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updated July 2009

The Camden Festival free concerts .

Camden festival

Parliament Hill Fields .Hampstead Heath May 30th 1969.

Fleetwood Mac, Edgar Broughton Band, Duster Bennett, Bridget St John, Poet And A One Man Band ,Taste.

An all nighter,with a sizeable crowd of 25,000 -this show was disrupted towards the end by skinheads , who bottled and heckled Fleetwood Mac when they came onstage .

This incident annoyed Peter Green's father so much that he wrote to the music papers .

" My son travels all over the country playing to different audiences practically every night and last Friday was one of his nights off. But instead of taking advantage and resting, he offered his services to play for free at an open air concert along with other artists. Everything would have gone off fine , when along came a small group of hoodlums - not I may add , long haitred freaks , as is their usual description -but a gang of crew-cut young thugs who seemed to delight in spoiling a night out for the vast majority of people who were there to enjoy themselves.

After many nasty incidents the concert had to be abandoned , much to the disgust of the organizers who went to a great deal of trouble to arrange it . It is time sterner measures were taken by the law and stiffer sentences imposed on these so called citizens of the future. "

J Green

Euge Gannon was there and has this recollection :

The Fleetwood Mac evening was an English version of Altamont. Skinhead culture was on the rise and they were there enmasse looking for trouble. Edgar Broughton was singing Out Demons Out with real passion and fear. Fleetwood Mac abandoned the show but I had already decided to clear out after just missing a left hook.Because this show was at night it was easier for violence to happen.

There was never much security at shows back then, either police or provided by the promoters. The main organized presence would have been the roadies that would have protected the equipment. But then crowd violence wasn't expected so any police would have been heckled as pigs, even from the stage.

Skinhead culture and uniform was getting more popular and they were attracted to the pubs of Hampstead Heath for the opportunity to go 'queer or paki' bashing. I would like to know how the word went out to the skinhead community.

I don't remember details of the performances. I was too concerned getting out of there without getting duffed. The atmosphere was extremely tense, Edgar Broughton did his usual routine and may have been provoking the mob. The audience and bands were afraid. I just avoided getting punched out by a passing skinhead mob. It was not one of the great shows of that era.

I initially had difficulty in finding the location but managed to get there early enough to be near the stage. Fleetwood Mac were very good especially Albatross – superb !
I don’t remember much else before The Broughton Band came on except for the skinheads who started disrupting the gig – I had one of those heavy quart bottles of cider(empty thank goodness) fly through the air and land on my wedding tackle !! OUCH luckily I was wearing a new belt which had a huge buckle on which saved me. I seem to remember Edgar play “out demons out” but it didn’t work this time and the skinheads were gathering in large groups. I decided to leave after Edgar and on our way to the station my most vivid memory was of a group of skinheads shouting at the few police on duty :Harry Roberts is our king he kills Coppers" while scuffles broke out. Not an entirely satisfactory end to the evening- but memorable.
Best Regards,

Reinforced by a diary , Mike Ware provides a detailed account

Hitched to London with a friend...and drank too much in THE FREEMASON'S ARMS ! Headed to the gig at 730pm..Two stages, with barriers,lights etc were set up at the bottom of the hill.

Only about 50 or so people there at this time. But by 915pm ...thousands? had covered the hillside,as TASTE hit the stage...full volume...." loud freaky stuff "...they were already one of our favourite bands.
Started to get really crowded, as the cool night air swept over us.

On the 2nd stage came POET AND A ONE MAN BAND who played a " flowing new sort of soft sound " ...which goes against my previous memory of them being really loud. Perhaps I was thinking of someone else ?
Estimated 30,000 people there ?

BRIDGET ST.JOHN came on next and played " Night in the City " ( Joni Mitchell ) and " Suzanne" ( Leonard Cohen ) well as a few of her own songs.
People very friendly..

DUSTER BENNETT came on and cursed at his amps..but they were ok, and he was the best of the evening ( "best group 'cos he is a group" !)
Lights and fireworks were let off in various places..

It soon became evident that the festival would end earlier than the expected 3am !
THE EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND blew us away with grunts..4 letter to cause a revolution...but most people had come to listen to the music, except for a few drugged revolutionaries who jumped on stage singing " OUT DEMONS OUT ".

It was gone midnight when FLEETWOOD MAC came onstage and belted out a couple of beautiful numbers including "ALBATROSS ", surpassing anything else earlier in the evening. Then the peace of the 30,000 was suddenly broken by 20 skinheads who were out to break the whole thing up and came charging down the hillside, shouting and throwing coins at the band.
The band immediately ran off stage and everybody shouted at the little prats for ruining everything. Where was security?

Anyway ...guitarists and harmonica players emerged in the crowd...litter was collected and burnt..which kept us warm,and we had a good night under the stars...

Stayed up all night then hitched back to Bath at 8am...
Got a lift to Theale with what turned out to be Blind Faith's road manager..well probably Ric Grech's anyway who were playing Hyde Park the following weekend!
Eventually got home at 8pm totally exhausted..but the following monday FLEETWOOD MAC played the PAVILION , of those legendary gigs..but that's another story.

All the best

Mike Ware.

I was at the Fleetwood Mac Concert 30-5-69 over 40 years ago!!!!!
I remember seeing Taste, I don't remember The Edgar Broughton Band being on or Duster Benett although I have seen both acts on more than one occasion. I do remember having to avoid the "Bother Boys" of Somers Town who disrupted the crowd and if I remember correctly a bottle thrown by the skinheads caused a direct hit on Mick Fleetwood,the band then made an announcement & walked off stage. I really don't remember if that was the end or if the concert carried on but that night I remember for the wrong reasons.

A huge bottle wizzed by my head and hit my friend on the shoulder which knocked him over & finished his night!!!!
Shame on the hooligans,they just didn't get the whole thing that was going on back then.
All the best



  • 1968 Jefferson Airplane , Fairport, etc
  • 5- 09- 69-:Pink Floyd ,Roy Harper, The Pretty Things, Pete Brown's Battered Ornaments & Jody Grind.
  • 5-18- 69 :Procol Harum, Soft Machine, Third Ear Band , Yes & Blossom Toes.
  • 5-30-69:Fleetwood Mac. Taste ,Edgar Broughton, Duster Bennett . (This concert was disrupted by drunken elements in the crowd)
  • 1970 Roundhouse concerts- pay shows.
  • 1971 Roundhouse concerts- pay shows.
  • 1972 Roundhouse concerts- pay shows.

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