
Mike Keneally Band (USA)
Eloy (Germany)

Aranis is a world-class acoustic chamber rock ensemble led by upright bassist and composer Joris Vanvickenroye. Featuring interlocked bass, violin, flute, accordion, and piano lines, Aranis’ evocative music stirs the mind and spirit alike. They have toured extensively throughout Europe, including notable appearances at the renowned Gouveia Art Rock and RIO Festivals. Their latest album Roqueforte (AltRock) expands their musical palette through the addition of drummer extraordinaire Dave Kerman, who will be joining Aranis for their NEARfest set. NEARfest will represent the USA debut for Aranis.

Van der Graaf Generator has been an iconic musical and lyrical force since its inception in the late 1960s. Since their reunion in 2005 and reconstitution as a trio soon thereafter, Peter Hammill, Guy Evans, and Hugh Banton have produced vital, engaging, and visceral new music that has magnified the band’s influential oeuvre. They have toured worldwide for the past six years, including their first USA appearance in 33 years, at NEARfest in 2009. On the strength of their stunning new release A Grounding in Numbers, Van der Graaf Generator will once again storm North America with a vengeance. We are deeply honored that Van der Graaf Generator will be returning to the Zoellner stage as the headline act for the first day of the final NEARfest event.

Helmet of Gnats is without question one of the United States’ finest progressive fusion groups. This ensemble from Connecticut has been active for well over a decade, honing their craft by recording three albums with audiophile production standards and playing numerous prog festival gigs. Helmet of Gnats ply diverse influences from Happy the Man and Bruford to Jeff Beck and ELP into a refreshing, melodic, yet challenging instrumental stew. They will certainly kick the second day of the NEARfest Apocalypse off to a rousing start.

Twelfth Night was a vanguard of the British ‘neo-prog’ scene in the early 1980s. Mixing rock, classical, and punk vibes with dramatic vocals and incisive lyrics, Twelfth Night attracted a significant following in the UK and beyond. Twelfth Night has always been renowned for its engaging multi-media stage show, focused at first on the enigmatic vocalist Geoff Mann, and now the equally powerful Andy Sears. The band has seen a rebirth in the new millennium and has toured throughout the British Isles and European continent to wide acclaim. Twelfth Night will be making their USA debut at NEARfest.

Änglagård is perhaps the seminal band hailing from the progressive rock revival in the 1990s. Combining influences from romantic and modern classical, 1970s symphonic rock, and Scandinavian folk music with prodigious compositional skill and emotional depth, Änglagård produced Hybris and Epilog, two epic albums considered essential to any progressive music collection. They are currently writing and recording an eagerly awaited third opus. They were the first band confirmed for the NEARfest Apocalypse, as plans took shape back in the spring. Änglagård will be commemorating the final NEARfest with a unique set list including a performance of its classic Hybris album in its entirety.

Renaissance is a legendary and beloved ensemble in the progressive symphonic rock world and beyond, led by acoustic guitarist and composer Michael Dunford and the inimitable, expressive soprano vocalist Annie Haslam. Renaissance has won legions of fans through the generations by seamlessly fusing classical, folk, and rock textures with memorable melodies and lyrics in timeless songs such as “Mother Russia” and “Ashes are Burning”. Recently returned to active duty after a long hiatus, Renaissance has toured East Coast venues and has been actively writing and recording new music. We are most honored to bring Renaissance to the NEARfest stage for a well-deserved and long-awaited headline performance.

Gösta Berlings Saga is a quartet from Sweden who produce a hypnotic instrumental amalgam of post-rock, folk, progressive rock, minimalism, avant-rock, found sound and more, all recorded and combined with unusual and interesting studio techniques. Named after one of the most notable Swedish books of all time, Gösta Berlings Saga are gaining notoriety world-wide, as evidenced by many European concert invitations and their recent signing to the Cuneiform label. Gösta Berlings Saga’s concert to open the third day of the NEARfest Apocalypse will be sure to win them more new fans and even wider notoriety within the progressive music scene.

Il Tempio delle Clessidre is the perfect marriage of the newer and older Italian progressive rock scenes. Led by multi-keyboardist and composer Elisa Montaldo, all of the instrumentalists in Il Tempio delle Clessidre belong to the younger generation. Up front on lead vocals is Stefano ‘Lupo’ Galifi, formerly the lead singer of the legendary Italian progressive outfit Museo Rosenbach. Il Tempio’s self-titled debut is a magnum opus of stirring compositions and virtuoso playing anchored by Galifi’s strident yet sensitive baritone voice. We are very pleased that Il Tempio delle Clessidre will be making their American debut at the NEARfest Apocalypse.

Mike Keneally is an influential American guitarist, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who initially began his professional career in earnest with the Frank Zappa band in the late 1980s. Since that time he has produced many albums of intelligent, diverse, eclectic, and engaging music, tilting from the sublime to the ridiculous and back and everywhere in between. Recently Mike has been manning the keyboards for Joe Satriani, and has been part of the touring Dethklok band borne out of the popular Metalocalypse cartoon series. Anyone in attendance will never forget the Mike Keneally Band’s first performance at NEARfest 2004, or Mike’s encore turn as a human jukebox with note-perfect encyclopedic prog knowledge at that year’s after-party. We are delighted to bring the Mike Keneally Band back East to participate in the festivities of the NEARfest Apocalypse.

Eloy is without question Germany’s most famous progressive rock band, with career-spanning sales well over two million units and a long history dating back to the early 1970s including 17 studio albums. Eloy is beloved to several generations of progressive rock fans via their signature spacey symphonic sound anchored in layers of multi-keyboard virtuosity, pulsating bass lines, and soaring guitar solos, melded with distinctive vocals and cosmic, emotionally resonant lyrics. After a decade-long hiatus, Eloy has made a grand return to active duty with new recordings and splendid European concerts. We are extremely honored that Eloy will be making its very long-awaited American concert debut as the final act in the history of NEARfest.

Please visit the official NEARfest website at for ticket, advertisting, and vending information. The NEARfest Patron Program will begin on Saturday November 12, 2011.

Chad Hutchinson, Co-Founder, Director of Operations
Rob LaDuca, Co-Founder, Business Manager
Kevin Feeley, Production Manager