KEYBOARD legend Rick Wakeman will be appearing at a historic Lancaster venue this autumn.

The prog rocker has announced two unique candlelit concerts in Lancaster's historic Priory, where he will be accompanied by the Lancaster Priory Choir and supported by guitarist Gordon Giltrap.

Wakeman is best known for being the former keyboardist in the progressive rock band YES and his solo albums from the 1970s.

More recently he has become known for his contributions to the BBC comedy series Grumpy Old Men, his radio shows and appearances on Countdown and Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

The concerts will form part of the award-winning Lancaster Music Festival and will take place on the weekend of October 16 and 17.

Performing on grand piano and the Priory organ, Rick will play pieces from throughout his long and illustrious career, from his early recordings with Cat Stevens and David Bowie to his best-selling solo albums, including Jane Seymour from Six Wives of Henry VIII on the recently-renovated organ.

Liberally sprinkled throughout will be humorous anecdotes from his eventful life and career.

Speaking about the concert, Rick said: “I do love concerts that are different and having the opportunity to perform at the Priory with such a wonderful choir and a great big organ, just puts a huge smile on my face. It will be a unique concert in so many ways as it is extremely unlikely ever to be repeated again anywhere else.”

Staging the event has not been without its problems, not least because of the layout of the Priory and the number of seats with views that are restricted or obscured by pillars.

Organiser Stuart Marshall said: “Obviously beautiful medieval churches such as the Priory were not built with concerts in mind but we’re hoping to turn this problem into a positive outcome by using the concerts as a way of highlighting the difficulties experienced by the blind and partially-sighted within our community.

“We will be donating a proportion of ticket sales to provide subsidised tickets to regional charity Galloway’s Society for the Blind.”

The Vicar of Lancaster, the Reverend Chris Newlands, said: “Lancaster Priory has witnessed many events in its long history, but this will be a first.

“Choirs, orchestras and classical ensembles are regular guests, but never before have we welcomed a progressive rock star!”

Tickets can be purchased via


All photographs above by Lee Wilkinson: