bailey1970

March 29, Paris. Evolution Festival at Exhibition Park. A commercial event, featuring Hawkwind, Edgar Broughton Band, Atomic Rooster, Third Ear Band, Kevin Ayers.

Easter. Victoria Park, London. Following the now very small annual Easter CND march, ‘Festival for Life’ held for 20,000 people, to protest against war in a conscious development by CND of festival culture. Five stages show rock and jazz bands, poetry, also street theatre, stalls and side shows.

Whitsun. Plumpton, Sussex. NJF festival at the racecourse. Family, Deep Purple, Colosseum. ‘There was a row with BIT, the Underground Information Agency, because the NJF wouldn’t give them a tent’, writes Jeremy Sandford. 3-5,000 people.

Hollywood, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. A festival which widened out the range of entertainment significantly: rock groups, but also a circus and fun fair, film shows and clothes stalls. 30,000 people.

Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music 1970
Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music 1970 © Terry Farebrother Source: UK Rock Festivals

June 26-27. Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The second Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. A transatlantic bill featuring Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the Byrds (playing an acoustic set), Country Joe, and John Mayal with Peter Green. Jimmy Page dressed as a country yokel. The Pink Fairies play on the back of a lorry to the free festival that’s formed outside. Somerset dairy farmers Michael and Jean Eavis—remember this the next time you’re broke and want to get in to Glastonbury—sneak in through a hole in a fence, without paying. The 212 acre site is planned to cater for 50,000 festival-goers; in the event three times that number turn up, leading to 15-mile traffic jams round the site and overflow campsite.

July 3-5. Atlanta Festival, Georgia USA. Hendrix, Procol Harum, Johnny Winter, BB King, Jethro Tull. State governor attempts to have rock festivals banned following drug-related problems among 200,000 crowd.

July 18. Hyde Park, London. Another free concert by Pink Floyd, also Roy Harper, Edgar Broughton, and experimental jazzers Robert Wyatt and Lol Coxhill.

July 24. Worthing, Sussex. Phun City free festival organised by, among others, self-styled White Panther Mick Farren (‘a one man tribe’, according to Richard Neville) for underground paper International Times. Actually it originated as a semi-commercial event, but went wrong before the weekend began. Camping in the woods. 3,000 people (or maybe 10,000, depends who you read/talk to). Publicity in IT said: ‘Get your end away at Phun City’. The Pink Fairies play onstage in the nude, the MC5 fly over from Detroit. As Farren describes it in Watch Out, Kids: ‘At night the whole site was bathed in lightshows, free food operations sprung up, the Angels stole beer wholesale and distributed it to the kids, dealers stopped selling dope and gave it away, collections were made to keep the generators going. The thing had become a model of the alternative society, it was nothing like our original concept, but it worked’.

August 14-16. Krumlin Festival, on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. Catastrophically unseasonal weather in a fairly bleak landscape means there is serious risk of death by exposure (this is high summer) for festival-goers. Strong winds, hail, rain and sleet, temperatures in low 40s Fahrenheit. But 25,000 well hard Yorkshire and Lancashire folk still turn up. Beer tents are requisitioned in the middle of the Saturday night to deal with the flood of exposure cases waiting for fresh ambulances. One of the two main organizers ‘last seen walking over the moors in a daze’ (according to the report by the Chair of Civil Aid). While other bands haggled and refused to play, Ginger Baker turns up on Sunday and offers to play for nothing, but there is no-one left. The local branch of Civil Aid’s pivotal help in saving lives is rewarded with a bounced cheque for the soup kitchen from the organizers.

The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival
The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, view from Desolation Hill. Photo © Jaap van der Galiën Source: UK Rock Festivals

August 26-30. Third and final Isle of Wight Festival. Kris Kristofferson plays to a poor response, the Freek Press produces a free daily newsletter (as will later happen at Windsor)—journos from leading underground press papers like Oz, International Times. The White Panthers and French youth agitate outside, where there was a better view and sound, on Desolation Hill. Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies play free off a lorry outside Canvas City, and eventually the walls are pulled down. Rory Gallagher, Joni Mitchell, Gilberto Gil, Miles Davis, the Doors (a year before Jim Morrison’s death) , the Who. On the Sunday the festival is declared free, to see Hendrix (three weeks before his death), Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen. The film of the festival, Message to Love, is released 25 years later.

