The Archive .
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updated Oct 2014 new recollections .
The Great Western Express Festival.
The View from the Mud : oral histories.
Extremely rare poster which was purchased at the same time as tickets.- an unofficial product ? courtesy Duncan MacRae
I attended the Great Western Express festival of 1972. Me and a mate from school (Clive Davies) escaped from school sports day on the Friday afternoon and were chased into Coventry town centre by two facsist prefects trying to recapture us. We got a bus to Leicester and hitched the rest of the way,getting a lift in an Austin A30 to the festival site.
Friday night weather was appalling and we were too late to see any of the acts.Luckily Rory Gallagher played again on Saturday so we didn't miss too much.
Memories of bands were: Roxy Music,unheard of at the time, being on at about 11 o'clock in the morning. Lindisfarne being brilliant, Status Quo swearing a lot,Faces,with Rod resplendant in gold jacket,sloppy but brilliant.Beach Boys saying they would play all night if we wanted them to.Monty Python performing live on stage for the first time. Sha Na Na doing their set without uttering a single word between each number. Slade,a band who previously didn't even like, were the stars of the festival,encouraging an enormous straw fight. Joe Cocker stoned out of his head.
We went back to our tent to find everything had been nicked. We also refused to buy fish and chips for the rip-off price of 30p !!! We managed to hitch home in a Morris Traveller,the driver very kindly dropping me off at the bottom of my street in Coventry.I opened the door at my parents house to find that Exile On Main St. had arrived courtesy of Virgin Records.
By the way, every one shouting 'Wally' was carried on from a previous festival where 'Wally of Weely' was created.
I can't believe it was 35 years ago that I went to the Lincoln Festival as a mere 16 year old. Extremely Happy Days!
Regards to all fellow attendees,
Ian and Peter D loon around in the field at Lincoln © Ian Cater
It truly was flippin' freezing. Ironically, I hardly remember anything about the bands except Status Quo. We were so fed up by Sunday that I seem to remember we drove to Skegness for a change of scene and got chased on the seafront by skinheads. I wasn't in to airy fairy music much by then and preferred straight rock like Rory Gallagher.
Ian Cater .
I was thrilled to stumble across your site, as nobody I know has even heard of this festival!
I was 15 at the time and travelled from Sheffield to Bardney on the bus with my boyfriend (later to be husband - and later still ex) Michael and his best mate Paul. It had not entered our heads to bring a tent - we had sleeping bags and a couple of ground sheets - Paul just had his toothbrush in the top pocket of his denim jacket.
We arrived early evening on Friday and found ourselves a spot on the field facing the main stage. We had barely begun to settle ourselves there when the heavens opened. We struggled for about 10 minutes, trying to keep thinngs dry, but it was torrential so just tied everything into the ground sheets and headed for the beer tent. We returned when the downpour stopped, fully expecting our stuff to be gone - but it was still there, though totally drenched.
I'd borrowed my brother's old sleeping bag, which was filled with kapok or something similar. Once wet, there was no chance to get it dry and as the weekend progressed it just began to turn green and smell mouldy. Thankfully, on Saturday morning lots of "entrepeneurs" (scam merchants) turned up selling man-size jiffy bags - or were they potato bags? - at ludicrously expensive prices.We bought 3 of them and 5 yards of plastic sheeting, and were set for the weekend.
My main memories of the festival :-
Incredible String Band seemed to be on for absolutely hours. I got bored and decided to go and get us some food. I wondered how I would find the guys again - Michael said "Just look for the bright orange tent next to us". I waded off through the crowd, queued for ages for 3 chocolate pancakes, turned round from the food stand - and could see nothing but about 3,000 bright orange tents! I stumbled around for about 2 hours - ate all 3 pancakes as I got fed up of carrying them - and finally spotted the guys thanks to the sun glistening off said bright orange adjacent tent. They of course grumbled about their lack of food!
The temporary toilet doors wouldn't close, and opened outwards, so you had to take someone with you to lean on the door whilst you were inside.
On Sunday afternoon the sun finally came out and the organisers distributed bales of hay around the site. When Slade came on, there was a girl near to us who obviously had a huge crush on Dave Hill. Every time his face appeared on the screens she would scream at the top of her lungs. Her boyfriend was rather embarassed by this, so every time she screamed, he whistled as loud as he could in an attempt to drown her out. This got quite annoying after a while.
At some point in the proceedings, everyone suddenly realised that if we all sat down, everyone would be able to see. There was just one guy in the middle of the field standing on a dining chair, dancing away merrily. When he decided to take off his sweater, the entire crowd began clapping and singing "the stripper" tune. He obliged by provocatively stripping naked whilst the entire crowd cheered him on - we couldn't even HEAR Slade for the noise the crowd was making!
My only personal major disappointment was that I slept through the entire Beach Boys set and was fuming that the guys didn't wake me up. Wishbone Ash, Lindisfarne, Rory Galagher - all our favourite bands of the day.
We only ventured away from the main stage area to see Patto in the Giants of Tomorrow tent. They were a favourite band of ours too, who played regularly those days in the Black Swan, where Joe Cocker gave some of his earliest performances in Sheffield.
We left on the Monday as I had to go back to school! - arriving at Sheffield railway station in the late afternoon.
I looked as though I had been sleeping in a muddy field for 4 days - the guys barely had a hair out of place.
Thanks for the site - it was great to remember those days!
now living on the tiny Greek island of Sifnos!
Wow what a great site. I was at the Great Western with ten or so friends from Salford Gt Manchester. We travelled in a couple of cars and my Transit van. I was playing in a band myself at the time "Battleaxe"
All I can remember is the bigger bands and making a house from bales of hay,the house of Straw was that so high we could stand up in it. As I remember the weather was pretty good, but I remember it raining one night while the Big Screen showed "The Wild One" and a film about "Stripping Nuns"? or was I dreaming.?
Rory played a stormer and The Beach Boys were having a nightmare untill they started playing the Surfing songs from the 60s.
Reading this site has brought back a lot of memories cant believe it's over 40 years ago. And by the way I'm still gigging at 55.
Couldn't believe this site. I thought this fest had been lost. John and I travelled over from Blackpool in a hired ford estate, got there late and spent the 1st night in the car.
The weekend was spent mostly on planet grass and speed but I do remember a tent nearby with a sign above that said "blow jobs 10 bob".
Wishbone Ash onstage © G Williamson
Wishbone ash ,the beach boys and monty python are the only acts I remember enjoying ,but the highlight for me was John Peel saying goodnight with Hey Jude. The whole site joined in on the na,na bit - magic.
the pic shows my mate John carrying the very latest in miniature recording kit and me looking a little bewildered.
Thanks for the memories
Aerial shot of the festival, the 30 metre deep press pit meant the audience never got very close to the bands
Me and about 4 of my friends were at Bardney in 1972. We travelled down from Huddersfield (the Builders Club) and stayed the whole time, although the weather was appalling it didn't dampen our spirits. A truly fantastic time time was had by all. I do remember Genesis and Roxy Music who didn't impress at all. Locomotive GT, from Hungary I believe, were appalling.
The rest including Humble Pie, Wishbone Ash and Slade were excellent and of course who could forget the late Rory Gallagher.
I still have the programme and a Great Western Tea-shirt albeit slightly out of shape.
Fond memories indeed, is it really so long ago ?
Regards Gordon Hodgson
As far as I can remember and my addled brain is not what it was, Rory Gallagher stopped the rain falling on Friday night, and he went down so well that he played again on Saturday when someone (can't remember who) didn't show up. Forgive me if my memory has played tricks. ( no it hasn't, this did happen - Ed)
i was at this and it hammered down,we pitched the tent and i slept in a puddle for 2 nights,i was 17.It was great finding your site it brought back fantastic memories.Don McClean was brilli and there was also a black Motown style group but cant remember who they were.We had straw throwing,and every one joined in.There was straw throwing as far as the eye could see but there was no trouble.I remember the news readers on TV telling us to avoid people rolling there own cigies,Have you ever.
went to the festival with Nigel Bush (one of your other correspondents) when I was at Horncastle Grammar School. We were driven over to Bardney (about 10 miles) by Jo Engelhard's mum, so we missed out on the pleasure of staying in a tent. But I did by a paper sleeping bag for 50p to huddle in when it was cold and drizzly. I did my best to pretend to be a hippy, wearing a combat jacket, a floppy bush hat and making a hat band out of ring-pulls from beer cans. We burnt some joss sticks, to get into the vibe, which was the closest I got to any "jazz cigarettes".
The music was wonderful, but the PA system was dreadful, I remember bellowing "turn if up" during Monty Pythons' legendary Parrot Sketch. Joe Cocker flailed his arms like a demented monkey, but sang up a storm. The Beach Boys had moved about as far as they could get from their early clean-cut look, but they were a great sing along act.
Everyone knew about half of Good Vibrations, and then kind of mumbled along to the other bits.
The Faces were tremendous fun, playing good time rock before Rod descended to be a bum-waggling prat. Slade proved that they were an exciting live rock band, as well as a top turn on Top of the Pops.
Genesis and Rod Stewart have both played at my local stadium in Twickenham over the last year playing to 60,000 people, showing that you can't keep a good act down. Three days of love and peace at Bardney cost me £4.50, if you want to go to the Isle of Wight festival this year it will cost you £140. That's inflation for you.
Great web site, so many jogged memories. Lincoln was my introduction to festivals, at the age of 16 and only a month or so before leaving school. Myself and friend Steve had the luxury of a parental lift all the way to the festival site from Fleet in Hampshire. We arrived at the festival late on the Friday afternoon. It was sunny and warm down south but, somewhere along the line, the clouds rolled in and the wind started howling. So that’s how it was when we arrived, wet, with gale force winds and, after unloading the tent and rucksacks, it was with a heady mixture of envy, trepidation and excitement that we watched my parents drive away to their nice dry hotel in Lincoln, for the weekend. This was it, for the first time ever, we were on our own. We could do anything we liked! We didn't of course but y'know, we could have done.
We battled with the flapping tent, trying unsuccessfully to get the flysheet over before the tent became saturated in the lashing rain. I don't recall seeing any bands on the Friday evening, although you could hear the music above the howling wind, as darkness fell. We made ourselves as comfortable as we could in our soggy dripping tent and ate some of the food we had brought with us, before trying to get some kip. Festival lesson No.1 was that you can never sleep, because there's always someone nearby making noise all night, in this case a band playing in the ruins of an old abbey. They played droning guitar riffs, very much in the style of Hawkwind. We must have got some sleep though, because suddenly it was daylight and, I emerged from the tent to a lovely warm sunny morning. Okay, to a bloody freezing grey morning with intermittent rain! I didn't mind though, there was a whole festival to absorb.
Determined to see as many bands as possible, I spent most of the next three days in front of the main stage, catching almost everyone in the lineup. We got ourselves a couple of those waterproof sacks that proved very popular with everyone and, with plastic sheeting on the ground and some broken up straw bales distributed all over everyone, it was surprisingly cosy and warm. In fact, having to do boring things like get food or go to the toilet, was a nuisance, plus the pain of trying to find your mate amongst the crowds on the way back. Spotting a flag near you was the best homing-in method. This is also where you learned the art of tiptoeing through the crowds, trying to avoid hands and legs, not always successfully! Everyone was very smiley and friendly though.
Nazareth started proceedings on the Saturday. Roxy Music I think, were mostly in fluorescent green shiny outfits with silver platform boots. This was before their first hit single, hence why they played in the middle of the day. Rory Gallagher was good value, as always, especially the acoustic bit in the middle. The Strawbs were very dramatic, especially with Grave New World. I still have the review copies of MM and Disc and they make a useful memory jogger. Disc says that the Strawbs drummer left his kit and drummed his way around the stage, using the floor, mike stands, the bassist’s guitar and even a roadie for his drum solo! This does ring a vague bell in the recesses of my memory.
As others have said, Stone the Crows set was very emotional, after the recent death of guitarist Les Harvey. Maggie Bell felt the warmth of the crowds ovation and, sang her heart out. As well as Steve Howe on guitar, Jon Anderson was on backing vocals, according to the MM reviewer. The Faces were indeed very drunk. Here's where the memory plays tricks. I seem to recall them playing knockabout football on stage and then kicking the footballs out into the crowd but, that may have been another time, another festival.
On the Sunday, I can recall Brewers Droop with a big inflatable phallus. Presumably, it fizzled out later! The Spencer Davis Group were disappointing, having lost all there sparkle since Steve Winwood left. The Incredible String Band were good but, almost inaudible during their quieter moments. Lindisfarne, were one of the highlights of the festival, with perfect crowd pleasers like We Can Swing Together and Fog on the Tyne. The Persuasions were a black vocal act in the style of The Four Tops, with choreographed dance moves. They didn't seem to go down too well though. Slade were a knockout, loud and energetic. Monty Python were amazing, it seemed almost surreal to have the Parrot sketch being performed right there in front of us! The large screens allowed us to see them trying to stifle giggles when doing the Interviewing Dead People sketch. I think there were only three of them, Cleese, Palin, and Jones, or was it Idle? The Beach Boys closed proceedings on the Sunday and, performed some of their classics with perfect harmonies, I didn't realise Brian Wilson was also present, I don't think I knew who he was then!
On the final day, Bank Holiday Monday, we settled in for another marathon session in Straw City. How did I manage to stay so still in one place for so long? Festival lesson No. 2.You learned the art of endurance, calmness and, friendly cooperation with your neighbours. Food or drink sharing was commonplace, as was making sure that the straw was distributed evenly and fairly amongst everyone and, you realised that this was really a very good way to coexist.
Atomic Rooster were on early with new singer Chris Farlowe. Vinegar Joe were raucous, with a wild haired Elkie Brooks shrieking and screaming and sharing vocals with Robert Palmer. Don Mclean was a great success, chatting to the crowd and getting us singing along to American Pie. Humble Pie rocked, Sha Na Na rushed around the stage hilariously, doing their 50s rock and roll routine, just like in the Woodstock film. Having seen the film and bought the album only a few months earlier, I was quite chuffed at seeing somebody who had actually played at Woodstock. According to the MM review, they got 3 encores, which sounds about right. The closing act at Lincoln, also played very memorably at Woodstock. However, Joe Cocker's set at Lincoln was only memorable for being very late and shambolic as he seemed totally out of it. Also to my great disappointment, he didn't do With a Little Help from My Friends. I had to wait until his superior set at Glastonbury 85, for that particular omission to be rectified.
The Folk tent was abandoned and, I recall seeing the likes of Jonathan Kelly, Hamish Imlach and Colin Scot on the main stage in the mornings. Also on were Jonathan Kelly and Steve Goodman with his good humoured banter and his stetson hat, until it blew away.
No shows from the original bill, were I think, Helen Reddy, Sly and the Family Stone, Ry Cooder, Billy Preston and even Billy Joel, who was unknown at the time.
Wandering around the village area during the night seeing all the exotic clothes and merchandise on sale was like entering another world, a world of magic and mystique where you could be anyone you liked. I must have spent at least one of the nights away from the tent, as I recall watching cartoons on a big screen, after the music had finished. Despite the crap weather, there was always a positive friendly atmosphere and it was great being a part of it.
One of the stage announcements from the Woodstock film stuck in my mind, when Wavy Gravy pronounces "We must be in heaven man! ". That was just how it felt to me, despite the cold, the rain, and the mud. I had many more heavens to come but, Lincoln was the first and holds a special place in my heart.
I went with a couple of GI pals from the USAF base near the town of Bicester where I lived at the time. I don't remember the traffic problems, we drove to visit some relatives in Louth Sunday morning and it was quite easy. Recollections of the music are convoluted, possibly due to the LSD which was a big part of life for me in those days. I remember some great bands, Roxy Music, Stone the Crows, Wishbone Ash, Buddy Miles. There had been a rumor that Carlos Santana was going to show up and jam with Miles but it never happened. With an announcement of 'I wish to make a complaint' the Pythons took the stage and began with the dead parrot sketch. Whilst enjoying the colors and sounds in my trip I played around in the foam [obligatory in those days], assisted one of my friends who was in a state of confusion with his first trip, leading him through to a beautiful experience. I pissed off a few home town people who I bumped into when I dissed them due to being unable to speak for a little while. We drove home, giving a ride to a couple that we'd met. A very sweet memory, thanks for bringing it back.
David Ian Robbins,
About 10 of us all aged around 17 set off from Thornaby swimming baths in a mini bus on the Friday morning. It was our first festival & non of us had a clue. There was one tent but not enough room for everyone. I spent the weekend sleeping in a ditch inside a 6 foot ICI fertiliser bag I managed to find. I remember seeing Lindisfarne, the Faces - think Rod was in a very fetching pink satin suit?? I seem to remember Noddy Holder saying that because the weather was crap & pissing down that all the guys should grab a girl & cop a feel to cheer themselves up, chance would be a fine thing! I recall that a load of foam was sprayed over an area in front of the stage at one point and loads of people were running into it, disappearing then coming out like snowmen made of bubbles. All in all it was wet & dismal but great music & a fantastic experience - at least in hindsight.
Came across your web site. It was my first festival. A load of us went, Pauline, Anne, Phil, Eric, and some long forgotten . We slept in home made plastic bags. Remember dropping some acid and watching the Beach Boys. Highlight was Barclay James Harvest with a full orchestra playing Mocking Bird at 6 am in the morning. Stanley Baker the film star bought us a haystack so the straw could be distributed to sit and lay on. Remember the Foam machine and Status Quo rocking the place, Monty Python played. Music was non stop day and night. Camping was in cut corn fields (uncomfortable) Hells Angels roared around on choppers. Rory Gallagher was as always outstanding.
