U.S. Potter fans mob Harvard Yard for 'Wizard Rock'

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - “Harry & the Potters” and other bands in a genre dubbed “Wizard Rock” lit a musical fire under Harvard Yard on Friday night in celebration of the midnight release of the hotly awaited last book in the series.

The wizard rock band "Draco and the Malfoys" performs in Harvard University's Harvard Yard, nicknamed "Hogwarts Yard" for the night, to celebrate the release of the final book in the Harry Potter series "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in Cambridge, Massachusetts July 20, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Hundreds of Harry Potter fans packed the yard, dubbed Hogwarts Yard for the occasion, dancing and singing to bands who belted out songs inspired by author J.K. Rowling’s universe, with titles like “This Book Is So Awesome” and “Save Ginny Weasley.”

“I love Wizard Rock!” said Anna Brunner, 16, of Sudbury, Massachusetts, who was dressed as Dumbledore, the headmaster of the Hogwarts school Potter attends in the books. “I love that a book can inspire so much creativity and it’s fun that only people who really know the books get the references.”

Bands including Draco and the Malfoys and the Hungarian Horntails played tunes that played off some of the books’ main rivalries, including one called “My Dad’s Rich, Your Dad’s Dead,” a reference to the orphaned hero Potter and his nemesis, fellow student Draco Malfoy.

“It’s just kind of silly, but it looks like they’re having fun,” said Kathleen Tripodi, 25, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, watching celebrants, many dressed as Harry Potter characters, as she waited to buy the seventh and final book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” at midnight.

Several of the older fans said they found it interesting to see the Potter-inspired bands, many started by school-aged fans, mature along with the books’ characters over the years.

“We’re huge fans of Harry & the Potters,” said Lisa Bloom, 48, of Arlington, Massachusetts, who was out with her 10-year-old daughter, Eve. “When it started out, it was really primitive. But it’s really become quite artistic over time. They’ve become much more complex.”

There are more than 100 self-proclaimed “Wizard Rock” bands, according to fans, and they mainly perform at libraries and other children’s venues.

Paul DeGeorge, 28, who founded Harry & the Potters along with his 20-year-old brother, Joe, five years ago, said he has been surprised that an effort that started off as a stunt at a party with friends has drawn such attention.

“We were moved by the fact that Harry Potter affected so many kids so deeply, and got them reading, and we thought maybe we can use this to get kids into rock ‘n’ roll,” said Paul DeGeorge.