August 30. London. A small bomb explodes outside the home of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The Angry Brigade takes an alternative route than that of ‘peace and love’ festival organisers towards social change, being Britain’s often overlooked violent direct action campaigners. The counterculture turns to bombing.

September 19-20. Worthy Farm Festival, at Pilton near Glastonbury. A mini-rock festival, organised by Michael Eavis following attendance at the Bath Blues Festival earlier that summer. Marc Bolan and T. Rex, free milk and folk music. The original Glastonbury Festival. Similar to the East Anglian Fairs that are about to get going, as Eavis says: ‘the influence of those late ’60s festivals started me off. I thought there might be a way of combining the traditional country fairs with the ideals of the pop festival culture’. £1 entrance fee. How many people turn up? Between 1,000-2,500. Jimi Hendrix’s death the day before the festival casts a large shadow over the good vibes.

1971

Easter. Alexandra Park, London. CND peace festival, with rock music, performance, stalls, etc.—as well as a specially written Passion play by Edward Bond.

June 20. Glastonbury Fayre (or, says Andrew Kerr, F-A-I-R), free festival in response to the overt commercialism of 1970’s Bath Blues Festival and final Isle of Wight, and inspired by the excitement of previous September’s little fair. Again like the East Anglian fairs a combination of medievalism and pop culture. Funded and organised by rich hippies like Arabella Churchill and Andrew Kerr, who has been reading the Bible about redistribution and decides to practise what it preached. Midnight curfew for amplified music, no alcohol on sale on site, all food vegetarian, free food from Communal Knead and Digger Action Movement. Pyramid stage built for the first time, out of KWIKSTAGE scaffolding and plastic sheeting, ‘close to the Glastonbury Abbey/Stonehenge ley line and over the site of a blind spring’. Andrew Kerr: ‘If the Festival has a specific intention it is to create an increase in the power of the Universe, a heightening of consciousness and a recognition of our place in the function of this our tired and molested planet’. An impressive bill for a free festival, indicating the amount of financial clout and organisation that has gone into the event: Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Edgar Broughton Band, Fairport Convention, David Bowie, Melanie, Joan Baez. A 1972 triple album of the show is released, including a side donated by Grateful Dead, who are supposed to appear but don’t (likewise Pink Floyd?). Following the example of Woodstock, a film called Glastonbury Fayre is made by David Puttman and Nick Roeg. Attendance 12,000. The legendary one.

Renaissance at National Jazz Festival 1971, Reading
Renaissance at National Jazz Festival 1971, Reading © Vin Miles Source: Flickr

June. NJF festival moves to Reading, Berkshire, at the invitation of Reading Council and Chamber of Commerce and Trade, to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the town. Reading Festival becomes a more-or-less permanent feature of the festival calendar, as a more commercially rock-oriented event, one with considerably less alt.glamour than Glastonbury, but also one that can legitimately lay claim to having roots going back the best part of a decade further.

Madison Square Gardens, New York. Ex-Beatle George Harrison organises a benefit for developing world with range of pop stars, his Concert for Bangla Desh, with accompanying record released on Apple.

August 28-29. Weeley, near Clacton in Essex. Clacton Round Table organizes a charitable festival of rock music. But there are predictable clashes between Hells Angels and other festival-goers, who take revenge by trashing Angels’s chopper motorbikes. Mostly British acts: T. Rex, King Crimson, Mott the Hoople, Julie Felix, The Faces, Lindisfarne. Estimates of attendance range from 30,000 to 140,000 people.

September 9. London. Festival of Light holds its inaugural meeting. A collection of fundamentalist Christian groups forming a coalition against what it perceives as the decadence and immorality of the times. Malcolm Muggeridge, Lord Longford, and, representing youth and popular music, er, Cliff Richard. Shouts of ‘Praise the Lord!’ mingle in London with the co-opted ‘One Way’ road signals. Some politico hippies have called it the anti-festival, accusing it of trying to steal their festival culture.

September 18. The Oval cricket ground, London. Benefit festival for Bangladesh. The Who, Mott the Hoople, the Faces, Lindisfarne. 15,000 people.

1972

Great Western Festivals tries many sites across England to hold two major rock festivals this summer, only to be blocked by local opposition by police, councils and concerned local residents (including retired colonels writing in outrage to the Times!). Rejected sites in the first few months of the year include Bishopsbourne in Kent, Tollshunt in Essex, Whatlington in Sussex, Bardney in Lincolnshire (where it eventually happens)—and Pilton in Somerset. Is this an early moment where Glastonbury may have gone commercial?

April 1-3. Puerto Rico. Mar y Sol (Sea and Sun) Festival, features the Allman Brothers, Black Sabbath, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Four people die.

Easter. Falcon Field, Aldermaston. At the end of the revived four day CND march to Aldermaston, a peace festival is held on April 3 in the field opposite the main gate of the nuclear weapons research centre. Hawkwind, Roy Harper, Adrian Henri.

May 5-7. Bickershaw, Lancashire. A commercial rock festival featuring the Grateful Dead, Captain Beefheart, Dr John, Donovan, Incredible String Band and, yes, Hawkwind. The festival site is a disused industrial lot, under pouring rain. An ‘Electric Cinema Magic Tent’, too. 40,000 people, half of whom pay (the organisers make a loss of £60,000), a third of whom stay, to see the Dead.

May 26-29. Bardney, Lincolnshire. Great Western Express Festival. NME sponsors a stage for the ‘Giants of Tomorrow’, in a failed effort at talent spotting 20 up-and-coming bands. 40,000 people.

June 22-26. Worthy Farm, Pilton. A small informal free festival on last year’s site, featuring Hawkwind.

June 28-30. Barnstaple, Devon. Trentishoe Whole Earth Fayre. 1,500 people at an overtly eco-friendly event overlooking Bristol Channel. Water supplied in tankers by a group calling themselves Pot Dealers of the South West. Entertainment from East Anglian commune band Global Village Trucking Company, and free festival stalwarts Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies.

July. Los Angeles. Wattstax ’72 concert, featuring Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and other gospel and soul musicians.

Hyde Park, London. Free concert by the Rolling Stones. 200,000 people, and some loss of crowd control means the government refuses to allow free concert here next year.

August 26. First Windsor People’s Free Festival in Windsor Great Park. Electricity is scarce so Hawkwind play lit up by the headlights of an ice cream van, and using power from the van’s generator. The smoke that comes form the band’s equipment is not a deliberate part of the show. Ubi Dwyer invites ‘between one and five million’, and announces that ‘the festival will finish when those attending it so decide’. It’s short, and maybe 700 people turn up (accompanied by 600 police onlookers).

First Barsham Faire, medieval-style East Anglian festival, at Roos Hall, Beccles, Suffolk. The beginnings of the East Anglian Fair movement, small-scale local alternative festivals, much like the Green Fields at Glastonbury in the 1980s and 1990s (but without the rock megagig down the valley). The fairs of the east thrive for a good decade, another aspect of the rural counterculture.

Festival Welfare Services founded, an umbrella for all voluntary organisations coordinating welfare services at festivals. FWS also functions as the lobbying authority of festival culture. From 1976, for about twenty years, FWS will be a government-funded advice and support agency.

Buxton, Derbyshire. Weekend rock festival attended by 15,000 people. Rumours circulate that this is to be one of the repeated demands/dreams of hippies in Britain, a permanent festival site. If county shows and race meetings can have recognised dedicated spaces, why not festivals?

August 25-27. Reading Festival. The second year of what is to become one of the major annual events in the festival calendar (if one lacking Glastonbury’s alternative sheen), though site is engulfed in mud after heavy rain. Reading Festival’s origins in NJF events at Richmond and elsewhere in the very early 1960s make it the longest-lasting regular festival culture in Britain, a decade older than Glastonbury.

September 16. London, The Oval Cricket Ground. Rock at the Oval. Frank Zappa, Arthur Brown, Linda Lewis, Jeff Beck.

1973:

March-April: First Camden Jazz Festival. Rand 1973–92 (except 1982 and 1988) (to late 1980s, Camden Jazz Week) where it then continued as the London Jazz Festival. The first festivals were six days in March–April and later six days in October (to c1980); six days in March–April (c1980–); two weeks in March (late 1980s). Original locations were Logan Hall and the Roundhouse Arts Centre; late 1980s, Shaw Theatre, Town & Country Club, Scala Cinema, and other venues in the London borough of Camden to audiences of 2000–3000 per concert at main events.

Nimbin Festival, New South Wales, Australia. Pivotal free festival in Australian countercultural scene, which sparks off a communal experiment in land purchase. Drop-outs and other alternative types are able to buy land in the area of the towns of Nimbin and Mullimbimbi for $200, with the aim of creating a regional alternative movement.