Love & Peace
Tony & Pauline
What a surprise to see this. No-one ever believes me that this took place - thanks for reassuring me. It was my first festival
I had just turned 14 when I attended - how the hell I persuaded my parents to let me go I do not know. Everyone else was older than me in our group although most were only 16 or so and the person who assured our parent he would see we were ok was a 20 year old dope head who eventually ended up inside for dealing.
I remember travelling there from our place near Sheffield only to get as far as Newark to find one of the lads - a total tosser anyway- had forgotten his ticket so back we went. The first night - Thursday we were camped near the wood and hear drums. I went to investigate to see Viv Stanshall (Ex Bonzos) was having a crazy drum jam session in the woods - it was wild.
Friday night it pissed it down - as it did every day- but I stuck it out to see Rory Gallagher who was covering for an ill Helen Reddy- who I would not have watched. He was great and played again the next day in the dry.
I remember raving to friends about Roxy Music and said they must look out for them as they would be huge.
Nazareth presaged a huge downpour by singing "take me out in the pouring rain" and the heavens obliged.
Quo were excellent - just right for a freezing wet festival - keeps you warm.
Incredible String band were another group I remember enjoying -even though I was not that into folk.
Slade were also great - not that I really liked them at the time but they got the crowd going - even those that started off booing. Sha na na were excellent - another surprise for me.
Humble pie were a great memory - especially as I had loved small faces and of course the Faces were there - another great festival band.
Others have named the bands here.
Joe Cocker was a complete dissappointment. He was so late coming on the crowd got fed up and pulled down the press/VIP fence and got closer to the stage. We needn't have bothered he was out of it- I cut my losses and went for my tent.
GREAT to come across your site on the Great Western Festival. My recollection for what it's worth...
About 10 of us all aged around 17 set off from Thornaby swimming baths in a mini bus on the Friday morning. It was our first festival & non of us had a clue. There was one tent but not enough room for everyone. I spent the weekend sleeping in a ditch inside a 6 foot ICI feriliser bag I managed to find. I remember seeing Lindisfarne, the Faces - think Rod was in a very fetching pink satin suit?? I seem to remember Noddy Holder saying that because the weather was crap & pissing down that all the guys should grab a girl & cop a feel to cheer themselves up, chance would be a fine thing! I recall that a load of foam was sprayed over an area in front of the stage at one point and loads of people were running into it, disappearing then coming out like snowmen made of bubbles. All in all it was wet & dismal but great music & a fantastic experience - at least in hindsight.
Now 53 but still daft enough to do it again!
© Cynthia Bateman
I came across your site after scanning some old slides and doing a search on the festival.
My boyfriend and I drove up to Bardney on the Friday after work in a borrowed landrover. We arrived about 12.30am amid mud, rain, and police. Having a landrover to sleep in made us one of the lucky ones.
According to my diary, Saturday was miserable, windy, cold and wet. We built a wind shield with hay bales and hunkered down. I remember thinking before we went that the Beach Boys were an odd choice and a bit naff but in the event they were a highlight.
Sunday’s weather was a bit better and there was a good natured hay fight which I sat out under an umbrella.
We left in the morning missing the only act I really wanted to see which was Joe Cocker. My boyfriend, now husband has since made it up to me by taking me to see him last summer.
Lindisfarne perform behind the ludricrous security fence .How any bands were expected to create a rapport between themselves and the audience at this distance is anyones guess.© Chris Keegan .
For a long time I have been searching for information on this festival, out of everything I have encountered this one brings back wonderful memories.
In 1972, I was 17 years of age and was at that time, still trying to get over losing my mother two years before, when I saw the advert for this gig in the local paper I made the bold move to go. I decided to sell my pushbike to raise funds to go to something that I had no idea of what to expect. With around £20 in my pocket and the clothes on my back, I set forth on an adventure that changed my life and hitchhiked to Bardney where I encountered a different world.
Paying my money on the gate I entered, only to find a few hundred yards away someone had broken the fence and people were getting in for free. As I walked into the field there were more people than I had ever seen in my life, slowly making their way to where the music was coming from, wet mud and as I joined this procession I can still remember the excitement as I got closer to the stage.
As we walked to a clear area, I noticed the stage was surrounded by a fence with what seemed like hells angels on the other side and wow was it loud.
I started talking to a few people who had a tent near the middle and felt a little more secure there than anywhere else, so stayed with them, the amount of people was amazing and as far as you could see (the photos cannot do justice to the amount of people there) there was tents and bodies as far as the eye could see and a couple of what looked like lighting scaffolding towers.
A little while later, someone handed me a cigarette, these were passed almost continuously for three days, I was stoned.
What I do remember the most was;
Slade getting us to stamp our feet in the soggy soaked earth to keep ourselves warm.
Monty Python doing the familiar sketches we all know and love including my favourite ‘the parrot sketch’.
The Beach boys and Lindisfarne but I do not recall seeing Genesis.
When I returned home, I slept for two days.
Over the three days I moved from a boy to a man, in more ways than one, wonderful music I will always remember and that sense of pleasure, which was part of the reason for my involvement in the music almost from then on.
And If I had the chance to do it again, without hesitation, YES, this was one of the best times I had ever had.
To the organizers, whoever are still alive, a thank you for without this festival I may had not chosen my career and all the things that followed.
As a matter of interest, John, if you need help transcribing your material to digital, I would like to offer my help, I am a recording engineer, I would deem it a privilege.
Best Regards and thank you for compiling this website.
What a wonderful site, and thankyou so much for reviving memories of this event.
I can recall just one thing not already covered. During Monty Python's spot, one of the team announced a "newsflash" as follows: "The Whitehouse has just announced that President Nixon was admitted to hospital earlier today for an arsehole transplant!"
Towards the end of Python's spot, the same guy came back to announce "We've just recieved an update on President Nixon's condition. Apparently the arsehole has rejected the President!"
Peace and love
Just found your site, brilliant. I drove down from Northumberland in a beat up old Ford Anglia with 3 other mates. As I remember it the weather was rubbish and it even hail stoned at one point. We ended up using three 15 foot long corrugated iron sheets, bending them into a U shape turning them upside down and sealing the end with straw bales. It was one of the cosiest festival camps in the end and so strong we could stand on it to see the bands. We tried to auction it off before we left.
I also remember having saved a bottle of Newcastle brown ale for Lindisfarne and when they came on the weather cheered up and the sun came out. Sha Na Na were wonderful and set the crowd up for Cocker but after an interminable wait with the weather deteriorating and we had a very long drive back home for work the next day, we only heard one song which was a slow dirge. Rubbish, so we got in the car and left, hugely disappointed in Cocker.
Other highlights were Maggie Bell and Stone the crows, The Faces, Roxy Music and Brewer’s Droop singing “it ain’t the meat it’s the motion” with accompanying actions, yet I can’t remember the Beach boys, Slade or Don McLean or many of the others. Sadly I did not have a camera with me but the pictures on your site help bring back the memories.
© Chris Keegan .
Have to say you had done a truly great job here with your website, may I give you a cyber hand shake sir! One thing that surprised me about the many great pics you have of this fest is how few if any feature bands on the stage, thinking about it it's tricky keeping warm with both hands in yr pockets and take pics at the same time!!! Anyhow these 2 further offerings show a general one taken from towards the back on the Friday afternoon waiting for the show to kick off having hitched down with 2 other mates from Scotland, (the things we did in our youth!) little did we know at that point the heavens also opened the show! The other is them northern lads Lindisfarne who where at the top of their game in 72 and played a vital part in getting us clapping to keep the bloody running through us!!!
I also have a few of Buxton 73 (and I thought Lincoln was cold!!!)
1972, Lincoln. It was hard being a hippy in the prevailing culture.
We were stunned to hear that there was to be a FESTIVAL, yes, a real Festival in the sleepy shire.
Just prior to this event we were busted by the local forces of law and order for ( can you believe this) TRACES of cannabis found in our house in an ashtray.
The same forces of law and order were hanging around the gates of said festival.
Two detective constables one wearing an afghan coat and a headband with short hair. The other with a much less convincing (sic) disguise. This consisted of brown brogues, a greatcoat ( rapidly purchased from Milletts or Wakefields. Remember them?) and both sporting several days growth of beard a la George Michael as we know it today.
They pleaded with us not to ' blow their cover'. Making shushing noises and then making less than subtle threats.
Despite this it was all done with some humour as we recounted later with the same officers. Just whom they thought they were fooling remains a mystery as they stuck out like O.J. Simpson at a Klan Rally.
At some point during the next couple of days we took every opportunity to ' wind up' the drug squad.
We took to following them whistling the theme tune to Z Cars very loudly.
Not subtle but fun.
OMG. Thank you for this website.
I remember this like it was last weekend. It’s probably the greatest event I ever attended. I was trying to get information on Woodstock and I remembered Joe Cocker and Sha Na Na appearing at lincoln so I typed in Lincoln pop festival and there you where. To my amazement you had a picture of me in the crowd in front of the wishbone ash stage. I remember the flash going off behind me and my Jacket collar being turned up to shelter my neck from the cold wind. I would have been 19 then and I am 56 now. I still have long hair and a long beard and I still ride a motorcycle. I think everyone else 'grew up' but I didn't.
I have very fond memories of the love at this festival. Me and my friend arrived at the long meandering lane on Friday night. There was a transit van acting as a bus service from the end of the lane to the site and I wanted to get there asap to see Rory Gallagher but my friend insisted that we should walk as we where hippies and therefore should walk like all the other hippies. I reluctantly agreed but it turned out to be a good decision. There was a long procession of beautiful people as far as the eye could see walking along. Some had stopped for a rest in little groups and where chatting or playing guitars and singing and sharing joints and the long walk turned into a giant party. Don’t know how long it took to get there but time didn’t seem to matter too much. I remember some guy complaining about being cold so about 20 people gathered wood to build a fire to keep him warm. That fire must have reached about 15 feet tall. You could have smelted iron from the heat that thing was generating.
We missed Rory Gallagher on Friday but were really pleased with the blistering performance he gave on Saturday. Wish I hadn’t swapped my Rory Gallagher LP now. Brian if you’re out there I want it back. Slade gave a very memorable performance. They really got the crowd going. When they said "Stamp your feet" The whole crowd stamped their feet in a mad frenzy. I’m sure you could feel the ground vibrating. Someone decided to throw hay in the air and within minutes the whole crowd was doing it. If you looked up you no longer saw sky but a massive hay cloud. Someone announced from the stage that we should desist this as it could cause a fire. Maybe he has gone on to be a Health and Safety Standards officer. I think this was the festival where they announced that people had arrived without sleeping bags and tents and asked if anyone could donate their spare gear. Within a short period from this there was a mountain of tents and sleeping bags that had been thrown onto the stage. Such was the love that people had for each other.
© Michael Spafford
Another thing that I remember very distinctly was the fenced enclosure around the stage. I couldn’t understand why this area was fenced off as there was no-one in that area. It became very apparent on I think it was Sunday afternoon. Up till then the weather hadn’t been too bad. A little cold maybe and a little drizzle but I think it was on the Sunday It rained hard for about 1/2 an hour so people huddled under polythene sheets while it passed. As soon as it started an army of photographers dressed in suits and ties appeared from nowhere and almost fell over each other in the rush to get to the fencing to take pictures. The ferocious flashes from these were blinding if you happened to be close to the enclosure as I was. After that incident you never saw anyone behind the fencing again. Anyway all the bands where brilliant but there were very memorable performances by Stone the Crows, The beach boys, Sha Na Na, Lindisfarne, Wishbone ash, Status Quo, Slade, Rory Gallagher, Don Mclean, Monty python, The Faces and Joe Cocker.
I think Joe Cocker was a bit pissed off because lots of people started leaving during his performance. I guess after three days of cold rain lack of toilet facilites and food took their toll on people so they started to leave. The toilet facilities had long queues from day 1 and quickly overflowed then collapsed on day 2 so I never got to go for a poo for three days but nothing stopped the enjoyment and thrill of being part of the festival, listening to great music from top bands and being amongst beautiful people.
When I got home I walked in greeted my parents who were both in a state of shock. They couldn’t believe I had arrived home safe. Upon the table was a whole pile of newspapers with front page news of the festival. Pictures of hippies huddled under plastic sheets and stories of the festival site being declared an Emergency Disaster Zone!! Every national news paper seemed to have this as a headline story. My parents had a list of telephone numbers too. They had been ringing hospitals and police stations to find out if there was any news of me. Not knowing I was having the time of my life and the rain only lasted 1/2 hour. I have hardly ever bought a newspaper since that day. That’s 37 years ago. They set the whole thing up to make up a story like a Woodstock disaster story in order to sell newspapers. Shame on you newspaper media people it wasn't the way you portrayed it at all!! It was wonderful. This is one customer you lost for a lifetime.
Stuart Michael Smith.
© Michael Spafford
Appreciate the web site brings back a lot of happy memories.
It was a brilliant event despite the rain.
We slept under polythene sheeting in our sleeping bags. Except I cheated and went back to my car for a while.
The performances were brilliant including Monty Python Parrot sketch.
The acts I remember the most were Maggie Bell, Slade, Average White Band, The Faces and the Beach Boys.
Attached, please find a couple of photos from the event.
At the time we did not realise that we were making history or appreciate the big name acts. In those days the artists were just regular people.
Thanks again for a great site
can remember hitch hiking from Cornwall with my mate Bono (Dave Bone) in the driving rain it took us two days to get there, people were reluctant to give two soaking scruffy young men in soaking wet duffle and afghan coat ( can you remember what they smelt like when wet) a lift to a festival. We went into Lincoln and put all our clothes in a dryer it was an amazing feeling to be dry.
We arrived at the festival and honestly cannot remember much about the bands as they say ‘if you can remember much you weren’t really there’ hitched home saw some great bands and met some good people but this phase of my life is lost in heavy mist of acid and dope which is sad because I missed so much of the enjoyment of life but that was what I was working through at the time. Now at 55 and a church minister I thank God that He brought me through and I have an empathy with people who are going and have gone through a similar experience.
Blessings Without Warnings!
R.T. (kings road church
Well do you know the Cliche "If you was there and can remember it then you was not really there" I was there but was went to see Rod and the faces, Its really great to read your web site I never knew that there was so many great artists.
I worked at the I.O.W Jimi Hendrix festival for Fiery Creations as a Bog Attendant and I was smashed for most of that, I do remember the Bob Dylan's festival also on the I.O.W and Joe cocker was at that one.
Getting back to the Bardney Bash, me and four friends set off from the Isle Of Wight ,got to the mainland and started hitching. I distinctly remember us being stuck on some B road at god knows where it was about 5 in the morning and it was cold- we saw a little wooden fruit and veg stall at the side of the road we managed to get inside it and all five of us tried to sleep leaning against each other it was a nightmare and I was really happy when the sun came out and we got back on the road.
We was all broke but as Hippy's we expected a free lunch when we got to Bardney.
When I finally got there I was really happy and observed that after the torrential downpour the Salvation Army had set up a huge marquee tent and was giving free soup and clothing and I got a lovely old army trench coat from them , it was very Hippy, I was talking to the Major and he said that the Bardney Festival had been declared a disaster zone by the top brass.
The mud looked as if it had been imported from Glastonbury.Ha Ha.
I noticed that at the gate entrances there was large queues of people waiting to get in but at some entrances people were leaving and going home. I saw two Hells Angels giving them money for their pass out tickets, I quickly scrounged some money and bought a couple then went to the other queue and sold them at a reduced price with the money I got from the sales I went back to the leaving people and bought more pass outs after a while my pockets were bulging with money so I employed a mate to buy the pass outs and give them to me. I would move along the long line of people and sell them, it was hard work as lots of people thought it was a scam but when I showed them people going in with our pass outs they had bought from me they relented.
This was getting dreadful all my Peaceful Buddhism sayings of love everyone and only eat vegetables and down with the capitalists ideologies had gone with a bunch of fivers in my pocket.
I was a bedraggled venture Capitalist.
Suddenly from nowhere to huge Hells Angels confronted me and said I was on their patch . they said we like you really but if you want to continue you have got to work for us, I told them I would discuss it with my pals, I was terrified, I knew they were going to mug me (not really a common phrase then) so I walked away and grabbed my mate and said we are going in now with the pass outs you have- luckily he had 4 but the stupid bugger had caught my greed and wanted to sell the two spare ones, I pointed to the big leather clothed dark Angels and he legged it in with me.
When I got in I threw off the coat and a Top hat I was wearing just in case they were following me and also they had lots there comrades inside the festival and it would be easy to spot me.
As I went through I heard a guy repeatedly shouting from a loud hailer, "You people out there queuing do not buy pass outs as they are forgeries I could hear him from well inside the grounds of the festival.I had made my departure at the choicest of times, of course I knew that they were not forgeries but what a great idea, though I do not think they lost much from the front, I went to the other side of the arena where I witnessed enterprising Angels who were employed on security remove some of the metal sheeting and charge people at a lower rate for coming in through the back door so as to speak.
As for the bales of Hay I bought mine from a farmer off a huge trailer they were very cheap, and I built a great accommodation for 4 people though at times there was a lot more.
