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Updated Jan 2016

This site is dedicated to the memory of Roger Hutchinson, who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.

R.I.P. Roger .....

For information on today's festivals see eFestivals.co.uk

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Bath Free festivals.

1972-1979.

Widcombe Manor and other venues .

 


A series of festivals were held in Bath from 1972 to 1979 and we now have some information about then from Nasher and Mike Godwin, both of whom were Bath residents in this era .

1972

Mike Godwin wrote about this one

However, I actually _played_ at that festival in Widcombe Manor. It's never been opened to the public before or since AFAIK. Apparently Princess Margaret used to go there at one time, so it's not really for mere middle class musos! John Loder and I performed an acoustic version of (IIRC) 'One too many mornings', and possibly also 'You ain't going nowhere'.

With regard to the Widcombe Manor gig, I think it must have been part of the 1972 festival week, which everyone of a certain age in Bath remembers - not because of the Widcombe Manor afternoon, but because a local
property millionaire donated an entire hotel in Great Pulteney Street for use during the whole week. I played on folk night along with other obscure local performers, and I also took part in a comedy and song revue with my current songwriting partner, David Johnson. My pal Colin Mansfield created an entire "upside down room" for the event, with chairs stuck to the ceiling and a electric light stalk coming out of the floor. The main even of the week was the appearance of the Global Village Trucking Company, who played at Widcombe Manor and also at the Cleveland Hotel, more or less all day, every day. I think they must have had a few roadies and hangers-on who kept the band going while people wandered on and off. They definitely had the Grateful Dead attitude more than any other group I've ever seen.

Cheers!
- Mike
PS The property millionaire lost all his money soon after, then made another fortune restoring Morris Minors, which he still does. See: http://www.morrisminor.org.uk/

One person who does have very vivid memories (as well as film footage ) of a host of the Bath free festivals is Mr Nasher , who sent me these details

Hi.......apologies in advance for mistakes/misrememberings/imaginings.....Bath's " Other Festival" came out of Bath Arts Workshop attempting to provide a community based alternative to the very straight Bath Music Festival....posh music for posh people....( the artwork for the programme for the 72 event caricatured exactly the posh festival programme )....first Other Festival was a very modest affair .....a few events with almost no budget in 1971......for 1972 a much bigger event was in early planning stages when at a public meeting, Charlie Ware offered use of a 60 bedroomed hotel in one of Europes poshest streets ....the Cleveland Hotel in Great Pulteney street....it became a focal point (although only one part of ) the festival .....loads of small rooms full of wierdness, puppet theatres, upside down rooms. the blue room (everything was blue !?)....a cinema complete with projection box , foyer and (melting ) ice cream,endless gigs and theatre performances .....the Globs played whenever nothing else was happening, day or night.....Magic Muscle,Magma....Lol Coxhill playing at every event ....Fest opening was Rocky Ricketts and the Jet Pilots of Jive with the fabulous Rockettes (the Art's Workshop'e band) arriving by helicopter and playing on the balcony of the Hotel.....(amusingly the Lady Mayor lived next door)....the last day of the fest was an open air picnic at Widcombe Manor at which Hawkwind were to headline .....it got rained off mid afternoon and the whole shebang moved back to the Cleveland Hotel, where Hawkwind played to a jammed crowd in the"Golden Lounge" an enormous gilt and mirrored room......dates were May 26 to June 4.......

re the photo with Graham Broughton in it(circa Bath festival 1970 ) ,the guy on the left with fuzzy hair and white jacket being hugged by brunette girl is spitting image of Phil Oates from St Ives,who arrived in Bath in '72 with Mick Phelps, later of Palace Acoustics,(built gear for Budgie/Talisman etc) for the Other Festival, with a flatbed loaded with audio,lighting etc
gear of which we had very little at the time .Like most visitors here in the 70's ,they stayed on . Phil later ran Thunderwing Disco !!

Nasher.

