The Severn Valley Railway Wizard Express takes place on 1st, 15th and 22nd August 2018. Passengers will be required to collect their wax-sealed invitation to Wizard School at Kidderminster, Before leaving from Platform 92/4 and embarking on a journey along the Severn valley Railway towards the Engine House at Highley. On arrival at Highley, you will be greeted by a figure of GIANT proportions who will escort you to The Engine House, where the Wizard School’s finest Scholars will be ready to meet you.

once At the Wizards school Passengers will be given mystical lessons of wizardry From magical characters. And will be taught the masterclasses of trickery; including Broomstick Training, Wand Making and Greenhouse Herbology and successful students will be awarded  graduation certificate upon completion of the lessons. Other spellbinding activities include Magicians who will amaze you with unbelievable acts of prestidigitation right before your eyes.

Chuck D (Public Enemy)

American rapper, author, and producer. Chuck D, (Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) was born August 1, 1960. He got his big break after producer/music-mogul Rick Rubin heard Ridenhour’s demo track “Public Enemy Number One”, and signed him to his Def Jam Record label. The Hip hop/Rap group Public Enemy consisted of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Khari Wynn, DJ Lord, and the S1W group and were Formed on Long Island, New York, in 1986. As a member of the rap group Public Enemy, he helped create politically and socially conscious hip hop music in the mid-1980s and they became known for their politically charged music and criticism of the American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community.

Among the best Public Enemy albums are Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Fear of a Black Planet (1990), Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991), Greatest Misses (1992), and Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994). They also released a full-length album soundtrack for the film He Got Game in 1998. Ridenhour also contributed (as Chuck D) to several episodes of the PBS documentary series The Blues. He has appeared as a featured artist on many other songs and albums, having collaborated with artists such as Janet Jackson, Kool Moe Dee, The Dope Poet Society, Run–D.M.C., Ice Cube, Boom Boom Satellites, Rage Against the Machine, Anthrax, John Mellencamp and many others. In 1990, he appeared on “Kool Thing”, a song by the alternative rock band Sonic Youth, and along with Flavor Flav, he sang on George Clinton’s song “Tweakin’”, which appears on his 1989 album The Cinderella Theory. In 1993, he executive produced Got ‘Em Running Scared, an album by Ichiban Records group Chief Groovy Loo and the Chosen Tribe. Public Enemy’s first four albums during the late 1980s and early 1990s were all certified either gold or platinum.

In 1996, Ridenhour released Autobiography of Mistachuck on Mercury Records. Chuck D made a rare appearance at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, presenting the Video Vanguard Award to the Beastie Boys, whilst commending their musicianship. In November 1998, he settled out of court with Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace’s estate over the latter’s sampling of his voice in the song “Ten Crack Commandments”. The specific sampling is Ridenhour counting off the numbers one to nine on the track “Shut ‘Em Down”. He later described the decision to sue as “stupid.”

In September 1999, he launched a multi-format “supersite” on the web site Rapstation.com. A home for the vast global hip hop community, the site boasts a TV and radio station with original programming, many of hip hop’s most prominent DJs, celebrity interviews, free MP3 downloads (the first was contributed by multi-platinum rapper Coolio), downloadable ringtones by ToneThis, social commentary, current events, and regular features on turning rap careers into a viable living. Since 2000, he has been one of the most vocal supporters of peer-to-peer file sharing in the music industry.

He loaned his voice to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as DJ Forth Right MC for the radio station Playback FM. In 2000, he collaborated with Public Enemy’s Gary G-Whiz and MC Lyte on the theme music to the television show Dark Angel. He appeared with Henry Rollins in a cover of Black Flag’s “Rise Above” for the album Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three. He was also featured on Z-Trip’s album Shifting Gears on a track called “Shock and Awe”; a 12-inch of the track was released featuring artwork by Shepard Fairey. In 2008 he contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, and also turned up on The Go! Team’s album Proof of Youth on the track “Flashlight Fight.” He also fulfilled his childhood dreams of being a sports announcer by performing the play-by-play commentary in the video game NBA Ballers: Chosen One on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

In 2009, Ridenhour wrote the foreword to the book The Love Ethic: The Reason Why You Can’t Find and Keep Beautiful Black Love by Kamau and Akilah Butler. He also appeared on Brother Ali’s album, Us. In 2011, Chuck D re-recorded vocals with The Dillinger Escape Plan for a cover of “Fight the Power” and duetted with Rock singer Meat Loaf on his 2011 album Hell in a Handbasket on the song “Mad Mad World/The Good God Is a Woman and She Don’t Like Ugly”. In 2016 Chuck D joined the band Prophets of Rage along with B-Real and former members of Rage Against the Machine.

Public Enemy have been described as the most influential and radical band of their time and In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Public Enemy number 44 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, the highest ranking for a hip hop act The group was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007. The band were announced as inductees for the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on December 11, 2012, making them the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted. About.com ranked Chuck D at No. 9 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time, while The Source ranked him at No. 12 on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Lyricists of All Time.

Joe Eliot (Def Leppard)

Joe Elliot, the lead singer with English rock band Def Leppard, Was born on August 1st, 1959. Def Leppard were formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. The band’s strongest commercial success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry was produced byRobert John “Mutt” Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album’s stand out track “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” became one of the first metal videos played on MTV in 1982. The band’s next studio album Pyromania in 1983, with the singles “Photograph” and Rock of Ages, turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2004, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Def Leppard’s fourth album Hysteria, released in 1987, topped the U.S and UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the United States, and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album spawned six hit singles, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100number one “Love Bites”, alongside Pour Some Sugar on Me , “Hysteria”,Armaggeddon It , “Animal” and Rocket“”.

Their next studio album Adrenalize (the first following the death of guitarist Steve Clark) reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992, and contained several hits including, “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”. Their 1993 album Retro Active contained the acoustic hit song “Two Steps Behind”, while their greatest hits album Vault released in 1995 featured the new track “When Love & Hate Collide”.

Since 1992, the band have consisted of Rick Savage (bass, backing vocals), Joe Elliott (lead vocals), Rick Allen (drums, backing vocals), Phil Collen (guitar, backing vocals), and Vivian Campbell (guitar, backing vocals). Therefore, this is the band’s longest-standing lineup. As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Def Leppard have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide,and have two albums with RIAAdiamond certification, Pyromania and Hysteria. They are one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling over 10 million copies in the U.S.The band were ranked No. 31 in VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”and ranked No. 70 in “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time”.Def Leppard are currently touring in support of their recently released live album, Mirrorball

Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)

The late great Jerry Garcia, Singer and guitarist with American rock band The Grateful Dead was Born 1st August 1942. The Grateful Dead were formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area and became known for their unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and long musical improvisation. “Their music, touches on ground that most other groups didn’t even know exists. These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world.” They were ranked 57th in the issue The Greatest Artists of all Time by Rolling Stone magazine. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.The founding members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums). Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead; he replaced Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass for a few gigs.

With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history. Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia were brought together by Gert Chiarito in 1964 to perform on The Midnight Special. The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a jug band called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, although The band changed its name after finding out that another band of the same name had signed a recording contract. The name “Grateful Dead” was chosen from a dictionary, The definition being that there was “the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial.”One of the group’s earliest major performances in 1967 was at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple. The Grateful Dead performed at the event along with the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, poet Allen Ginsberg, bands Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple. The band’s first LP, The Grateful Dead, was released in 1967. In 1970 they performed at The Warehouse in  New Orleans, Louisiana, for two nights.

Mickey Hart quit the Grateful Dead in February 1971, leaving Kreutzmann once again as the sole percussionist. However Hart later rejoined the Grateful Dead for good in October 1974. Tom “TC” Constanten was added as a second keyboardist from 1968 to 1970, while Pigpen also played various percussion instruments and sang. Following the Grateful Dead’s “Europe ’72″ tour, Pigpen’s health had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer tour with the band. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles and he died in March, 1973 of complications from alcohol abuse. The Grateful Dead formed their own record group, Grateful Dead Records & Later that year, they released their next studio album, the jazz influenced Wake of the Flood. It became their biggest commercial success thus far. During the late 1970s the band went back to the studio, and the next year released another album, Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel. Not long after that album’s release however, the Grateful Dead decided to take a hiatus from live touring so that its members could focus on their solo careers. This hiatus was short lived, though, as they resumed touring in 1976, and released another album Terrapin Station in 1977.

During the 1980s the bands sound transformed. Sadly though Garcia’s health began to decline. His drug habits caused him to lose his liveliness on stage. After kicking his drug habit in 1985, he slipped into a diabetic coma for several days in July 1986. After he recovered, the band released In the Dark in 1987, which resulted as their best selling studio album release, and also produced their only top-10 chart single, Touch of Grey. Inspired by Garcia’s improved health and a successful album, the band’s energy and chemistry peaked in the late 1980s and 1990. Performances were vigorous and as a result, every show exceeded its maximum audience capacity. Sadly The band’s “high time” came to a sudden halt when Mydland died after the summer tour in 1990. So Vince Welnick, joined on keyboards and vocals and Bruce Hornsby joined the band as the pianist and vocals on September 15, 1990.

Fans of the Grateful Dead, the “Deadheads” are known for their dedication and follow the band from concert to concert for years. From 2003 to 2009 former members of the Grateful Dead, along with other musicians, toured as The Dead and The Other Ones. There are many contemporary incarnations of the Dead, with the most prominent touring acts being Furthur and Phil Lesh & Friends and although Jerry Garcia passed away 9 August 1995, the music lives on and the Grateful Dead remain popular among “Deadheads”.

Herman Melville

Most famous for writing the seafaring novel Moby Dick, the American novelist, short story writer And Poet, Herman Melville was Born 1st August 1819, in New York City. He was the third child of a merchant in French dry-goods, with Revolutionary War heroes for grandfathers. Not long after the death of his father in 1832, his schooling stopped abruptly. After having been a schoolteacher for a short time, he signed up for a merchant voyage to Liverpool in 1839. A year and a half into his first whaling voyage, in 1842 he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, where he lived among the natives for a month. His first book, Typee (1846) became a huge bestseller which called for a sequel, Omoo (1847). The same year Melville married Elizabeth Knapp Shaw; their four children were all born between 1849 and 1855.

The bulk of his writings was published between 1846 and 1857 during the American Rennaissance Period and His first three books, including Typee and Moby Dick, gained much contemporary attention, with Typee, becoming a bestseller). Melville’s writing is characteristic for its allusivity. “In Melville’s manipulation of his reading,” scholar Stanley T. Williams wrote, “was a transforming power comparable to Shakespeare’s.” In August 1850, having moved to Pittsfield, he established a profound friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne, though the relationship lost intensity after the latter moved away. Moby-Dick (1851) did not become a success, and Pierre (1852) put an end to his career as a popular author. From 1853 to 1856 he wrote short fiction for magazines, collected as The Piazza Tales (1856). In 1857, while Melville was on a voyage to England and the Near East, The Confidence-Man appeared, the last prose work published during his lifetime. From then on Melville turned to poetry. Having secured a position of Customs Inspector in New York, his poetic reflection on the Civil War appeared as Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866).

In 1867 his oldest child Malcolm died at home from a self-inflicted gunshot. For the epic Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876) he drew upon his experience in Egypt and Palestine from twenty years earlier. In 1886 he retired as Customs Inspector and privately published some volumes of poetry in small editions. During the last years of his life, interest in him was reviving and he was approached to have his biography written, but his death in 1891 from cardiovascular disease subdued the revival before it could gain momentum. Inspired perhaps by the growing interest in him, in his final years he had been working on a prose story one more time and left the manuscript of Billy Budd, Sailor, which was published in 1924.

The novel Moby Dick features the crew of a doomed whaling vessel called the Pequod, sailing from Nantucket and captained by one legged Captain Ahab, who becomes obsessed with the idea of hunting down and killing a White Whale named Moby Dick, who bit off his leg during a previous encounter. Despite dire warnings from a Native American crew member named Queequay, who foresees doom and the efforts of various crew members, who try to prevent the voyage, their efforts come to no avail and Ahab’s obsession has disasterous and tragic consequences and ends up costing many lives and sinking the ship.

Sadly after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime and he was largely forgotten during the last thirty years of his life. By the time he died On 28 September 1891 he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the “Melville Revival” in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America. Melville sadly passed away on September 28, 1891 but has left behind some great literature including Moby Dick and many others. Moby Dick has also been adapted for film many times, once with Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab and once with Patrick Stewart in the same role.