The 2022 UK Brian May Red Special enthusiast meet-up was again held at Theale Village Hall, Reading, Berkshire. The meet-up has been organised since 2017 by Jon Underhill, host of the Red Special Guitar podcast. Jon has been instrumental in growing the scope and attendance and ensuring the success and sustainability of this niche event. To organise and execute an event with 50-60 attendees and tens of thousands of pounds worth of guitars, amplifiers and other musical equipment in a small village hall requires support. In 2022 and 2021, this has been provided by Jonathan Planner, Steve McCulla, Matt Netherwood and Luke Timmins.
My YouTube video below is a four minute highlights package of the day set to the Queen track “Friends Will Be Friends”. This became the event motto and featured on custom made souvenir coins because the Brian May Red Special enthusiast community is so friendly it feels like an extended family. It is not possible to feature everybody and all segments of the day in a such a brief video. I have omitted the band section which sounded tight and professional this year only because my amateur recording equipment struggles to cope with the high volume. The undoubted star of the show was Paul Cottrill’s 8 year old son Josh who wowed us all with his percussion accompaniment to many of the band tracks and is developing into a talented musician at a young age.
This year, we were fortunate to have Arielle, Andrew Guyton, Nigel Knight, Simon Bradley and Pete Malandrone giving up their time to chat, mingle, donate items to the charity raffle and sign memorabilia. People travelled from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Japan, The Republic of Ireland and various regions of the U.K. including Scotland and Wales. It was great to meet old and new friends in person and I thank you all! We were treated to a demonstration of AmpliTube Brian May presets by Thomas Brunkard, chats with Simon Bradley, co-author of the Red Special book and Pete Malandrone. Luke Timmins demonstrated his Brian May stage rig played through his own three Vox AC30 amplifiers modified by Nigel Knight of KAT and my three KAT Studio-One amplifiers.
155 tickets were sold for the charity raffle at £10 each which raised £1,550 for the Save Me Trust. I took many photographs on the day to try to represent all the people, equipment and activities so please check out the selection I have included with this article.
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