One student kinda guy kept hiding his Lebanese in the straw and was so stoned he could never remember which bale it was in, paranoia was rife, this was a festival of Black Microdots Laced with Strychnine .I do not know how much truth there was in this rumour (it was mentioned on the stage as propaganda) but I remember an emergency medical tent with Release and young doctors treating bad trips. I went in and asked a doctor if he could get me some Valium as I was addicted to them (I had a prescription on me from the I.O.W) he told me to call back about 4 o clock and he would have them for me, this he did and I could have kissed him as I was getting very screwed up.
I was dropping the Valium like smarties and I am sure I got under a green wire mesh fence around the VIPS enclosure and sat in a deck chair, not sure about this but I think Liz Taylor and Richard Burton was a few aisle down . Rod when he came on was about twenty feet tall and the strings on his guitar were huge and as he hit them sparks and beams of coloured lights were shooting out everywhere I was ecstatic and time literally stopped.
I was amazed at the amount of abandoned tents and clothing left after the event I found my mates wandering about and we BORROWED 4 tents, they was all being trashed.
I paid for us all to get back to the Isle of Wight.
I do not know but I thought the Bay City Rollers was at Bardney, I am sure I saw hundreds of screaming teenie poppers with long colourful scarves running home after the torrential downpour.
I was at the festival. It’s a very dim memory now as I’m 54 and was 16 at the time. I thought the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band played, not Monty Python. I seem to remember Viv Stanshall on stage being his usual nutty self and doing their various numbers.
I arrived with my friends on Saturday night and the first thing I remember seeing were the bales of hay where we crashed out for a few hours until we got ourselves to near the front of stage. All we had were a few tins of baked beans and tinned fruit, little money and no sleeping bags. Some kind people gave us plastic sheeting to cover ourselves when it rained. We slept where we sat for two nights. I can’t remember the loos, but they must have been there in some form and we must have used them!
I remember seeing the ‘Release’ tent and announcements of where they were, what to do if you were busted and so on. They gave out leaflets too. I was drug free, but don’t remember there being a heavy police presence or a feeling we were being hassled!
As a 15 year old boy I went with two school friends to this festival. We were driven up on the Friday by my Dad & slept in a 6 x 4 ex army tent. We had all the gear including a gas stove which we were told not to put close to the tent which of course my friends did & burnt a hole in the side of it which some friendly Hells Angels put out with beer.
My main memories of the weekend was a band called the Persuasions who came on after Lindisfarne & before Slade who were booed almost from the second they came on. I think they were a Black Gospel type group and only managed to last for about 3 songs before giving up.
I also remember a big sort of foam area which my friend Kim Wheater was walking through when he vanished because he didn’t know there was a ditch. We just fell about laughing when he got back to ground level covered from head to toe in foam.
As a 15 year old kid, pitching your tent next to the Angels so you could feel as if you were a part of it was awesome. They gave us food, drink & some herbal type ciggies. J
Musically I remember very little. Slade were brilliant as were Lindisfarne.
Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane!
Everything that everyone else has said - I remember it all (or some of it at least)
Selling my record player to buy my ticket
hitching from Gateshead in three goes with final leg right onto camp site courtesy of some hippies in their van, chipping in to pay road toll at some point rain and trying to sleep in a wet 'Parka'
leaving Beach Boys set after first two/three unknown songs
Humble Pie singing a song that listed about a thousand sandwiches
horrible but cheap brown rice meals
Salvation Army free food
Rod Stewart pissed
Sha Na Na - three guys in gold suits and some fat guy saying 'Only one thing to tell you f*!%ing hippies - Rock 'n' Roll is here to stay'!
selling some tiny blue tablets I'd got for my hay fever from first aid tent
drying out while dancing to Slade's version of 'Born To Be Wild'
Thanks for the memories
I was delighted to find your site covering the festival at Bardney in 1972 as I was idly reminiscing about the occasion the other day. I am afraid I have no drug or drink fuelled stories to tell but have a very fond memory for the whole occasion. As a 20 year old at the time I had lived in Lincoln most of my life and we were very excited by this event being held so close to home, bringing the images of Woodstock and Isle of Wight so close to our doorsteps. So 3 of us got tickets for the weekend and one being a driver we jumped excitedly in the car on the Friday afternoon with a tent for our home for the next 3 nights.
As is consistently reported on your site it was wet ! The first 2 days were a battle to enjoy ourselves with the rain and the mud and the dampened enthusiasm of the concert goers but eventually the weather brightened, spirits lifted, the music was terrific, if only because it was simply available all the time and had such a mixture with some real top liners amongst lesser known bands and artists. Most of my recollections were positive and although some are blurred now with time, some still stand out. Having arrived and found our way around I seem to recall that the main stage shut down early on the Friday due to the weather and we saw Rory Gallagher perform on the smaller side stage, and he was brilliant.
I recall Slade kicking up a storm with everyone jumping around to their simple but energetic beat, encouraging the throwing of straw from all the bales littered around, which in itself produced a natural drying out of the environment, additionally, very similar happened with Status Quo, a much maligned band who to my mind delivered simple lively and enjoyable rock music, saw them twice more subsequently and they just delivered! Wishbone Ash, Don McLean were highlights for me, Vinegar Joe opened my eyes to 2 great vocalists, Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer, who I followed with some great enjoyment during subsequent years and the Beach Boys were probably the most slick and professional there topping off the Saturday. The Faces were eagerly anticipated but a bit corny with Rod Stewart kicking footballs into the crowd, music pretty avergae, and after waiting an hour and a half for the finale on Monday with Joe Cocker, we got bored and left as he was drunk and incoherent and our patience was thin after 4 days.
Altogether a unique event for the area and great memories and will be periodically checking your site for any further updates
Just come across your website while looking for information about this festival and, wow, has it brought back some memories! I'm taking my daughters to a festival this weekend (Rock en Seine, in France) and was trying to remember my first festival, which was this one. I had been trying to work out how old I was at the time and was astonished to find out I was 14. I find it hard to believe that at 14 I was allowed to go to this with a schoolfriend the same age - my dad even drove us up from Surrey and picked us up after the festival.
It's strange, reading these recollections, as not all of them match my memories. Like several people I do not remember there being much rain or wind - in fact I'm sure it was sunny for several of the afternoon concerts - although I do remember freezing during Joe Cockers set. Also, I don't remember some of the bands that played which later became favourites such as Genesis. Maybe that's the downside of attending something like this at 14 - you can't possibly take it all in and it was unlike anything I had experienced before. I don't remember the foam but did take part in the straw fights!
We arrived Friday evening and after setting up camp went off to wander around the festival site, get our bearings. We obviously failed in this as it took us until about 2 in the morning to find our tent again! Food for the whole weekend was basic - I remember the hot-dogs but that's about all.
Going through the line-up, I remember only some of the bands from Saturday. I vaguely remember Nazareth and definitely remember Roxy Music: we tought they were rubbish. We were 14 we didn't know any better. Wishbone Ash was a highlight as I was heavily into Argus at the time. I think they played most of that album. I also remember an incredibly long drum solo from the Strawbs where the drummer wandered round the stage drumming on anything he could find, although I don't think they made any impression apart from that.
The Sunday acts I remember were Lindisfarne, Monty Python (I think it was raining at this point) and the Beach Boys. Were Slade really there? No memories of that whatsoever. In contrast I remember most of the Monday line-up apart from Jacksonn Heights (who they?) and the Sutherland Brothers. During the Sha Na Na set I seem to remember them gobbing on the microphones and seeing a close-up of the spittle dropping off the mike - where there TV screens at Lincoln? Seems unlikely. But it was definitely Sha Na Na at Lincoln.
Other memories revolve around the straw (trying to wrap myself up in it during Joe Cocker to keep warm), the toilets and the final day: we went to bed after Joe Cocker in a field full of tents and people everywhere. We were woken up the next day by (presumably) a plain clothes policeman wanting to know what we were doing. We came out of the tent into bright sunshine and a completely empty field! It was as if the whole thing had never happened. Half an hour later my dad turned up to take us back south.
One of the things I love about this website is that it brings back memories and has also allowed me to build up a fuller picture of what it was like. I wish I remembered more of it, but the stories here allow a sort of vicarious re-living of the event. The photos particularly have helped bring it back to life for me - a pity there aren't more.
Finally, for many years I had a thick cardboard poster of this festival featuring the train and the names of all the acts - unlike any of the ones you've got on this site. I don't think it exists anymore, but if I find it i'll send you a copy.
After this it was Cambridge Folk Festivals at Cherry Hinton and several Glastonburys and Reading. I remember all of them much better than Lincoln. But this was my first!
Keep up the good work.
