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Last update Sept 2011.

The 1965
National Jazz and Blues Festival.

Richmond Athletic Grounds
Richmond. Surrey. UK.
August 6-8th 1965

  When Harold Pendleton began the National Jazz Festival in 61, he probably had little idea that his brain child would rapidly mutate and turn into a mixing bowl chock full of blues, folk, pop and rock - and with its jazz ingredient declining until it had virtually disappeared by the end of the decade. But then again, perhaps he did have some idea that things would , inevitably , change. The history of the festival shows the organizers were willing to adapt and go with the rapid fire changes that enveloped the British music scene in the 1960s and 70s - they were after all business men , and although they no doubt shared a genuine love of jazz music , they were not about to let that love get in the way of profit.
   The first festivals featured the likes of Chris Barber, Johnnie Dankworth, The Clyde Valley Stompers and Alex Walsh, but changing tastes meant that jazz alone could not satisfy the needs of the new generation of teens , who were discovering new sounds such as R & B - so gradually more pop and R & B artists were added to the bill, such as Georgie Fame , Long John Baldry and in 1963- the as yet relatively unknown  Rolling Stones-  (apparently playing the gig for the lowly sum of 30 pounds )- and for the first time the air rang to the screams of thousands of teenyboppers who had come to the festival solely to see their idols play outside the confines of a steamy club .
   Those screams  marked the end of an era. By 1964 The Stones were top of the bill- and netting a cool 50% of the nights takings  - ( by 1965 they had outgrown the festival and were never to play a British festival again until Knebworth in 1976 )- and there were aslo overseas blues artists in the form of Mose Allison, Memphis Slim and Jimmy Witherspoon- so it was inevitable that the title of the festival was changed from the National Jazz Festival- to the National Jazz and Blues festival.

1965. Time to move on .....
      Although Richmond was where the festival had begun, as usual, it was not really welcomed by a section of the local populace. In fact 1965 was the final year that the festival was located at Richmond. There had always been a degree of friction caused by fans sleeping out rough in Richmond Park and although the organizers had provided a large marquee for campers in previous years, in 1965 the local council stopped Harold Pendleton from organizing the tent for fans to sleep in , thus forcing many of them to sleep in the woods. The crowds were getting larger each year, up from 27,000 in 64 to 33,000 in 65, so there was undoubtedly more hassle for those who lived near the site, especially the local Golf club, whose greens may have been damaged. 
    The golfers presumably put pressure on the Richmond Athletic Club -and the result was that the owners then slapped a ban on the festival returning in 1966. Depressingly, and predictably, the festival goer's were seen as an invading army who were sure to spread rape, pillage and moral destruction in their wake. With this regressive attitude firmly entrenched in their collective mind, the local paper described the festival goer's as  " people of all ages with a penchant for vagrancy and little use for all the conventional paraphernalia of beds, changes of clothing, soap, razors and so on "
The late Great Long John Baldry Nat Jazz fest 1965

     With this sort of attitude coming from the local hierarchy it was probably best to move along and the next years festival shifted to Windsor.

The Festival line-up.
   You can see the complete list below. As for audio recordings , we don't know of any existing, audience recording not being very common in those days, mainly due to battery problems. There might be some sound boards in existence though. However, black and white film of the festival does survive , as a US camera team were there to film a report for the TV show- Shindig ,who filmed all three nights and recorded The T Bones, The Who, Graham Bond, Georgie Fame, Steampacket, The Moody Blues , The Animals and a great jam session that ended the festival on the evening of the 7th on Sunday night. You can see some stills from these performances throughout the site . The Shindig footage is fantastic, although long shots are a bit indisctinct , the close ups are great and the music is superb. The audience goes nuts , with lots of screaming and dancing going on in the crowd.

Georgie Fame National Jazz and Blues festival 1965

  The Shindig broadcasts.

Some information about the film footage that exists of the festival was sent to me by Tom to whom we should all give thanks for tracking down this very obscure recording . Big thanks to Damian for prviding us with a copy of part one . Now , who has a copy of part two to trade in exchange for part one ? ....


