This year is not only the 50th anniversary of The Beatles Album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘ but also the 50th anniversary of The Beatles visit to Bangor.
The ‘Fab Four’ arrived in Bangor on the 25th August 1967, to attend a 10 day conference on transcendental meditation, which was led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the Coleg Normal (now part of Bangor University).
The Beatles had met the Maharishi the pervious day in London, and decided to come to Bangor unbeknown to the conference organisers, also part of the entourage travelling with The Beatles to North Wales was Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful; such was the commotion boarding the train in London, John’s Lennon’s wife Cynthia, was mistaken for a fan by a police officer at Euston station, and not allowed to board the train, she later travelled to North Wales by Taxi.
News of The Beatles pending arrival had already reached Bangor, and due to the huge crowd that had gathered at Bangor station, they considered staying on the train and travelling onto Anglesey.
Despite the screaming crowds and a welcoming committee including the world’s press, the band eventually made it to the university, where they were welcomed by even more young fans who had stripped college gardens of flowers to give to their heroes.
On The Beatles first full day in Bangor they attended a seminar by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with 300 other delegates. Following the seminar a press conference was held, during which The Beatles renounced the use of drugs.
On 27th August 1967, The Beatles visit to Bangor was dramatically cut short, when they woke to the tragic news that their manager Brian Epstein had died, aged just 32, the band left Bangor later the same day.
Doris Tidewell remembers it well, she said: “Gosh is it 50 years! I was on that train travelling home to Caernarfon, got a kiss on the cheek from Paul also his autograph!( unfortunately I ‘lost it’ through the years) I remember Marianne Faithful sitting with Maharishi in one of the carriages .will never forget that journey, at the time I remember thinking I’m never going to wash my cheek again!”
Dave Jones from Bangor went to the conference, he said: “I paid a weeks wages, £3.17.6 which the Mareshi insisted everyone did, making us all equal, on the Saturday I could only stand at the back and listen, because of the crowd of hangers on, then on the Sunday after a long chat with John, I got further forward, I later was sent for rice for dinner, as I knew the peninsula restaurant was open, I went in their Rolls, much to the annoyance of all those photographers who pressed their cameras against the car window, however when I came back John told me that Brian Epstein had died and they were all leaving, the rice unfortunately was never eaten and for me my planned peaceful weekend learning about transcendental meditation, ended in absolute disaster, I never got to speak with “sexy Sadie ” the Mareshi,but what a weekend.”