About Caravan

Long time ago (the 60's), there lived a bunch of creative spirits. They lived in Canterbury, called themselves The Wilde Flowers and occupied themselves with rhythm & blues, mixed with jazz and British folk-influences. When The Wilde Flowers split up in 1966, nobody could have anticipated that this collective would later on enter the history books as the foundation of the Canterbury scene, one of the most influential and artistic musical trends coming out of England during the Sixties.

As unexpected as it was, it happened all the same: one half of the band ( singer Kevin Ayers and drummer/singer Robert Wyatt ) left the group to start Soft Machine. The remaining members, consisting of guitarists Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair, keyboardist David Sinclair and drummer Richard Coughlan regrouped in 1968 under the moniker of CARAVAN. Following in the footsteps of Soft Machine, the band got involved in London's underground scene, although initially Caravan had to be content with a spot in the shadow of its "big brother". Nevertheless, in the late 60's, early 70's, the band managed to establish itself as one of the most original and innovative acts doing the rounds in the national club-circuit. Jazz and folk were still an important ingredient, solid rock and a good dose of psychedelia completed the finished product.

The eponymous debut album (1968) and its follow up "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" (1970) gave CARAVAN a decent cult-status, with the inherent loyal cult-following. In 1970 the band played at the Holland Pop Festival in Kralingen, a year later they released "In The Land Of Grey And Pink", which really put CARAVAN on the map, not just in England, but also on the Continent.

When in 1975 they tried to break through in the American market, they already had a few troublesome line-up changes behind them. A solid American tour (50 gigs) resulted in a lot of positive attention, the album "Cunning Stunts" even ended up at no. 124 in the American charts. Unfortunately this last effort at trying to become famous all over the world came a little too late: punk and disco were on the horizon and the experimental Caravan-sound wasn't 'hot' enough for the late Seventies. So in the early Eighties Caravan decided to call it a day.

After some incidental activities during the remainder of the 80's, the name Caravan got resurrected in 1990. A 'one-off' reunion of Pye Hastings, David and Richard Sinclair and Richard Coughlan resulted in a renewed interest in the band and since then the band has been active again in all kinds of line-ups, of which Pye Hastings is the constant factor. In the mid 90's Richard Sinclair departed once again, his cousin David left in 2002. Fortunately Hastings and Coughlan still pour all their enthusiasm in the band, which incredibly has already lasted 15 years since the band was reincarnated. And to the progrockers who will be attending the Arrow Rock festival one thing's for sure: Caravan will give it their all.

In December 2013, fans across the world lost the bandís founding drummer and percussionist Richard Coughlan, following his long illness. Richard will be sorely missed. His legacy with Caravan and The Wilde Flowers will live on forever.

Click here for the excellent Caravan biography by Ralph Cross.

Caravan nowadays are:

Left to right: Jim Leverton (bass, vocals), Jan Schelhaas (keyboards), Mark Walker (drums, percussion),
Geoff Richardson (viola, guitar, flute, vocals, mandolin, spoons), Pye Hastings (vocals, guitars)