I just found your website about the Richmond /Windsor/etc Jazz Festivals. I'm currently working on a Shindig episode guide and was trying to find information on the Richmond Jazz Festival. Your site was very helpful. I have some information about the two Shindig episodes that were filmed at the festival. I have a VHS copy of the December 4, 1965 episode but have not been able to find a copy of the December 9, 1965 episode. I got the information for the second show from a printout.

December 4, 1965 (Saturday) - "Shindig Goes to London" Part One From VHS tape: The Animals - "Rosie" (opening song) The Animals - "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" The Moody Blues - "I'll Go Crazy" Steampacket (Brian Auger with Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart and Julie Driscoll - "Do Lord Remember Me" The T-Bones - "Wooly Bully" Georgie Fame - "Monkeying Around" Eric Burdon, Steve Winwood, Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, and Rod Stewart - "I Feel Alright" (Finale, closing titles)

The TV Guide listing for this episode reads "'Shindig Goes to London,' first of two parts filmed at the Richmond-On-Thames Jazz Festival." (The entire show appears to have been filmed at the festival.) 30 minutes December 9, 1965 (Thursday) - "Shindig Goes to London" Part Two From printout: The Yardbirds - "For Your Love" and "Hang On Sloopy" The Who - "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" and "Shout & Shimmy" Manfred Mann - "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" Graham Bond Organization - "Hoochy Koochy Man" 30 minutes .

I hope this information is of some use to you.

Regards, Tom

Interestingly enough it appears that Spencer Davis was the only major rock artist not to be included in the Shindig episodes, a flaw in the recording , or some other reason ?

The Shindig film crew were there for most of the festival ,so probably other acts were filmed too that did not get shown , and possibly whole sets exist that have not seen the light of day for decades. It would be nice if someone could come up with the missing portions of the film of the weekend . Lets hope some sections they did not end up showing are mouldering away in a vault somewhere. Its possible as most of the Who's set is preserved, so there may well be other substantial portions of the festival in the can .

Acutally, part one features some spirited jams,which really motor along,especially during the " All Star jam" at the end of the Sunday nights activities. This US tv show gives us a fairly rare indication of what UK blues and rock bands could do livewise in the early 60s and its lucky it wasn't wiped like so much early TV footage of the 60s.

Gary Farr of the T Bones

Audience member - National Jazz and Blues fest 1965

Dik Leatherdale remembers this about the festival

I came across your site by chance (I imagine everybody does). Yes, I was there in 1965 and I think I may be able to add something. I remember that the Aniimals (then at more or less the height of their fame in the UK) played a couple of numbers with what I think was billed as the "National Youth Jazz Orchestra" - presumably as a gesture to the jazz origins of the Festival. The following week the same ensemble appeared on the cult early Friday evening TV show Ready Steady Go and played the same 2 songs - "Talkin' 'bout you" and "Let the Good Times Roll" both by Ray Charles (not to be confused with the Chuck Berry "Talkin' 'bout you"). I still have the (mono) tapes recorded from the TV albeit now third generation.

To amplify your correspondent Dik Leatherdale's comment about The Animals" headlining performance at the 1965 Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival it was not the National Youth orchestra accompanying them. The so-called Animals Big Band was led by British trumpeter Ian Carr (more recently the author of a biography of Miles Davis). It featured several local jazz notables. As I recall, the brass-enhanced Animals was the feature of the second half of the band's set and while not as swinging as the stateside equivalent would have been, the performance gave the weekend a high energy climax. The Animals Big Band played together at least once more, for a broadcast of BBC Radio's "Jazz Club" in December of 1965. I am fortunate to have a decent though edited recording of this show.

The all star jam 7th Aug 1965

Speedy Acquaye of the Blue Flames rocks it out !

The show unknowingly marked the end of era: the real jazz-blues connection of the London club scene of that time was no longer as relevant to he rapidly changing pop culture . It is worth noting that in little more than a year after Richmond, Chas Chandler would be managing an extraordinary young American guitarist and arranging for his relocation to London. And Eric Burdon would be an enthusiastic convert to the church of Dr. Leary.