Hi,
     I played at the 72 festival.I remember playing with Lol Coxhill,George Khan (now with Robert Wyatt) and Mike Westbrook. Global village were there yes, we all jammed, and kept the whole thing going for ages, if memory serves, it was in the hotel. I know that one night we were playing in one room, and in the next room Hawkwind were playing, it worked! Later, the bass player from Hawkwind who I think then was Dave Anderson and I had a bit of a jam with Mike Westbrook and some other people, can't help thinking one of them was John Ottway. That was totally spontaneeous and that worked well too. I think we were the only people (other than Hawkwind) making music with any kind of beat to it.
George Khan was absolutely brilliant, as was Lol Coxhill, who is a genius.
    For my part I was a lead guitarist from Bedford who met a guy called Roger? who invited me down. I think he must have been the organiser, he was also running a poetry workshop just down the road. Hawkwind arrived with the East Cotswold chapter of the Hells Angels, I remember that .
    I went to live in the USA shortly after that, not returning till 1980. 48 now, still recording, CD out real soon. Excellent memories of those days.Would dearly like to get a picture of us playing or footage if anyone has any.
Thanks
Chris Gill (North Wales)

1973
....the Other festival became Another Festival in 1973.....3 simultaneous 10 day fests on 3 sites around the town,taking it out into the communities.....Alan Ginsberg came to this one,appearing at the Theatre Royal(then owned by Charlie Ware) and in a dome at Twerton(local housing estate) where he filled in for a missing magician, before a dumbfounded
audience of young local kids. Roxy Music also played at the Theatre Royal as part of Another Festival ,tho at a slightly later date(a month after-ish).....(Charlie Ware had been their lecturer and early backer,and had a free gig as thanks option with them)

1974-1979
....1974 was The Last Festival....3,3 and 4 days on each of 3 sites around town,the last chunk combined with Comtek,an intenational get together of alternative technologyists, which featured largely at subsequent festivals... a video media van ran between Windsor Festival and here during this one,showing video reports from one at the other.....Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias played....plus Tommy Trinder and Sandy Powell for the old folks (don't see them on many free festival bills)....
....1975 was the first one on the old burial field at Walcot street,home of Bath Arts Workshop,
....1976,Walcot Sunshine Festival
...1977 was a one day affair....
....1978 was the Walcot Beano,funds for which were raised by running a year round cabaret club....this was back to a week long event....
....1979 was the Walcot Nation Festival of Independence.....Walcot declared UDI......passports, checkpoints, terrorist attacks,daily hierarchy( a new coup d'etet every day)
....there were then 2 or 3 much lesser events in the following years....
I have many hours of film footage and sound of the festivals from 1972 onwards to 1979

Nasher.


Free Festivals List

Any info to add- well don't just sit there ! Contact us

Free festivals and small fayres held in the United Kingdom between 1967-90.

1967-69.

 1970-79  
1980-92

 

  • Windsor Peoples Free Festival 1972-74
 
 Free festival related articles
Pay Festivals- Benefits for Travellers aid.
 

Main list of Free festivals 1970-1985

Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

Related Articles

The aroma of a free festival -by Roger Hutchinson

Dome construction instruction sheet (download-140k)-by Roger Hutchinson

Travellers Tales Convoy Steve's tale of how the freaks outsmarted the fuzz at Greenham common.

Zorch -House band for the free festival set ? A fanzine page on the UK's first electronic band .

Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe-surreal pranksters of the Traveller community .

Acidia Lightshow Lightshow for Windsor festival and Stonehenge in the 1970s.

Traveller Daves Website - Chock full of of free festival photos !

Many, many thanks go to Roger Hutchinson , Big Steve , Roger Duncan, Celia, Will , Chazz, Jeza ,Chris Hewitt ,The Fabulous Time Tortoise , Peter Piwowarski - ( 70s music site/photos ) Martin S, Steve Austin ,Traveller Dave, Herb, Tim Brighton, Vin Miles, Haze Evans , Noddy Guevara, Chris Brown, Janet Thompson, David Stooke, Gary Gibbons , Nigel Ayers, Rich Deakin ,Glenda Pescardo,Justin Warman,Brian F, Steve Bayfield, Kev Ellis, Paul Seaton and many other minor contributors for their help in providing the archival material related to these free festivals which has at enabled us to construct the site .

Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us


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