Guitar expert and ex-band member to gather at 'world's first' academic Queen conference in Preston tomorrow

In what is thought to be a world first, academics will gather for a virtual conference to explore the rock band phenomenon and all are welcome.

By Jessica Hubbard
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 11:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 1:21 pm
Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury. Photo: Getty Images.
Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury. Photo: Getty Images.

The conference will take place tomorrow (Thursday May 27) and will be hosted by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Academics will gather online to study the rock legends and the innovative event has backing from Arts Council England.

Special guests will attend to share unique insights into the band and present a selection of academic papers.

The conference will take place on May 27 and will feature academic papers and special guests who will delve deeper into the rock band phenomenon.

One prominent guest is Tim Staffell, the 'Smile' lead vocalist and bassist who, alongside Brian May and Roger Taylor, provided the basis from which Queen evolved.

Staffell's departure from Smile to join band 'Humpy Bong' featured in 2018 Queen biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. It is believed that this departure paved the way for Freddie Mercury, and later John Deacon, to come together as Queen.

Co-organsier Tony Rigg a music industry consultant, said: “Clearly Queen have had a long and remarkable career.

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"The band is arguably more popular now than ever before, so we’ll be discussing how this legacy was created and how others could possibly follow in their footsteps.

"These topics and many more will be debated in what we think is the world's first academic conference dedicated to the study of Queen."

Mr Rigg, who helped to establish UCLan’s Master of Arts programme in music industry management, said that all are welcome at the virtual conference.

“Although it’s billed as an academic conference, anyone with an interest in Queen is welcome to watch," he said.

"There is much to explore and while we can only really scratch the surface, I’m confident we will uncover some valuable insights.”

Other speakers include guitar expert Phil Hilborne who, amongst other Queen-related activities, was one of the guitarists from Queen musical 'We Will Rock You'.

Additional insight will be provided by Simon Bradley, who collaborated with Brian May to write a book dedicated to the instrument known as the Red Special; a guitar that Brian May built with his father which became a key element of Queen's distinctive sound.

The two part conference will see academic papers presented in the first half followed by interviews with special guests.

The conference will be available to watch live on YouTube, giving audience members a chance to ask questions through the comments section.

Virtual attendees can join via these YouTube links for the first and second halves from 1 - 5 pm tomorrow (May 27).

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