Review: Legendary Harrogate band reunion at Reach Out

Reunion - Legendary Harrogate band Purple Mushrooms are back! John Harrison and Tom Syson share the stage at the Blues Bar with a very young fan! (Picture by Rainbow Rice Photography)

With their hippy flares and free-flowing cosmic vibes, 20 years ago cult Harrogate band Purple Mushrooms were regarded as way behind their times.

Since then, the popularity of freak-folk, alt-acoustic and psychedelic music has revealed mssrs John Harrison (vocals/acoustic guitar), Tom Syson (lead guitar) and co to have actually been ahead of their time, as well as being a great, if occasionally wayward, rock band.
The weekend crowds at a packed Blues Bar saw Harrison and Syson playing together again for only the second time in 15 years and, boy, were they good!
The reunion was part of the highly popular Reach Out festival for mental awareness and suicide issues organised by Harrogate musician Richard Blackburn.
Running from mid-day until 7pm at the Blues bar, then 8pm to midnight at The Empress on the Stray, the day saw old faces, new faces and young faces all coming together to enjoy great local bands and raise funds and awareness for three great charities - Wellspring, a counselling and training centre in Starbeck offering psychological support to people in distress, as well as Papyrus, the UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide,
As well as the reunion of the Purple Mushrooms (always a favourite band of mine), scores of other talented local bands and musicians also donated their services to Reach Out festival, too many to mention.
Among them were: Hell Fire Jack, Omega Era, Lobo Lex, Dan Mizen, Richard Blackburn, Nathan Tooke, Andy Aitchison, Aaron Bertenshaw, Mike Gowland, Chris Millstar, Jamie Bramhall, Chris Cooper and Ryan Jones.
Helping out with the sound was Rik Lawson while Adam Westerman marshalled the line-up at the Blues Bar.

Harrogate's Reach Out festival organiser Richard Blackburn on stage at the Blues Bar. (Picture by Rainbow Rice Photography)

Reach Out festival - Chris Cooper and Mike Gowland on stage at The Empress on the Stray in Harrogate. (Picture by Rainbow Rice Photography)

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