"Sweets For My Swedes" The Searchers in Sweden 1964-1967
by Björn Eriksson   and   Peter McCormack
Part 5: The Searchers Live At Långshyttan
"Sweets For My Swedes" The Searchers Live At Långshyttan - Summer 1964
Part 5: The Searchers at Långshyttan - Summer 1964
In the late summer of 1964 The Searchers played in a place called Långshyttan, located in Dalarna, Sweden. Although the picture of the group at this venue may appear to be that of a concert hall, it is an outside venue. A more revealing photo is shown below of the stage at Långshyttan in the early 1950s. In the 1960s, just as it is today, many Swedish artists and groups would become part of a "Folkparks-turne", closely translated as the "Peoples Parks Tour." These tours were very popular and could mean more than 100 shows over the summer period for a popular artist. These venues also provided lesser known groups with exposure of rather large audiences.
"Folkets Park" Långshyttan 1950
Part 5: Folkets Park Concerts
The history of the "Folkets Park" or "People's Park" is most interesting. Their origin harkens back to the turn of the 19th Century when more powerful land-owners refused to let workers' unions and political groups meet to organize themselves and to discuss important social issues. Established in 1905 the National Federation of Peoples' Parks would soon be joined by a Community Center program in 1932. The idea was quickly embraced by the Swedish people and has grown today to approximately 150 parks and nearly 700 community centers with 50 million annual visitors.
In many respects, "Peoples Park" is a social movement akin to "Radio Nord" and "Radio Syd", one that is devoted to the freedom of speech for groups who may hold views that deviate from mainstream policy. This progressive policy and openness to new ways of musical expression is another factor that allowed The Searchers considerable exposure and acceptance during the visits to Sweden in the mid-1960s.
"Chris Curtis at Långshyttan"
Part 5: Folkets Park Travel And John Blunt
Frank Allen has provided these comments with regard to travel to the Folkets Parks after Chris Curtis had departed and John Blunt had taken over on drums.
"I remember that we used to travel in an American station-wagon and our driver was a very old Swedish guy who looked like Groucho Marx. A very nice person, although we used to wind him up alot, which for the most part he was okay with. When John Blunt laughly called him 'you old B', he slammed on the brakes and said 'You can say F... yes, but B......, no!' But in general we got on very well and liked him alot. Our current release was 'Have You Ever Loved Somebody' and he insisted that we plugged it so well on stage that it was bound to be a big hit. He has, sadly, long since passed away.
At other times we were looked after by a guy called Bo (Norling, perhaps). He worked for Thomas Johaannson who was the promoter. Later on he was very much involved with looking after ABBA through the big times.
I remember the parks being very cold at times. We used to play two most nights. On one I remember that we shared the bill with Blood Sweat and Tears. they were finishing their set as we arrived in the car from our early show so I never heard much of them."