Sounds of the City
With local residents like Bob Geldof and venues that hosted some of the greatest names in music, it’s no wonder that the Canterbury area has helped place Kent firmly on the music map.
In the late 60s and early 70s. Canterbury was a hub for emerging local musicians in what came to be known as the Canterbury Scene, or the Canterbury Sound. Whilst many may argue that there wasn’t one particular style of music that could be described as the Canterbury Sound, there is general consensus that the core of the music was a fusion of the progressive rock and jazz, with touches of psychedelia and folk.
The term ‘avant-garde music’ was used to denote the originality of the sound that was seen to be somewhat ahead of its time. Bands such as Caravan and Soft Machine were at the heart of the Canterbury Scene and went on to achieve national and international success. Other musicians and bands associated with the Canterbury Scene include Mike Oldfield, Barbara Gaskin, Gong, National Health, and Spirogyra with their album St Radigunds, name after the area of Canterbury which was considered the main home of the Canterbury Scene.
Several musicians who started out then, are still performing today. Martin Davenport, spokesman for Caravan, says “The band played their very first gig at the Beehive club in Canterbury in the late 60s. More than 40 years later they are still going strong with an affectionate fan base from all over the world. The music that Caravan creates is, however, always associated with Canterbury, in the same way as cities such as Manchester and Liverpool have their own sound.”
Despite international success, Caravan have not forgotten their Canterbury roots, and continue to be involved with local projects. This March they took part in Canterbury Christ Church University’s music weekend, performing and running workshops and masterclasses as part of the University’s Battle of the Bands.