But Richmond was a last great coming together of the rhythm and blues giants of their time and place. It was my third pop concert and it was brilliant.
Pete Shelton

Alan Smith , who was one of those who worked at the festival has this anecdote

One thing I do remember from the '65 event was that the Who's Roger Daltry did an odd jig across the width of the stage, kicking out the front stage lights as he went. Barbara Pendleton was so annoyed with him she had the lamp costs deducted from their fee - they were paid in cash in those days.

Twisted Wheel, Manchester, one night mid summer 1965. Someone says there's a big rock festival at a place called Richmond near London - 'let's go.' Some of us haven't heard of Richmond before. Some are not sure what a 'festival' really entails. But it sounds exciting.
A week later we stagger out bleary eyed after an all night party at Barney's and head for the new service station on the M6, just a mile or so up the road. We're not real Manchester Mods, the coolest set in the land - more Cheshire backwoods Mods, some of us wearing US Army combat jackets rather than Parkas. There are about 12 of us, each with a sleeping bag, rolled up and belted so that it can be slung easily over the shoulders.

It's the early days of motorway travel and getting lifts at the service station is easy. The owners of a variety of vehicles ranging from Bedford lorry to Mercedes saloon, agree to ferry us south. Me and Oggy reach north London with just two lifts. At Barnet we give up thumbing and get a train into the centre, arriving in Trafalgar Square less than four hours after leaving home almost 200 miles away.

Then onto Richmond. Fans are pouring into the town. There's an interesting mix. Trads, Mods, a few Rockers, students yet to decide what they's obvious that the festival has an identity problem. Some of the Trad guys, bearded and thoughtful, give us baleful looks. Locals don't seem too happy - a few pub landlords shut early and the local newspaper hits out viciously at the great unwashed hordes wrecking Richmond's peaceful haven.

But the festival gets under way with a great Friday night set where Roger Daltry kicks out the stage lights and we shout encouragement. It's the first time we have seen 'rock rage'. We kip out that first night on the fringes of the Richmond Golf Course and get kicked out just after dawn by an angry greenkeeper. During the Saturday we wander around the town, get invited to a party which Julie Driscoll is supposed to be attending, meet up with some girls from Yorkshire and go to the Modern Beat session featuring Manfred Mann and Georgie Fame, also the Graham Bond Organisation whom we've seen at various Manchester clubs.

But generally it's not quite the scene that we imagined. A few pills are handed around, but mainly to keep us awake. The music is good, but only in patches - we're more into American Blues and, for us, there's too much jazz and uncool stuff on show.

Saturday night digs is the river bank. Not much kip, being woken up by a tramp who claims it's his spot. In the morning we wash in the muddy edges of the Thames. Someone says they've had enough of Richmond - let's go to Brighton and look for Rockers, hoping for a repeat of 1964. So we miss out on The Animals and Spencer Davis. Brighton is dripping wet. We sleep out on the pebbles under the West Pier and wake up sodden, cold and a bit fed up. The gang disperses, some returning north, some hanging around for a few more days, others heading west to find rough scrumpy in Dorset and Devon.
When. after a week, Oggy and I get home we read that the Twisted Wheel in Brazenose Street is to close and although a new Wheel is to be opened in another part of Manchester it seems like it's the end of an era. But an unforgettable one.

Colin Evans

Photogalleries from the festival

   As you can see, Jazz has been relegated to the afternoon sessions  and the jazz line-up is hardly earth shattering compared with that of the Rock and Blues. Apparently Ginger Baker and Keith Moon did killer drum solos, the weather was kind - and the crowds well behaved, apart from during The Yardbirds set, when a section of the crowd rushed the stage and had to be restrained by security guards.

The early festivals.

You can find out the complete line ups of the first festivals if you follow the links below.

Festivals 65-83

Most of these have fairly complete documentation .

Richmond 1965
Windsor 1966
 Windsor 1967
Sunbury 1968
Plumpton 1969
Plumpton 1970
Reading 1971
Reading 1972
Reading 1973
Reading 1974

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