Melbourne youth club (Derbyshire) were trying to organise a trip to the festival,lots of interest but in the end it was just me and Jackie Jackson, she was about three years older than me (i was fourteen years old) . we got the bus from Melbourne to Nottingham and another bus to Lincoln, from there it was the longest walk of my life, we never asked for directions to the site, all we had to do was join in the march, it was obvious where every one was headed.
we got there around 5 pm, the first memory was a guy asking me if i wanted to score? thinking to myself..what football match could he be referring to,any way Jackie slipped over and sprained her ankle, this meant we had to go home but i cant remember the journey back,but i do remember the bus pulling into Melbourne market place,Jackie was asleep on the back seat with her pass out ticket sticking out of her back pocket (i think she was wearing SEA DOGS at the time),i slipped the pass out of her pocket and woke her up,got off the bus and her mum was there to meet her and off she went.
mick Sylvester came across and asked where i had been and i explained what had happened. i cant for the life of me remember how,but me and mick went back to the festival,i don't know if we hitched or bused or what ever, but we were back and going through the turn stye, there was a fiddle going on where the guy taking tickets was letting us through and then back out under the barrier then back out with another pass out, outside we would sell this pass out go back in and repeat this i don't know how many times, well either mick or me went and sold our last pass out and they took the guy off the gate. NO TICKET
i don't know why we never bought another , we certainly had enough money by now, anyway we set off to the left hand side of the gate, its getting dark ,following the fence (about 12 foot high as i recall) we came to a wood, there were hells angels camped out in these woods , i think these were the security at the time,we found a place where someone else had bent up the corrugated fence and we managed to get in, the first thing i saw was a small caravan, inside the faces were sitting playing cards, amazing i just could not believe it , i watched them for ages.
i don't remember clearly how we got from the back stage area to the front of stage area.it all becomes something of a blur from then on, i recall Slade were brilliant, i seem to remember the faces,or maybe i just imagined it but definitely Monty python, i think they came on around midnight, well it seemed real late in the day.
the best act for me and it was totally unexpected was seeing the persuasions perform, i remember some of the crowd booing them , i thought they were excellent and i even bought the album...street corner symphony..i still have and play it today. getting home i have no recollection at all. but i do remember seeing the foam fight on the evening news although i don't remember the foam at the festiva.
great site and very interesting to recall, i spoke to mick today and we had a great chat about the old days, he lives in California USA and its one of his fond memories of our youth.
thanks for the memories...
think I was at this festival. I was a student in Leeds at the time but cant remember how I got there, who I went with or much of what I did there. I do remember some things though.
I recall walking along country lanes on the way to the venue and when I got there the first people I saw when i got through the gate were Johnny Quayle and friends who I knew from Leeds who were doing a street theatre thing. They had a very elaborate set which included a gallows as far as I can remember.
I remember seeing Ruth and Kevin Coffey who then lived in Leeds but had come from York. I also met this lady from York(she may have been American) who I really fancied but I discovered she had a boyfriend there too and I remember him well because he had really bad teeth.... as I had too at that time.
I remember Country Joe and Vinegar Joe and Sha na Na but especially seem to remember Buffy St Marie doing a stint late one night. I dont see her mentioned on site though which puzzles me and gives me reason to doubt what I recall.
Cannot believe I have found this site, god , memories are flooding back !.
As I remember there was about six of us all about 17, my dad run us to Lincoln then we hitched to Bardney, we slept in field under a plastic sheet wrapped round a mates bumper and on to a hedge (quite cozy till the rain started ) I remember the foam pit and some dubious market stalls with a good selection of pills and dope.
Remember Gallagher he was amazing best rendition of bullfrog blues ever, wishbone and the king will come seem to remember Buddy Miles and I think Santana was with them they were amazing. Faces beach boys Roxy music Cocker too many to remember don’t know if the memories have faded due to old age or maybe the dope fumes that was everywhere.
Cannot remember coming home at all but when we got home remember sleeping for 24 hours straight then swearing to my parents I had not taken anything (sorry I lied lol ) just remember what a good time everybody had, even singing with the Jesus freaks, thanks great western for 3 of the best 3 days of my life and not heard anyone shouting Wally for fucking years.....!!!!!
Like most, I stumbled on this site. I was 18 years of age.With Liz,Rowan and myself we hitched to Bardney from Barking, Essex. It took us nine lifts to get to the site and we arrived on the Saturday afternoon.
At night it was cold,wet and the fire kept going out. ..
By Sunday Liz and myself decided we'd had enough and hitched home. This time only 2 lifts - One from the site to the A1 and by luck another by a travelling salesman who was going all the way to Barking!
Rowan stayed on until the end, Tough Irish lass she was. The fact that she had pulled might have had something to do with it.
I can honestly only remember Wishbone Ash, Stone the Crows and Rod and the Faces. I did not take drugs so I must have had a good drink.
I had previously been to Weeley and the Kennington Oval festivals but I was glad to get home, have a bath and get warm. I never did attend another festival.
Happy memories though of my late teens, never to be repeated.
Best wishes to LIz and Rowan if they ever read this.
I got there on the Friday evening, my dad having taken me, bless him. My mates had got there the previous day. They'd spent the night in a large marquee (or however its spelt), and the wind was so strong that it blew the roof of the marquee off. My mates were all tripping, they said they'd dropped some black microdots. When the tent roof blew off one lad flipped out, and was taken to hospital in Lincoln. He returned to the festival next day, recovered from his bad trip and rearing to go again.
I remember the bales of straw. We built dead cosy shelters, good shelter from the rain and cold, and listened to some good music. I remember the foam too. one of my mates, Alan, was dancing around in the foam, which was up to his waste, and he disappeared. The ground was muddy and very slippy under the foam, and Alan had slipped and disappeared under the foam. He came out of the foam covered from head to toe, and laughing his head off. All in all a good weekend.
I was there aged 15 , it was my first festival and first time away from home . I met three other guys on the train into lincoln and was offered the chance to share their bell tent ...........A tent designed for maybe 2 at best ,housing 5 of us .
I remember a great deal about this event , I was the youngest member of our band of gypsies
Biggest memories are probably
Rory Gallagher ...........he came back the following day as we would not let him go on sat night without many encores .....this set is probably the best set he ever played featuring his recent album Live in Europe including the awesome 'messin with the kid'
Beach boys were absolutely amazing this is in the days before computers etc.........their harmonies were as perfect as a recording
Stone the crows .........Maggie Bell was the babe of Lincoln she belted out her lyrics even though she had recently lost her boyfriend and lead guitarist Les Harvey who was sadly electrocuted on stage just 3 weeks prior to the show ....fortunately we had Steve Howe who majestically appeared and played their set absolutely perfectly with no time to rehearse ..................amazing stuff never to be repeated
Slade ..........I cannot believe a so called skinhead band were even here ....there were a pop group for christs sake , but I amongst many others warmed to their raw talent and was soon gettin dawn and gettin with it . It was cold and wet and these guys warmed the entire crowd
Faces ....were disappointing Rod mainly complained about the cold and we were made to wait several hours before they finally came on stage . When they did they were to be honest............ rubbish, most of them were worse for wear and played to say the least erratically and mostly out of tune
I still bore my friends with tales of that weekend.
A new pal, Mike, whom I met in hospital a few weeks before, said he intended to go and invited me along. I turned up at the appointed meeting place with a sleeping bag, some sarnies and a bottle of pop. Oh, and a full wallet.
I knew no-one in the group apart from my mate but one of the others, whose father was quite wealthy, had hired a Transit van. The doors opened and people fell out. Estimate vary from 10 - 18 but we were well into double figures of people in the back. I threw my pack into my square foot of space, clambered in and we were off.
I was wedged in between Christine and Lesley and spent most of the trip cuddling Christine only to discover later that it was Lesley who fancied me - story of my life! That's all I remember of the trip from Swansea.
On arrival I let things organise around me until the van pulled up at our camp site. Someone had supplied a very large army bell-tent which was eventually erected by the four of us who were not already off their heads.
As we shoved the last of the luggage inside the rain started.
The tent was up, our gear stowed and the Welsh flag was unfurled, time to suss out the site. A good wander around, a pee in the as yet reasonable toilets and an expensive burger later and we were ready.
I remember the excellent Rory Gallagher but little else of that first night. Probably tiredness and some strange herbs accounted for that. By Saturday I had given up on the lovely Christine so Mike and I spent the day drying wet gear and exploring again through the mud, stopping whenever a band came on. I remember Roxy's first gig, Wishbone, and chanting for Rory to do a second set when Helen Reddy's absence was announced. As the day wore on we discovered trolleys stacked with oranges dotted here and there. Lots of people with wide open pupils were scoffing them so we joined in, both with the eye-opener and the oranges, at least a bagful each! As the 'oranges' took full effect we enjoyed the excellent Strawbs (including one of the best drum solo's I've ever seen), the magnificent Maggie Bell, and the rocking Faces, who had their own private party onstage. I also had a dive into the foam pool where I lost my camera, so no pics.