Watkins Glen, USA. Claims to be the biggest rock festival ever: 600,000 people watch The Grateful Dead. (Why?)

August 24-26. Reading Festival. Now well established, with smooth liaison between organisers, council and police. 20-30,000 people. Some return to the blues and jazz origins, with George Melly, Chris Barber, Jimmy Witherspoon. The same weekend the other side of festival culture, free, takes place elsewhere in Berkshire, at Windsor:

August 24-26. Windsor People’s Free Festival. Thames Valley Police allocated 500 officers to Reading Festival, 292 to Windsor Free, with a helicopter linking the operations. Ten days long, up to 7-8,000 people at the peak.

Buxton, Derbyshire. Second festival on a site which is supposed to be granted ten-year permission. Poor weather again, money lost, though 10,000 people attend.

The first official report published: Pop Festivals: Advisory [Stevenson] Committee on Pop Festivals Report and Code of Practice.

1974:

April. California Jam Festival. 200,000 people watch Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and the Eagles.

June. First Stonehenge Free Festival, organised by Wally Hope et al.

July. Third and final Buxton Rock Festival. Once more the Peak District plays its part with wind and rain. Up to 20,000 people, money lost.

July 20. First Knebworth Festival, Hertfordshire, the latest of the large commercial events to take place. In the grounds of Knebworth stately home, echoing the Beaulieu events of nearly twenty years before. A ‘bucolic frolic’, proclaims the posters. Like the Bath Festivals of 1969 and 1970 which he had also promoted, Freddy Bannister presents a transatlantic bill, headlined by the Allman Brothers and Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. According to Bannister, ‘Van Morrison’s contract contained a clause stating that he could terminate his performance if he did not like the look of the audience. In the event we couldn’t get him off the stage he was having such a good time’.

August. Reading Festival. Police film the crowds for future training film in crowd-handling. (When they lose control at Windsor Free the same weekend, there is no police footage to show the violence.) 110 arrests this year.

Stage C in possession of the police Windsor Free Festival 1974 © Steve Austin
Stage C in possession of the police Windsor Free Festival 1974 © Steve Austin Source: Flickr

28 August-1 September. Windsor Free Festival broken up by police amid violent scenes and public criticism of police actions.

Prescelli Mountains, Dyfedd, Wales. First Meigan Fayre.

1975:

Wally Hope, founder of Stonehenge Free, dies.

July 5. Knebworth. Second Knebworth Festival. Pink Floyd’s set accompanied by Second World War Spitfire aeroplanes doing a fly-past. Captain Beefheart, members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Roy Harper for some reason with a horse called Trigger (which has a bigger billing on the poster than MC John Peel). Quadrophonic sound introduced. Licensed for 50,000 but double that number turn up. Proximity to the motorway eases access and congestion. Tickets £2.75 for the day.

August. Reading Festival. Lou Reed, Joan Armatrading, Dr Feelgood, Yes, UFO, Judas Priest, Hawkwind. Thousands turn up without tickets to see Yes, and police negotiate with organisers to remove ‘House Full’ signs and admit crowds. 30,000 limit ignored as 50,000 fans see the show.

August 23-31. Watchfield, Berkshire. People’s Free Festival displaced from Windsor Great Park is given a site by the surprisingly sympathetic Labour government, a disused airfield bordering the Military College at Shrivenham. Around 5,000 people at peak, 95 arrests (66 for drugs), 14 stolen cars cleared from site. (Compare with Reading, also over the August Bank holiday weekend: 115 arrests out of a crowd of 40,000.) Gong, and members of Hawkwind jam for free the night after the band had headlined the Reading Festival across the county.

1976  

Tipi Valley founded, South Wales. Tipi People a self-styled group of alternative nomads, born from and contributing to the vibrant alternative festival scene now taking place each summer.

May 15-16. Mettingham Castle, Suffolk. Bungay May Horse Fair signals a revival in connection with traditional gypsy festival culture of the Horse Fair, last held in 1934. The programme includes the warning: ‘Three children were killed at Appleby Fair last year! Look after yours!’ The revival of the Horse Fair is a significant development by the East Anglian fair movement, linking to an earlier rural, nomadic, organic, pre-car culture (and deeply romanticised) past.

Free Festivals: First Report of the Working Committee on Pop Festivals published by Department of Environment.

Meigan Fayre. Third event, now on a different site, kept deliberately low-key to make a local rather than national festival. 3-4,000 attend, English and Welsh speakers.

