Music journalist Greg Parmley has set a new Guinness World Record for visiting 26 live music festivals across Europe in 30 days by riding a BMW R1200R. Starting at the famous Glastonbury festival in the UK on June 24, Greg traveled 5,500 miles (8,800 km) through 13 European countries and saw over 150 bands playing live, including Queens of the Stone Age, Elbow and Slash, before returning to London 30 days later, right on schedule.
Traveling up to 400 miles (650 km) a day, Greg rode an R1200R provided by BMW Motorrad UK, through Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland on his European adventure. Speaking after successfully completing his World Record attempt, Parmley said, “Right from the off, I knew this trip would be a lot about timing. It was a bit like a house of cards – if I missed a festival for any reason, the whole record attempt was in danger of collapsing.”
Greg approached BMW Motorrad UK, who backed his unique challenge and arranged both the bike and a selection of apparel and accessories suitable for the varied weather conditions Greg expected to experience on his trip. While BMW Motorrad was the first to get excited about the record attempt, Greg soon had thousands of music and motorcycle fans following his trip by blogging for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, and through his Ride to Live Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RidetoLive2011).
From Glastonbury, Greg journeyed to three Belgian festivals, including the country’s largest event ‘Rock Werchter’. This was followed by three more in Germany, including the nation’s biggest reggae gathering. The Czech Republic was next, followed by a 500-mile detour into Poland to see French star Manu Chao, and then onto Slovakia.
“I had a slight problem in Slovakia, in that I took everything I wasn’t wearing to a launderette to be washed, but then completely forgot about my clothes and went to Hungary. Fortunately, underwear isn’t so pricey there!”
From Hungary, Serbia’s renowned ‘Exit Festival’ was next, then festivals in Slovenia and Croatia before an overnight ferry to Italy for some jazz. Next up was a ride through the Alps to Switzerland for a mad dash around five events in just five days. Greg finished back in London four days later at the ‘High Voltage’ festival, celebrating by watching former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash performing.
“There was a lot of motorway riding involved, so I was glad to have a bike that could handle long, fast stretches of road. The R1200R was just ridiculously capable. Everything from navigating muddy festival sites, to the tight mountain hairpins and bends of the Alps, with countless miles of thankfully comfortable autoroute cruising — it did the lot. Among the riding highlights were the alpine roads between Italy and Switzerland, which demanded total concentration, and the tiny back roads between the Czech Republic and Poland through the wilderness, while searching for a river crossing that was still operating in the storms.”
Since returning to London, and with a Guinness World Record certificate on its way, Greg has been editing a film of his trip. “I know I’ve crammed a few years of festival-going into a short space of time, but it hasn’t dampened my love of music in the slightest. The whole trip was a phenomenal adventure from start to finish, and the support from BMW Motorrad was simply outstanding. The big question now is how to follow it up next summer!”