Sunday morning came and went, the rain eased - maybe stopped. I remember tons of straw being delivered by helicopter and bales of it being distributed aroud the field. Someone started to throw handfuls of straw and before long everyone joined in until you couldn't see more than a few feet around you. Now, before this straw fight, everyone had been in little groups, each guarding their piece of territory, but now everyone was mixed together.
As Stanley Baker (who had been active in making the whole thing possible) was called onto the stage by Noddy Holder to take a deserved standing ovation, we all just lay down where we were on lovely warm, dry straw. Slade seemed an unusual choice for a rock festival but put on a great show. I found myself next to a pretty girl from Solihull. We had both gotten seperated from our friends so we danced with each other.
At the end of the night I offered to walk her back to her tent (always the gentleman) as we couldn't see our friends. She said she was staying in the village so we started walking. It was miles through pitch black country lanes and seemed like hours before we got there. She pointed to a church and I was a bit taken aback when she said she was staying there, but, once inside, I could see bodies everywhere. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is trying to make love in a single sleeping bag, on the hard stone floor of a church with the Vicar asking if you want cocoa every ten minutes or so. I left early and never saw her again.
Monday is a blur apart from Quo, the sopophoric Don McLean who played American Pie like a 45 at 33rpm and Cocker. I cannot remember packing up or when we left but I slept for 24 hours when I eventually got home - so I must've had a good time, Huh?
This was my first festival, I was 17 . Three mates and I drove up from South Wales and arrived on a distinctly damp Saturday.
I soon became separated from my friends ( I think they spent most of the festival sheltering from the weather in the van). I palled up with some "posh" girls from Cheltenham Ladies College.. We raided a nearby farmers field and "liberated" a considerable number of bales of hay. We made a little house with the bales and covered them with plastic sheeting. Mr Wolf might have been able to huff and puff and blow our house down but it kept out the wind and rain out, we had a very warm, dry and cosy festival.
I don't remember too much of the music since the girls encouraged me to smoke a certain substance for the first time and much of the festival remains a blur. I remember singing American Pie along with Don Maclean, I remember Rory Gallagher, the Faces and I think, the Incredible String Band.
The best thing about the festival for me was the new respect I received from my mates when sometime the next day they found me cuddled up to three very pretty and classy lasses. In reality ,apart from a fairly innocous kiss and a cuddle from one of the girls, nothing happened. Did I tell my friends that - did I hell. Even today, nearly 40 years on they still believe I spent the festival in wild debauchery.
It was a great weekend ia a time that was more hopeful and somehow less contrived than today - or is that just my age talking?
What a wonderful site, and thank you so much for reviving memories of this event.
I can recall just one thing not already covered. During Monty Python's spot, one of the team announced a "newsflash" as follows: "The Whitehouse has just announced that President Nixon was admitted to hospital earlier today for an arsehole transplant!"
Towards the end of Python's spot, the same guy came back to announce "We've just recieved an update on President Nixon's condition. Apparently the arsehole has rejected the President!"
Peace and love
I was a very shy 20 year old who had attended Isle Of Wight and Holywood Music Festivals previously.
At the Isle Of Wight myself and my friend, who came along at the last minute, decided on the last day that we had to go because his mother was on Holiday on the following Tuesday. Not wanting to be on my own I went back with him missing Hendrix, my guitar hero. It was the last time I went to a festival with anyone else in my youth.
And so the Great Western Festival, no tent and only a sleeping bag the first night was spent in the communal marquee, which promptly blew down. I managed to blag a tent to stay in that night but being shy I decided I had outstayed my welcome, the rest of the weekend was spent outside and after the second night when my sleeping bag was soaked I bought a paper sleeping bag and slept under some plastic sheet. I had a good spot near the front and I cannot remember eating much as I was on my own and thought I wouldn’t get back to my spot.
When the straw came it was fantastic as the sun shone and Lindisfarne performed amid a straw fight. I saw Roxy first performance and all talk was whether Brian Eno was male or female. Many favourites for me were the Faces and Rory Gallagher and Wishbone Ash.
I left halfway through Joe Cockers performance, I was so wet and tired I couldn’t stick it out to the end. Outside the gates they were selling Lincoln Pea soup, I never tasted anything so good. I managed to get to the train station and then after many hours home and bed. Im not shy now and attend Glastonbury and next year I am organising my own very small festival. At least I have memories
I worked at the Lincoln Festival having come straight up from Bickershaw.
I worked in one of the organiser's caravans making tea and coffee for visiting dignitaries such as Stanley Baker, who drank orange juice. (Actually, Stanley Baker's son offered to take me for a ride in his dad's helicopter - but I was in lurve, with some bastard as it turned out, so I declined.)
The chap I worked for was a film director called John, who had an eyepatch. He had twin babies that I also looked after sometimes. I bumped into him on Piccadilly Circus later. He was making a film with George Cole and we all went for a drink.
Anyway the weather was abysmal. My crowd were in an old ruined abbey so at least we were dry. I'll tell you something though; nothing can prepare you for the coldness on the back of your head when you first wash your hair under a stand-pipe tap. Ouch! It goes numb quickly though.
I thought Rory Gallagher and Vinegar Joe were great. I'd taken my first trip.
Like most people who were there a lot is lost in a haze, but I LOVED it!
C. A. Jones
My memories are indeed hazy..but I went on my trusty Yamaha 250 from Manchester with good mate Bob.
The idea was to sleep in the "large and comfortable communal marquees"..which of course had blown away. we pinched some plastic sheeting and made a lean-to cover..everything was pretty unsophisticated.....wasnt actor Stanley Baker involved somehow ..no?
As we arrived a large short haired 20 year old with big feet sidled up to me and said:
"Excuse me Sir but would you like to score some Smack...er...Man?" Sounding not a little like John Cleese
I replied no thank you Officer.
I have a T shirt...gawd was I really that thin
All I can remember is Rory Gallagher..Roxy Music (hadn't heard anything like them before) and Genesis..But no food ...no toilets...no marquees..should have sued them sideways
Mentioned to a friend that at the grand old age of 19, I attended the 'Lincoln Festival' as we knew it.
He was a local lad it turned out and he passed on the web site 'ukrockfestivals'.
What a lovely piece of memory.
Another contributor reminded me of the Bickershaw festival a few weeks earlier which we went to.
Memories of that was waking up in a pool of water, trying to stay warm !.
Anyway, quickly onto the Lincoln Fest.
We travelled from Liverpool by train and my money just about paid for a ticket, so the task was to 'survive' !.
I do not recall the weather being as described, but certainly the 'big top' tent coming down was a sign of how tricky it got.
Luckily enough we were sitting around the edge of the tent and I watched as the centre poles began to lean.
We managed to shout a few warnings before the whole thing just came down.
I do not know if there were any injuries, but thankfully me and my friends scrambled clear.
I can say that being in that tent (before it collapsed), was where I tried my first and only attempt at 'pot'.
Thankfully, it did not agree with me…..
Weird how I remember The Beach Boys performing…., but not Joe Cocker….or many other sets for that matter ! !.
Hunger was the main problem and we went to the free food place where some kind people had donated various veg.
A large cauldron was on a open fire and attempts were being made to heat the contents up.
I did my stint of stirring the stuff with a large branch and as soon as we saw the first signs of steam coming off the surface…we were in !.
Needless to say it was awful and I eventually managed to get a packet soup and a sliced loaf, which I ran off with to consume away from the madding crowds….my mates !.
After a number of days with out washing facilities I knew the journey home would be 'awkward'.
I remember being moved on when trying to sleep on a bench at Lincoln Station. Really would have appreciated a break at that point !.
I had kept a pair of purple 'loons' and a thick white jumper safe for the train journey back.
I dived into the toilet cubicle when we were nearing our destination.
I cleaned my self down as best you can in a metre square space and a load of paper towels and re-appeared in my fresh clean togs, refusing to sit next to smelly friends thereafter.
I returned home where my dear Mother had no clue as to the state we were in for five days or so !.
Happy days and thank you for your efforts in putting the site together.
Just came across the festival site and the request for oral histories. So here's my contribution.
I was living, if you can call it that, in L.A. and going nuts when my oldest friend, who was living in London, offered me a trip to London. At that time you could buy a ticket on a charter flight really cheap. She told me not to worry about money because she had a sugar daddy and was awash in the stuff. So I jump on a charter flight with a one way ticket, $2.19 in the pocket of my patch work jeans, and a bunch of records under my arm that my friend had asked me to bring.
When I arrived at Heathrow I was detained by immigration for not having a return ticket or any cash. Who knew?. When asked if there was anyone to vouch for me I explained that I had a friend meeting me there in the airport. They gave a shout over the Tannoy and she shows up in full see through blouse festival regalia and her flatmate with feathers in her hair towing a very reluctant cat on a lead. I was immediately placed in a holding cell with a bunch of Pakistani refugees and one wannabe guru from Santa Monica whose attempts to bond with the Pakistanis was met with utter disbelief. I was detained for over 12 hours until a dental surgeon friend of my friend was able to obtain my release with a phone call and a promise that I would not become a burden on the state. One phone call!!