Deeply Vale Free Festival, Lancashire. An illegal site, 300-600 people attending this first small event, which would mushroom over the next few years.

Knebworth Fair 1976
Knebworth Fair 1976 © Glen Showler Source: UK Rock Festivals

August 21. Knebworth Festival, though called Knebworth Fair. ‘All the fun of the fair’ says the circular poster, which involves 160 clowns, jugglers, fire-eaters, Morris dancers, floodlit trees and even medieval jousting. Licensed for 100,000, but 200,000 turn up to see the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd, making it the main rival to Reading in terms of commercial festivals.

August 26-30. Seasalter. People’s Free Festival (the one moved on from Windsor, Watchfield in previous years).

August. Eric Clapton tells audience in Birmingham that he supports racist policies of Enoch Powell (David Bowie expresses sympathy for fascism in Playboy interview in same year). A letter from outraged anti-racist activists in the music press and Socialist Worker leads to the founding of Rock Against Racism.

December 10. London, Royal College of Art Students’ Union. .First Rock Against Racism benefit gig, with blues singer Carol Grimes and reggae band Matumbi.

1977:

Company Week 1977
Company Week 1977 © Roberto Massotti Source: Dorward 2001

May: First Company Week, organised by Derek Bailey at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Theatre (1977–84); later the Arts Theatre (1987–). Company Weeks ran between 1977 and 1994 (except 1979–80 and 1985–6) and lasted five to seven days in May–July. A recording of the first Company Week was released in 1978.

‘God save the Queen/A fascist regime/There is no future in England’s dreaming’: Sex Pistols, in punk’s popular year, when the two sevens clash. Apocalypse in the air.

Punk’s long hot summer: There is no future in England’s dreaming

Chelmsford. City Rock: one-day punk festival. Alcohol is banned at the venue (the local football stadium), so punks turn up drunk first thing in the morning, naturally.

June 17-22. But the hippies are still sitting around, smoking. Stonehenge Free Festival. Hawkwind, Planet Gong, Richie Havens.

July 6-11. A small free event at Glastonbury, featuring Nik Turner, Here and Now.

August 5-7. Deeply Vale Free Festival, Lancashire. Steve Hillage Band.

August 26-29. The much demonised People’s Free Festival eventually finds a temporary home for the tired dedicated few at Chobham Common, Surrey. A nearby gypsy site agrees to give access to a standpipe for water supplies. The local authority’s concern over dirt and rubbish is confirmed when it (yes, the authorities) refuse to distribute bin bags at the festival site. Maximum attendance 500 people.

Beaulieu Jazz Festival is revived for a one-off.

September. Whitworth Fair, near Rochdale, is revived. Originally chartered in 1251, it’s revived as a cross between a village fete, an alternative festival, a gypsy Horse Fair.

1978:

April 30. Victoria Park, London. First national Anti-Nazi League/RAR Carnival., following march from Trafalgar Square. Organisers plan it also as a tenth anniversary tribute to the events of May 1968 in Paris. The Clash, Tom Robinson Band, X-Ray Spex, Patrik Fitzgerald (booed off by the intolerant crowd, which is of course there to demonstrate its tolerance), Steel Pulse.

Albion Fairs in East Anglia. The first summer of a movable feast across the countryside, from fair to nomadic fair, June to August.

June. The first of two Knebworth Festivals this year. Billed as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Genesis, Jefferson Starship (without lead singer Grace Slick), Tom Petty and Devo.

June. Summer Solstice. Stonehenge. Festival Welfare Services describe this year as ‘a model free festival’ for 3-5,000 people. Local landowner, Lord Pembroke, supplies firewood, and the local Conservative MP writes in the Times that ‘Either the festival must be stopped—and I question whether it could be or should be—or better arrangements must be made’ (emphasis added).

June 24. Knebworth returns. Genesis without ex-singer Peter Gabriel, Jefferson Starship without singer Grace Slick.

June 28 to July 8. Glastonbury. After the Stonehenge Free, a group of what would soon be called New Travellers, in trucks and buses, park up at Worthy Farm for an impromptu, ad hoc, unlicensed free festival. They even bring with them their own pyramid stage, with power supplied from an electricity meter in a caravan. Attendance around 500 people.

