The Gathering is a celebration of the music of Mike Peters and The Alarm held each year in North Wales very close to Mike Peters birthplace of Prestatyn in North Wales.
This was the 17th year of a event in my opinion not many in music can match,for two nights (for some a few more depending where you have travelled from). Llandudno is taken over by fans of Mikes coming from all over the world with both Europe and the USA heavily represented as the fans take over the hotels and guest houses each year bringing in much needed revenue for the area and creating a atmosphere that's as unique as the weekend/event itself!!!!
17 years ago I was at the first ever Gathering at Rhyl Town Hall a event put together by Mike and his wife Jules there were probably a 300 or so there on that weekend but I don't think anyone could see this fantastic weekend growing into what it has when over 16/1800 fans invade Wales every January!!!
The main aspect is always the music but the event has helped form friendships and to many who go from all over the world its a must be at event and one thats put straight onto your calendar as the last one ends!!
Friday night is acoustic set by Mike Peters in the North Wales Conference Centre and even given Mikes recent health problems (2 fights against Cancer in recent years and bad health over this past Christmas) he's in great form as with a stage in the middle of the fans he starts off a set of songs from both his solo career and Alarm classics spanning the last 20 plus years with all the fans in full voice to back him up at every chance!
A two hour plus set shows Mike at his best in this acoustic format and is a great star to the Gathering weekend! Saturday starts with the yearly Alarm quiz/Mastermind competition at lunchtime,something that's a bit of fun and leads nicely into a 50 minute (50 mins to mark Mikes 50th birthday in 09) Question and Answer session with Mike himself taking questions from the floor packed with fans who's questions cover the whole of Mikes career.That's followed by Mike signing autographs and photos being taken and cheque presentations for the Cancer charity Mike fronts called LOVE HOPE AND STRENGTH something which given Mikes circumstances over the past few years is something very close to his heart! As we are now into Saturday afternoon everyone's getting ready for the Saturday night electric gig when Mike joins fellow Alarm members James Stevenson,Craig Adams and Steve Grantley but first its a few drinks which is also a big part of the weekend as the fans mix together and this has become a big part of what makes the Gathering such a special event each year!!
More than a few drinks later and well into the early hours as the after show party ends its another end to another Gathering in North Wales and the first thing we will all be doing next when we can is to be booking for Gathering 18 which for next year moves to Pontins Holiday Village in Prestatyn North Wales for the first time at a venue which 20 years ago the band played a charity gig in aid of the Towyn floods and is the home town of Mike Peters and the MPO(Mike Peters Organisation), on the 29/30/31 January 2010 Gathering 18 will be the place to be with 2 main gigs,a host of special events planned over the three days and if you are interested you can book a weekend ticket that includes 2 night stay,free parking,your entry into all the gigs and be a part of a truly unique event for just £99 each!! Great value for such an amazing weekend!!!
GROUP SHOT BY JEFF RUSHTON
Hope to see some new faces at Gathering 18 as I know all those that go every year will be there once again in North Wales to celebrate the music of Mike Peters and The Alarm!!
Tickets for next years Gathering are available from MPO -Tel. 01745 571 571 or from www.thealarm.com
Gig reviewed by Mick Thompson for Mudkiss© 2009
Photos by Mick Thompson & group shot by Jeff Rushton