So then I'm loaded into the back of this mini-van with her flatmate, handed a bowl of smoke and a shot of Scotch, and taken off to Lincolnshire. I had no idea where we were headed and could have cared less. I crashed big time. I woke up at the Great Western Express Festival dazed and confused. After reaching something resembling room temperature I was handed a pair of wellies, told what was happening and off we went. What a great time!
Musical acts I particularly remember were Alexis Korner, Buddy Miles, Spencer Davis, a great set by the Faces, Rory Gallagher, a wonderful show by The Persuasions. despite the conditions ( I was already a fan.) and the oddity of flying from California to England to see the Beach Boys. Vinegar Joe were excellent, as my drug addled memory recalls, and I loved Humble Pie. I was too ripped by the time Joe Cocker rolled around to know if he was in a mess or not. I suspect he was but that guy could sing in a coma and still be great.
This was also my first experience of Monty Python. I'd never heard of them. So when the darkened stage was hit by one spot illuminating two men, one holding a stuffed parrot in a cage who then utters the words, "I wish to make a complaint," and the crowd goes nuts, I'm baffled. Not being quite used to British accents and being in the middle of the crowd it took me a little while to start to get them but when I did I was hooked for life.
One of my favorite memories is of a poster or something I'd seen promising a "hundred acre light show." For three days and three nights it rained and I never did see any light show until Monday morning. The festival site was on a rise with the flat Lincolnshire farmland spread out below. Suddenly the clouds break, the sun comes out and there is a triple rainbow that you could see from end to end. The hundred acre light show! I turned to my friends and said, "Now these guys have pull."
Four years later I left California and moved to S. Wales where I lived for over twenty years. I now live in Austin, TX but a lot of my heart is still in the UK, particularly Wales. My daughter was born in London and has dual citizenship. Her mother was the crazy chick with feathers in her hair towing the reluctant ginger cat.
Thanks for the chance to remember,
of no huge importance, but I remember that ' Viv Stanshall's Big Grunt.' did perform at some time during the festival, I'll let you know if I think of anything else.
Great memories from too long ago.
The festival was actually my honeymoon, we knew how to treat girls in those days!
To be honest, the failing memory is quite hazy and many of the bands ill remembered, but I do recollect Slade and Monty Python being surprise hits. The sight of thousands banging cans together in time to the Slade hits of the day was great.
Not to be put off, the following year, 1973 we endured Buxton, that was it for the Mrs, I had to go to ‘74 on my own.
She did return for Knebworth to see the Stones, but the rest of the festivals she stayed at home with the ankle biters, venturing out for evening indoor gigs or afternoon affairs.
We still go to the odd gig today, but the atmosphere isn’t the same, how could it be? Great days & memories, glad to have been there.
Huddled masses ...© Stuart Finch
This was the first British Festival I went to. I was 18 and living in Guidford. My friend Fuzzy John and I bought tickets from the local record shop and we were figuring out how to get there, when a guy in the store said to us
"I'm going there. I'm working in the backstage catering I can give you a lift."
We met him a couple of days later in Guildford and he had an orange and yellow striped London taxi cab, which has already been mentioned.
I do remember some cops getting into a van in front of us, which then pulled away to our great relief, as we had rather a lot of weed with us.
When we got there, the guy who drove us had a pass so we just drove in. At first we were taken to an abandoned Georgian farm house, where Fuzzy and I laid out our sleeping bags and chilled for a bit.
Some security guys threw us out a while later and we went into the main arena.
Yeah, we made a shelter out of the straw bales and the got some pass outs and sold our tickets to some guys in the queue out side.
The bands were great. Slade in particular. The played an amazing version of "Born to be Wild" and I remember Dave Hill sprinkling glitter over the compere's head as he announced them. I think it might have been Stanley Unwin, but I'm not sure.
I remember the straw fight. Some of it caught fire and the wind picked it up so it was flying around in the sky.
I was on acid at the time so this might have been a hallucination.
I also remember the electric message board above the stage annoucning the death of the Duke of Windsor.
Getting back was a nightmare. I don't remember how we got back, but we did.
I'll never forget Lincoln!
I was a Police Officer in Otley, Yorkshire in 1972 and I was 24 when I was seconded to police the Bardney festival. I was fresh from the 1972 Miner’s Strike and so I was expecting some ‘bovver’. I remember the mud. I remember the Hari Krishna people and their ‘out of it’ smiles. I remember one of them falling into a cold wet ditch. We stopped to see if we could help and he just smiled out of the mud and slime and waved that he was fine and just stayed there – overnight I think ! I remember a Police horse falling down a well shaft. The old rotten wood covering gave way and the horse’s back end fell down. Luckily it was rescued and everyone helped.
There was a lot of theft from the tents and I was wandering around to see if I could see any. A really dirty smelly guy came up to me. He had dreadlocks all mud-matted and bare feet. He was stumbling around. He whispered that he was a Sergeant from the Thames Valley Drug squad and I should arrest the guy in the green pants and take him to the police tent – then he staggered away. I didn’t know whether to believe him and I thought on it for half a minute. Anyway I arrested the guy in the green pants and sure enough he had been slitting tents with his knife and stealing anything he could and sure enough the bedraggled guy was who he said he was.
Photo attached of me as a very moody teenager under the blanket! Big brother Richard behind me!
Cheers Gaynor Bray
I was asked to take someone to the ‘bad trip tent’ and when I got there, I saw a skinny little kid about 17 shirtless and laid on his back – there were a number of huge fat detectives trying to hold him down. He was screaming ‘You are all gay, leave me alone’ and he threw them all off and back from him with one huge convulsion. That was the first time I had seen the power of drugs of that kind.
Then I remember the toilets – aaarrgghhh ! I kept well away and saw people staggering in there and coming out looking down like they were just barely coping with that horrible situation as they picked their way through the mud
At night we slept at RAF Swinderby. I remember ‘Spirit in the Sky’ playing on the juke box in the bar there and I played it over and over. The bar was called the ‘Vampire Bar’ no doubt after the fighter jet of that name that was out of service by then. A load of taxis pulled up and herds of girls from Lincoln got out and came into the bar. We were buying them drinks and sorting them out; we were well sozzled and the music was good and plenty of girls – great.
Suddenly there was the roar of jets and a few minutes later the fighter pilots came into the bar. The girls dumped the police and went over to the pilots like a hugewave. We were well dischuffed.
The next night we went to Lincoln and did the discos and it was pretty scruffy and expensive and the birds were really manky. Drew another blank.
I remember the festival as very peaceful and innocent with mud and rain and drugs and resilience and a lot of brave faces. Don’t know about the music as I was busy ! Two years later I was out of the police force and now I live in a baking desert in Central Washington State – as far from mud as I can get !!
I hope the readership might enjoy learning that once the police came off duty, they too headed for loud music and drugs (booze) and women !
Whether they see that as hypocrisy or shared humanity is a moot point, but it might finally explain why the police had dark circles under their eyes next morning !
During construction ? © Stuart Finch
Just browsing your site regarding the Great Western Express event at Bardney Lincolnshire 1972.
I worked as a press runner taking film from the Fleet Street press photographers to Lincoln and Newark stations so they could be placed on a train to London for the Sunday editions.
Back then I was 18 years old and used my Lamberreta motor scooter to do this. Travelling across the fen road from Bardney to Lincoln in the howling wind was not the easiest of things to do and by the end of Saturday I was completely knackered. During the day I was admitted back stage to pick-up the films, there were so many famous faces I walking around I was a little star struck.
Whilst the weather made the job a nightmare, the up side I made quite a healthy sum of money, apart from being paid by a local company all the press photographers kept giving me tips to ensure their photos made it to the station –bonus!
At the end of the day I was given a red credit card admission ticket, sadly at the time with the weather I gave it a miss – but on the up side I still have my ticket as a souvenir and memories of the back stage antics.
Me ,my brother & a couple of friends went to The Great Western at Bardney.
I remember the Friday (Blues Bands) it rained virtually none stop.Rory Gallagher,CCS & Buddy Miles all played,but it was a little known American Blues veteran Dr Ross (a one man band) who really got the crowd going.
Later that night my brother and a mate had had enough and headed for home,leaving me and another mate there.
We found shelter for the night in a skip,which was already occupied by 2 Welsh lads.
The rest of the festival we spent camped in a small group of trees by the bogs.
This site contains all relevant information we can find about this festival, known recordings, set lists, bands who played, band personnel , time-line, articles , links to other sites dealing with this festival and oral histories of those who attended. Copyright of contributors work remains with them , please respect this and do not publish unless granted their permission.
we have been endeavouring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so I can effectively review the performances, provide set lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories of the festival as possible.
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