The Northern Rock Against Racism Festival 1978
35.000 watch the Buzzcocks in the park @ The Northern Rock Against Racism Festival 1978 Source: UK Rock Festivals

July 15. Alexandra Park, Manchester. Northern RAR Carnival. The Fall, Steel Pulse, John Cooper Clarke, The Buzzcocks, all the north’s finest.

July. Blackbushe Aerodrome, 40 miles west of London. 50,000 show to see Bob Dylan’s first festival gig in Britain since Isle of Wight in 1969, supported by Joan Armatrading, Graham Parker, Eric Clapton.

Final official report published: Pop Festivals and their Problems.

September 9. Knebworth Festival II, advertised by a poster which said ‘Oh God, not another boring old Knebworth’. Some of punk’s more respectable energy on show such a the Tubes and Boomtown Rats, as well as Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Wilko Johnson.

August 20-25. Deeply Vale Free Festival, Lancashire. Described by local opponents of the event as follows: ‘the numbers attracted were beyond anticipation and adequate facilities were not, in the opinion of many observers, provided by the organizers. This led to a great dealt of environmental despoliation due to lack of toilets and means of rubbish disposal, and the destruction of dry stone walls and trees to provide camping facilities. Many “visitors” had stayed on in the area, living in tents and makeshift shelters without proper facilities and despoliation had continued’. Up to 8,000 people attend, and Steve Hillage Band, Sphynx play.

August. The much demonised People’s Free Festival eventually finds a final, temporary home for the tired dedicated few at Caesar’s Camp, near Bracknell, Berkshire. Acoustic music only. Maximum attendance 300 people.

September 14-16. Giza, Egypt. The Grateful Dead play in front of the Egyptian Pyramids, and on the third night there is an eclipse of the moon. Hundreds of West Coast Americans fly in for the ancient and cosmic vibe. (British hippies have a stage in the shape of a pyramid; Californian ones fly to the real thing.)

September 24. Hyde Park to Brockwell Park, Brixton. RAR Carnival 2. Elvis Costello, Misty, Aswad, and Stiff Little Fingers playing instead of Sham 69 (too many skinhead fans). 150,000 dance against racism—while the National Front march through Brick Lane on the same afternoon less than hindered.

1979:

Festival Welfare Services identifies at least 24 summer rock festivals across the country.

June 21-23. Glastonbury. Did the small free event of last year inspire a revived Glastonbury Fayre? The first official, commercial event, but already a fundraising ethos: profits to go to UN Year of the Child. (Aptly, Eavis’s youngest daughter Emily born this summer.) Eavis backs the project financially with the deeds from his farm, while Arabella Churchill and Pyramid Stage man Bill Harkin lead the organising committees. A special area is set aside for children, and money goes to found Children’s World charity, still going under Churchill’s directorship in Somerset and Avon working with children in special schools. Also a Theatre Area, at which groups like Incubus and Footsbarn performed. The main stage is provided by Genesis (and not pyramid-shaped). Peter Gabriel, Steve Hillage, SAHB, Sky. Attendance 12,000. £5 for weekend tickets. Large financial loss, though charity still funded.

July: Ally Pally ’79 took place at Alexandra Palace; later Capital Jazz Festival (1980–83) at the Royal Festival Hall (1980/1983) and Knebworth (1981-2);  JVC–Capital Radio Jazz Parade (1984–?), directed by John Burrows. Originally six days in July (to late 1980s); later 14 days in July (early 1990s). The festival was associated with George Wein’s Festival Productions, Inc., in the 1980s; in the week preceding the festival in the 1980s Capital Radio and the Musicians’ Union sponsored the promotion of British jazz at Ronnie Scott’s club; Ally Pally ’79 superseded the Cleveland International Jazz Festival (New Grove Dicrionary of Jazz).

Albion Fairs through East Anglia: a movable feast in the countryside, from one weekend to the next.

August. Knebworth Festival, headlined by Led Zeppelin two Saturdays running, playing first gig for nearly two years, first UK gigs for four years.

Reading Festival site plan 1979
Reading Festival site plan 1979 courtesy Theresa Source: UK Rock Festivals

August. Reading Festival. Some punk band are added to the bill, including (bad choice) Sham 69, which means that hundreds of skinheads turn up. (Crap band with a crap following.) Sham’s lead singer Jimmy Pursey and unreconstructed hippy guitarist Steve Hillage appear onstage together to appeal for cross-subcultural unity and understanding. Not the wisest move from the punk perspective; for them, so the slogan went, ‘the only good hippy is a dead hippy’.

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